We are entrepreneurs. It’s a lifestyle that we have embraced because, honestly, we couldn’t imagine doing anything else. The lifespan of any entrepreneurial success story is full of nooks, crannies, highs and lows, not to mention depression and elation. And we, of course, always say we wouldn’t have it any other way. But let’s be honest. Sometimes the lifestyle can become horribly overwhelming: business issues, personal challenges and just the sheer loneliness of it all. People always coming to you with questions to which you don’t have the answers. There are days when you know something is going to give.
This is when we borrow heavily on the goodwill and trust of our teams and our families. It’s when we hope we can lean on someone else to just get us through the rough patch. Unfortunately, our teams and our families don’t always have the reserves we need, at the times we need them. So then what happens? Well that’s what I would describe as a perfect storm. You are tired. Your team is spent. Your energy is low and, frankly, you’re just done in.
It’s hard to be the leader of the pack when you want to just slink away. It’s hard to not want to simply stop and say, “Okay, I am done.” Cheerleading is hard. Cheerleading for a team that is feeling beaten down is even harder. But that’s the job you signed up for. That’s the role of being a leader.
I know this, and I know that there is only one place to turn when you are feeling any of these ways as an entrepreneur in business: you must turn to yourself.After 30 years of being in business, I continue to be surprised by the depth of energy and commitment it takes to run a company. I watch as entrepreneurs struggle at both ends of the spectrum. Sometimes it’s because managing growth and success are overwhelming them. Sometimes it’s because culture and personnel changes are creating havoc. Sometimes it’s because they feel it’s not worth the personal price they must pay. And sometimes, just sometimes, it’s because their own self-doubt starts to make them second-guess everything.
You have to dig deep. You need to examine your path and see if you are part of the problem. You must ask yourself how to manage through the pain of the moment to get to the success on the other side. And, most of all, you MUST NOT QUIT.
Sure, you may need to make changes. You may need to change paths. But as long as you don’t quit on yourself, you will be able to help others through that perfect storm. And you will be better armed to manage the next perfect storm. Because just as the sun will shine tomorrow, another storm will most certainly appear.