Running A Business When Life Feels Hard

Episode 35

This week's episode is not highly curated because I had some things I wanted to share with you that you should know. It is important to be this more of an intimate conversation than sort of a lesson, outline, or structured commentary.


I realized recently that this is a self-development podcast for entrepreneurs. I don't talk a lot about how to get through running a business when our personal life is less than ideal. When the struggles in our personal life start to bleed into our business.


What do I mean by that? It's inevitable that there will be events in our lives that are heartbreaking, hard, difficult, and challenging. Yet, whereas we're going through those tough times, we still have a business to run. We have a team that we're obligated to lead. We have clients that we've committed to supporting. We have all these people who depend on us to continue business as usual.


What do we do, and how do we handle it?


When our personal life is tough and hard the last thing we want to do is think about being a leader. Setting a vision, chasing a goal, or even showing up every single day.


As we run our businesses and pursue our dreams, it's easy to forget that we are human. A human running a business, it's easy to feel like we are somehow obligated to be superhuman.


Instead of thinking about how you are expected to maintain a certain constant level of professionalism, I invite you to embrace your own humanity.


Find the balance of being both the boss, mentor, guide, but then also being a human. Who is someone's possibly their parent, sibling, best friend, or a human who's trying to make a difference in the world making space to be all that, so that both the entrepreneur and the human exist.


Knowing that what happens in one arena, is going to affect the other arena in our life. It's important that during tough times we're able to release the expectations that we must have it all together, even when things are hard.


Releasing the expectation and allowing ourselves to be human can go a long way to keeping us from falling apart a hundred percent.


That doesn't mean you will fall apart, that you won't have hard times and moments of pure sorrow. Yet you don't have to let go of all you've worked for simply because you're ended a time. That's really tough.


We don't have to throw it all away during those times. It means we can have hope that someday we will find the balance of what's going on in our personal life. Including what's happening in our business we can find that right balance.


As we go through the regular ups and downs of life, know that it's okay to let some things slide. Back when my husband was really ill, at that time, I was a mom of two young children. I had the first business that I still run currently. I had launched my coaching business then my husband became very ill quickly within a few weeks. He went from highly functioning to being a crapshoot if he would get out of bed that day, if he could do it, or if he could be part of our family.


I never knew when I woke up in the morning, if I would be a caregiver, or if I would have the day to myself. It was a tough time for me and I credit my ability to get through it with developing some skills emotionally.


That allowed me to continue every day in the most minute step forward, or not even giving up like not letting things completely unravel.


My husband was getting better, and he was ill for about a year and a half. As he was improving, his health started declining, so we quickly moved him into my home. For four months, he was on a slow decline, and then very rapidly, he declined and succumbed to his stage four terminal lung cancer.


I was blessed to be able to work from home, to be with him during that journey, and to make sure he had the best care available to him. It was a blessing but it was also incredibly hard. For me, it was hard because I was just coming off the heels of my husband not being well. Now I was facing losing my father and so it was horribly challenging for me.


Even though I was going through all this tremendous hardship in my personal life, most days, I would have loved to lay in bed and escape with Netflix, or just cry, eat, and ever felt an ounce of good at the moment. I had so many days where feeling good was impossible, feeling okay was hopeful.


Yet even in those moments, I had developed a skill that I don't talk about enough, a skill we all need as humans.


When we run businesses, developing skills can go a long way, allowing us to be human who has some tough life situations. Having not let go of all we've worked to create in our businesses.


During those times, some part of me enjoyed having a business because I had a responsibility that gets my mind off of what was going on but it wasn't like that every day.


Some days, I didn't show up for anyone, but my husband, myself, and my kids, that was barely scraping by. Then other days, I could show up fully for my clients and my potential clients in my business.


One thing I didn't do was I neither put expectations on myself nor judgments or pressure about what that all needed to look like. When my husband started getting better, and then I was taking care of my dad, it seemed to happen really quickly.


I developed a skill.


