Entrepreneurship is a thrilling roller coaster ride. There are highs, but there are also lows. What isn’t talked about enough is the struggle that so many entrepreneurs face pursuing success. How do you navigate through the tough times? Where do you turn?
What do you do when you hit rock bottom?
Here are four keys entrepreneurs can use to make it through the tough time, get on track, and rise up in business and life.
1. Develop a vision.
Ask yourself, “What do I want to create?”
It’s difficult to know if you’re progressing when you don’t know where you’re going. Stephen Covey in Seven Habits of Highly Successful People, writes about beginning with the end in mind. Know where you want to end up at the beginning of the trip. Reverse engineer what you want to do and where you want to go. That will become your North Star guiding your direction.
I developed a vision for the future I wanted to create. I used the advice from my friends to help me get super clear on my vision and direction. It’s that vision that gets me out of bed in the morning and motivated to work.
Vision is critical. If you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know when you get there?
2. Let yourself be vulnerable.
Sometimes we hit walls. We struggle. Sometimes we lose. Too often as entrepreneurs, we hide those struggles. The problem is, if you don’t let yourself be real and vulnerable when you’re struggling, you will actually hold yourself back from progressing through the tough time.
In my period of uncertainty, being vulnerable proved to be a powerful key in my turnaround. I had hundreds of close friends Around. Realizing I needed help, I reached out to every last one of them for advice and guidance. Two things happened. First,i discovered that i wasn’t alone — many other entrepreneurs had gone through similar things. That helped me develop confidence that i could get through it too. Secondly, they gave me actionable advice to get me back on the right track.
Had I stayed “closed up,” I wouldn’t have had the support I needed from others to help me move forward. When you’re in a tough spot, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Sharing the struggle is the bravest thing you can do. Being vulnerable isn’t a sign of weakness; it’s a sign of strength.
3. Create an action plan.
Vision is where you’re going, action is what gets you there. You’ve heard “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” While that’s true, there’s an important distinction to be made — your plan must be based on “action” instead of based on “results.”
I got clear on where I wanted to go, then made a daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly plan of action of how I was going to get there. To me, success wasn’t based on the amount of money i made; it was based on the actions i took to make that money. I believed that if I took the right actions, results would come as a byproduct of those actions — and they did.
Decide what you want, then focus on the thing you can control to get there. Focus on action.
It’s no surprise that things don’t always go the way we planned. Persistence is a decision to keep moving towards the vision no matter the hiccups along the way. It’s not just doing “what it takes.” It’s doing “whatever it takes.” It’s falling down, and getting up again anyway. Life is like a chess game. You create a plan and a strategy, but how you win will not be the exact way you planned. Why? There are many unknown variables. It’s continuing to take the action, and not turning back.
Things didn’t abruptly become sunshine and roses while I was in the day-to-day grind, but I persisted no matter what. That’s why I am where i am today. Planning is what gets you moving, persistence is what keeps you going.
Entrepreneurship is an exciting adventure and a fulfilling journey, not just a satisfying destination. It’s not just about where we are going, but who we become throughout the process. I began to realize i wasn’t even the same person anymore. I was changing. It was like I was a butterfly now and, while I didn’t know it at the time, the low point was my metamorphosis.
As I talked about in a recent interview, often times it’s the struggle that turns us into great entrepreneurs. So just remember, when you’re in a tough spot as an entrepreneur, it only means you’re being reborn into the new you. The exciting question is, what will your metamorphosis look like?