I don’t know about you, but I often feel isolated as a small business entrepreneur. Sure, I have hundreds of contacts on LinkedIn and Facebook. Apparently more than 1200 people find me interesting enough to follow on Twitter (give or take a few spambots and p0rnbots).
But this isn’t the same as connecting with people in a substantive level every single day. Some of us crave this more than others. I am one of those people who like to think about life’s questions and who view entrepreneurship as part of my “Hero’s Journey” and how I “give back” to the world during my time here on earth.
Like many of you, I am juggling entrepreneurship with parenthood. I consider myself lucky that my son is going to school for 3 days a week at 2 hours each of those days: this is the only “predictable 6 hour time window” where I can accommodate schedules, appointments, and intense bouts of writing (I’m also writing a book this year – my publisher gave me 1 year from time of signing the contract to complete 60,000 words by end of 2010). This is of course, barring my son catching a bug from kids at school and having to stay home, in which case my work week becomes “not-so-much-work” week.
So it is not surprising that after a while, I start feeling lost.
It’s something I’ve come to expect on a periodic interval, maybe once a month, or every other month, I will wonder whether what I am doing would mean anything at all. If I do not address this somehow, this feeling takes over and distracts me from being productive and running my business.
Here are 5 ways that I’ve managed this “feeling lost” and become productive again:
1. Remember why I’m doing any of it.
Why do I bother risking as an entrepreneur? Working irregular hours? Demanding my brain to work harder than those who clock a 9-to-5 job?
For me it’s about teaching people how to accelerate their results and success by offering my shoulders for them to stand on. I may not be quite a “giant”, but I will get you there faster than allowing you to make costly mistakes on your own for years at a time.
2. Schedule a conversation I crave.
Like I said, I need deep conversations from time to time. This can be a highly analytical exchange with a colleague on leadership issues and entrepreneurship issues. This can be a highly philosophical discussion about whether God is necessary and/or sufficient for meaning in life.
For example, last weekend we met up with one of my husband’s coworkers for brunch and the three of us covered a lot of philosophical ground.
I’m not saying that you should get philosophical – unless you crave these types of conversations. I’m saying whatever type of dialog you need – whether this be hard-thinking or hard-belly-laugh… make a point of scheduling one.
3. Take some time off.
I’m bad about this one…. I will keep postponing and procrastinating giving myself any time off to decompress!
But there are days when you just want to “not work” for a few hours, and that’s OK… seriously, the world will go on, your business will continue to exist for those few hours, and you will not be a bad lazy human being.
It’s helpful to have a running list of “what to do” in these situations. Is it taking a walk? Watching TV (sometimes I do this as a deliberate way to induce a comatose state on my brain)? Reading one of those novels where the cover models are busting out of their super-tight frilly frocks while wrapped around men with longer hair then yours could ever grow?
4. Look at something that motivates you.
For me, this is opening my business P&L statement and analyzing my revenue earnings and the types of revenues I’ve earned. For some reason, seeing those numbers there is at once motivating and stress-inducing – but it is more motivating than stressful so I do it.
You may want to read an inspiring quote or look at a motivational poster instead!
5. Do something physical.
Getting your hands busy and body moving is a great way of re-engaging yourself without continually using your mental and emotional reserves. This is also the only way that my house ever gets cleaned!
Feeling lost is really a symptom that you have disconnected from your center – or your grasp on your ideals or your self. It’s a sign that you need to take some time out and say “hello!” to that important person in your life – the person who is powering all the many wonderful things you are doing – YOU.
Image by Nimalan Tharmalingam (UK)