Since we can't quit and walk out the door it's a part of us, our business isn't a part of who we are. To quit on that part of us is like walking away from ourselves. It's a very personal decision. We work really hard to build a business, but at the same time, we kind of want to burn the world down because it's so hard. We want to stay in bed and cry.


I heard a phrase once many years ago where someone said that they wanted the world to stop moving just for a minute.


Of course, we all know that can never happen but that's exactly how I felt during those dark days. I wanted the world to just stop. Let me catch my breath. Let me just have a moment so I can get back to being me and get back to doing the things I wanted but that doesn't happen. That's not the life we have.


Unfortunately, one thing I don't hear a lot of entrepreneur coaches talk about is that our emotions, and between business and personal life. They're not segmented. There's no compartmentalization. It is unhealthy because you are not allowing the process of emotions to occur the way they're meant to occur. There's no blocking out what's going on. You can try to pretend for a bit of time that something doesn't exist but the truth is, you have to come back and face whatever that hardship is in your personal life so we can focus on the things that we either want or need to do.


Even as entrepreneurs we can't completely shut out the fact that we are a human running a business. Being human and allowing ourselves to be one, it's an essential part of having success in any area of life. Yes, there is a relationship between being human and allowing ourselves the human experience as well as our success.


Here's why. Here's the connection. My clients come to me because they want to reach a goal. They're not taking action on it. They're disappointed and ashamed of themselves because they are normally go-getters. They're not doing it and they don't know why. They're frustrated.


Every single time hundred percent it ties to something else that is going on inside of them. It's never about the actions and goals. It's always about the emotional experience happening inside of them. The truth is having to experience emotions can be really uncomfortable and having to do it alone can be really hard.


Most of us, avoid it, ignore it, or reach the point that we are forced to succumb to it. Our success doesn't work that way, it is a long-term gain and strategy. We can gain success in the moment but as we know, it only lasts for the moment.


When we think long-term about success in our business, we also have to think long-term about how we handle uncomfortable emotions.


What happens is when I work with my clients, their emotions are showing up in their inability to accomplish what they want. There's some sort of unresolved emotional issue running in the background. It's sitting on the back burner, and it's draining their energy running down their battery. It's showing up in their business in an unrelated way because it needs to be dealt with.


That's just part of being an entrepreneur, it's part of running a business. For example, I had a client who was struggling with moving her mom into a full-time care facility whose dementia had gotten severe enough that she needed full-time care. When my client came to me, she didn't realize that her procrastination problem ties to her unresolved emotions around making these tough decisions for her mom, and her own judgments about herself as a daughter.


Then there's another mom I worked with, she was a coach who was trying to grow her coaching practice. She was struggling to find the time to do all the things she wanted. She thought she had a time problem. She didn't have a time problem. She had a mom guilt problem. What happened was, she was never showing up anywhere, fully present, including with her kids, because she was always either thinking about work or thinking about her kids. It was constantly in her mind running through like a program in the background. She was never ever able to accomplish anything she wanted in any area.


We had to deal with mom's guilt first because she was a working mom, who was raised by a stay-at-home mom and her mom did a lot of things for her. She was battling the guilt of all the things she wasn't doing for her kids. That was in her own mind making her not a good enough mom.


Once we cleared out the judgment everything freed up. Her work became easier, home life became easier. She could be fully present with her kids and in her business.


I just wanted to share with you how I got through my tough times and how I help my clients get through. There's one thing to remember is that we're humans, and what makes us humans and not robots is that we have emotions.


As we are navigating all these different life transitions and very normal life events that are hard, challenging, and tough, they're going to show up in our business in some way if we are not dealing with them and addressing them.


Here's the thing, if this resonates with you, then you know how hard it is to be both a human with relationships and complex lives. As well to run a business where we want to make the lives of others so much better because we've got a vision for them. We've got a vision for the world.


Hard times are a part of life. There are some skills we can develop that I know will help make those tough times easier. It'll never be easy. I'm never gonna make you that promise but it can be easier.



