Business of any kind is cyclic. We have good times, we have bad times, we have the bits in between where we just seem to tread water. It’s just the way it is. Whilst we might not be able to influence what is happening, we can control how we react and what meaning we give to the things going on around us – and that is the key to staying positive.
Here are seven ideas that I use whenever I’m going through any tough time in my business. They have certainly helped me through some hard times over the years
1. Think more about what you have as opposed to what you don’t have
In tough times it is really easy to obsess about the things we haven’t got or the things that we are at risk of losing. There isn’t much to be gained from this and the more you focus on these negatives, the more likely they are to become reality. It is much better to live a life of gratitude for the things you do have in your life.
2. If you lay down with dogs, you get up with fleas
Misery loves company. How many times have you found yourself feeling pretty good about life, until you run into someone who has nothing but doom and gloom gushing from their mouth? Within a few minutes you are ready to put your head in the oven and end it all. We become like the five people we spend most of our time with, so it is pretty darn important that we spend our time with the right people.
3. Be careful about what goes into your mind – because it has a big impact on what comes out of your mouth
I recently met a man who is worth over $200 million dollars. He is an American entrepreneur, he has thrived during the Global Financial Crisis and he keeps going from strength the strength. What is his secret? He stopped watching, listening to or reading the news fifteen years ago. Clearly being “out of touch” hasn’t had too much of a negative impact on him. We need to protect ourselves from the mass of negativity that exists out there. Be careful about what gets fed into your brain, because if you hear negativity often enough your brain believes it – and your mood, hopes and dreams can fade to grey.
I am a strong believer in the importance of celebration and the vital role it plays towards our state of mind and overall happiness. Unfortunately, in the tougher times we tend to stop celebrating because it feels like the wrong thing to do – well it isn’t. Now let’s not get silly, we don’t have to throw a party for turning on our computer successfully, but we should stop and acknowledge at least one victory every day.
5. Do more of the things you love
When we are feeling depressed we often stop doing the things we love. I’m not really sure why, but we do. I suggest making a list of the ten things you absolutely love to do and put a tick beside each of them every time you do them. The aim here is to keep increasing the number of ticks each week. Our state of mind changes when the endorphins are set free and doing things we love gets that process happening.
6. Keep one eye on the horizon
When times are tough we can get caught up in the overwhelming here and now. It can be dark, scary and it can feel hopeless. That is why we have to keep one eye firmly on the horizon and where we are heading in our life. I recently met Michael Hill the incredible entrepreneur and jeweller – his advice is to have a 30 years plan at all times. This lets you stay focused on where you are going instead of getting bogged down in the day-to-day dramas.
7. Help others
One of the best ways to stay positive in tough times is to reach out and help others in need. Now by all means donating money is important, but giving up your time and expertise and actually getting your hands dirty so to speak is a great way to change your perspective and your state of mind. This might be simply “adopting” an elderly neighbour, walking dogs for the RSPCA, helping at the sausage sizzle for the local sporting club or even helping strangers in the street who are clearly looking for directions.
Life will always throw challenges our way, that’s its job. And there are definitely times where it all seems too hard. Sadly for many people it sometimes is. I think we have two choices in life when it comes to the challenges that come our way– we can either become a bitter person or a better person. I know which one I want to become.
What strategies do you have for staying positive during tough times? Share them below.