Running a business is an exhilarating, adrenaline-pumping, wild ride. It’s also grinding, lonely, and terrifying.
And then there are days when you just have to do something hard.
Hard like firing or laying off an employee, telling a client that you can’t meet their deadline, or (worst case scenario) shuttering a business.
It comes with the entrepreneurial territory.
There will be days when you would rather have a meteor land on your head than go to your office.
I’ve had to do all of the hard things I mentioned above, over the last 25 years. If you find yourself facing a hard thing, it’s time to prove your mettle, (wo)man up, and get to the other side.
With every “hard thing” you handle, you are putting on another piece of armor, like a medieval knight. Over time, you’ll find yourself in full battle gear, fearless in the face of any challenge.
Five ways to attack business challenges
1. Look Inward and Reframe
Staring down a challenge that seems insurmountable, one simple tactic is to change your attitude toward it. After all, you may not be able to change the nature of the task itself. Sit down and consider why it’s important to embrace the challenge. How will you feel once it’s done? What benefits will accrue after it’s over? Use visualization techniques to put yourself in the mindset of someone who has already accomplished it.
If you feel negative thoughts start to creep in, write down your battle plan and be very specific about why you need to overcome the difficulty at hand.
2. Outsource It
I know, I said you had to buckle down and do it yourself, but sometimes a task feels harder than it should because you’re not the right person for the job. If you’re consistently dreading doing something, perhaps it’s a task you can outsource to someone who specializes in it.
If talking to the media is a job that makes you break into a cold sweat, think about hiring a consultant who will do it with pleasure.
3. Get Backup
Strength in numbers, baby. As an entrepreneur, you need to be the driving force, but you don’t always have to go it alone. Find a colleague or friend to help you get over the hump. Shutting down a business is somewhat like grieving for the loss of a loved one; it’s OK to bring in help as you deal with the fallout.
4. Rip off the Band-Aid
Stop worrying about how difficult something will be, and just do it. The task will loom larger and larger the longer you procrastinate it. So take a deep breath, trust yourself, and get it done quickly. In the case of laying off an employee, your business can suffer if you drag out the process unnecessarily.
5. Find Inspiration
There’s no such thing as a new challenge in business. No matter what it is, someone out there has already dealt with it. Many of the most enduring business books have stories and inspiration to get you through the tough times.
Look at some of the large business communities, like American Express OpenForum, where you can talk to other business owners. You are not alone.
And certainly, this Successful Blog community is here to support you!