We also have businesses and those need to have certain requirements and certain commitments but we have to find that line between the two. What I see a lot of entrepreneurs doing is they have an all-or-nothing stance when it comes to dealing with uncomfortable, horrible, hard, challenging, tough emotions. Some completely, sort of giving in to it and they are succumbing to it. Everything else is put to the wayside. Others try to avoid it, they compartmentalize it, put it in a spot, put it in a different place. They want to almost act like maybe if it's not there, I won't have to feel them.


Neither of these is very healthy and so learning to manage our emotions in a healthy way is something that we can all do better, we can all learn.


When I say manage, I'm not talking about getting control over.


Typically manage means we'll assist them in the structure and some amount of control. What we're meant to do as humans during those tough moments is to surrender.


Instead of trying to keep it all together, we have to learn to surrender. Now, there's an art to surrendering. It doesn't have to be giving up completely and letting our emotions rollover, destroy, and hold us down and thereby destroy the things we've created in our business, the things we love in our life.


That's not what I'm talking about.


Surrendering can be simply allowing. That means that we allow our emotions to show up, move through us without trying to control, stop, or lessen them.


When I talk about emotion management, I'm not talking about control. I'm not talking about getting mastery over what you're feeling and what you're experiencing.


Emotion management is based on the concept that if we allow all emotions either good or bad, to move through us, those emotions do not hang around at the same level of intensity and duration.


As if we tried to compartmentalize, push away, or succumb to them. Allowing means being brave enough to feel even the worst emotions, for as long as it takes for it to move through us.


The thing about emotions is that they're like waves, they don't just come and leave. They come again and again and again but they come back. The thing is like waves, slowly the intensity will lessen over time but if we try to be a dam against the waves, it keeps crashing and crashing. It reverberates.


The emotions reverberate, and they come back and back. Just allow ourselves to experience the emotional wave. We can be in the flow state where we feel things that feel awful, but they don't hang around, emotions come to us to be experienced.


Here comes the saying that "what we resist persists" is completely true.


When we resist emotion and resistance doesn't mean we always mean pushing it away. Although sometimes it can be simply distracting ourselves from it, turning to artificial ways to feel better, so that we don't have to feel so bad. Those are some examples of resisting an emotion.


It also lingers and stays longer than if we simply surrender and allow it to come to us and to be experienced


Emotions are here to teach us something about ourselves.


We are meant to have the full spectrum of emotions. Life will have its moments of joy, and sorrow.


If we only pursue the joy and try to avoid the sorrow, we are not living the full human experience and it will show up in our life.


Every emotion has a good and bad side. You can pursue only the good side and it will try to forever avoid the bad side and the truth is you cannot outrun that.


Being willing to allow them to come to you and be experienced I guarantee you is the quickest way for you to get back to a place that feels okay. Right?


When you're in a bad emotion it doesn't have to ever feel good, you just have to aim to feel okay. The way we get back is to be willing to feel the awful emotions. If you learned, just allow the emotions and give yourself the space to feel them.


The process of getting back to feeling okay will be quicker and easier. That doesn't mean it will be quick. That doesn't mean it will be easy. It means it will be quicker, and it will be easier.


What happens is, you will come out the other side stronger. That doesn't mean you don't have regrets, shame, sadness, or sorrow. You might, but you will be stronger because strength comes from knowing you can face the things that you're most afraid of.


A lot of times, you're scared to death to feel an emotion. It's one of the hardest things we have to do as humans. Yet when we become brave enough to face and allow them, we become stronger, and it makes navigating the rest of life so much easier.


When we manage our emotions in a healthy way, then we can develop the character and strength to continue on this beautiful journey of life and create a business and life that we love.


WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING...

Danielle's message is spot on with achieving goals. Not only does she practice what she preaches, but she's your guide to help YOU achieve the best version of yourself! A must listen!

KRYSTAL PROFFIT

Grow a biz & feel good! Danielle is really skilled at bringing both the actionable steps plus the mindset work so we can feel good as we grow our businesses while being present for our families. I look forward to listening every week!

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