Starting a Business Can Be Tough: 6 Tips to Build Mental Resilience
by Jarrod Mason, Principal YouWho Digital
The first quarter flew by and for cannabis entrepreneurs in Colorado it can be a rough stretch. At the start of the new year the Colorado Department of Revenue released its annual revisions to the industry rulebook usually bringing with it millions of dollars of modifications for most cannabis businesses.
Just glancing at it this year made my stomach turn as I knew we would see more business owners put out of business due to failure to remain compliant. One big change this year for cultivations in Colorado is the addition of an 8ft perimeter fence along with 20ft of illumination on both sides. For any outdoor cultivations of scale this could easily turn into a $200,000 project. One that will not only keep a few owners up at night but leaving many left with nowhere to turn but to close their doors.
This is the unfortunate reality of the cannabis business or any business for that matter. The hurdles of operating within uncharted territory combined with the federally illegal nature of cannabis leaves little room for error. So this left me wondering why do so many continue to push on?
In simplest terms the answer is: mental resilience.
Mental resilience is the ability to persevere even when your own brain is telling you to stop. It is the choice to not accept failure as an answer and keep on moving forward towards prosperity. We see this story time and time again with even the big tech giants of today. Failure is a natural component of success and without failure you cannot truly understand and relish in success.
So as a new entrepreneur or even a seasoned serial entrepreneur what are some lessons that can keep you on track and have you flexing those mental muscles?
Here are 6 tips to build Mental Resilience
1) – Trust Your Gut
As a young entrepreneur, heck even as a seasoned vet we can constantly be distracted by all the new shiny things we see. Every corner we look down we find a problem that needs to be solved. Every individual we interact with we have the solution to their needs. We are constantly on our toes looking to improve every facet of life because that’s what we are wired for.
Unfortunately, chasing every idea that crosses our mind is a sure way to lose from the start. We have to pick an idea and have conviction to give our all towards that pursuit. Learning to focus your attention and trust your gut will be your hallmark trait as an entrepreneur. Try writing down 4 week goals, 4 month goals and 4 year goals. These will help to keep you in focus and still leave room for new shiny ideas to percolate later.
2) – Don’t Believe the Hype
“Overnight success this overnight success that.” The only thing you are overnighting as an entrepreneur is your package from Amazon. Success will not be included. Don’t get me wrong, there is always a feel good story out there of someone striking it rich off little to no effort. However, for the vast majority of business owners’ it takes years of grit and hard work to come out on top.
So prepare for the long haul and if success comes early, great. Focus on building a foundation that can weather a storm and build out goals that you can work towards. Having a goal to increase your quarterly income from $20,000 to $100,000 can seem lofty at first, but if you know this can be accomplished over the next 24 -36 months then it becomes a lot easier to put into focus and work towards.
3) – Learn to Lose
There is probably a moment in your life where someone drilled into you that losing isn’t an option. From there on out I would gather that you have focused on perfection, even if it is unobtainable. I am here to tell you that it is not only OK to lose, but I would strongly encourage it. Losing teaches us the valuable lesson of human nature that none of us are perfect and sometimes we can’t always be the best. In the age of participation trophies this can be difficult for some to fathom, but the reality of it is the real world doesn’t hand out participation trophies. If you lose as an entrepreneur that usually means lost money, lost time, and lost confidence.
However, what losing teaches you is what is most important. It gives you that bitter taste in your mouth to get back up and give it another shot. Once you have tasted the bitter taste of defeat you will work twice as hard to never have to taste that again, I can assure you of that.
So while I don’t encourage you to go out and intentionally hand yourself a loss, I encourage you to take time when you do lose and ponder what you did wrong and what you can learn from the experience. Understand that losing is all apart of the game and if you learn something from losing, you are in fact winning.
4) – Live a Healthy Life
I am sure you read the header and thought, oh boy another lecture on my physical health. So let me reassure you, this isn’t a lecture on your physical health, it’s actually your mental health I want to speak about.
When was the last time you sat down and wrote a workout to get your mental health in check?
I would like to think yesterday but the reality for most of us is never. The thing is we have never been provoked to care about our mental health. We have never been taught to prod and poke at our brains and figure out how we can improve that giant muscle. Whether it be the stigmas attached to mental health or the lack of education surrounding it, our mental health has taken the back seat to our focus and we are beginning to feel it. A recent article by Forbes did a great job touching on mental health issues among entrepreneurs and it brought up some great points.
So how can you put your mental health back in focus and back on track?
Meditation my friend.. Yes the simple act of meditating for even 5 minutes a day can relieve us of many mental twisting adversaries. Meditation has been found to reduce stress, decrease anxiety and promote a healthier brain, according to a Harvard study.
Give mindful meditation a try and begin building a workout regime for your brain, it may save your business.
5) – Ask For Advice
When you are a business owner you are usually the end of the line as far as leadership and management goes. You are the one who has to guide and nurture your employees and deal with the daily details of managing your business. So where do you go when you need a pep talk and a pat on the back?
You need mentors and a network. No one ever said you had to have it all figured out, especially as a new entrepreneur. However, most are fearful of reaching out for help for fear of looking like a fake. Beyond your need to get rid of fear (we talk about this next) you need to get past thinking you need to have everything figured out. The point of life is that it is a journey and you will ALWAYS be learning along your journey.
With that in mind, don’t be afraid to ask for help from peers, mentors, or other competitors. What is the worst they can say? Beyond a mentor, having a strong network has always been associated with success. Leverage your network and their expertise to help solve your problems. That is the true power of genius.
6) – Free From Fear
Finally, the dubious fear of failure. The thing that creeps in out of the dark and hangs with us during our darkest times. The thing is fear isn’t always necessarily real. We create fear, we create those emotions associated with fear, and sometimes we have to realize our own minds sabotage our best efforts with none other than fear.
What is fear and what are we so afraid of?
Fear is a natural defense mechanism, one that is supposed to elicit an autonomic response in your body to make you either fight or flight. The thing is our primal brains still react to situations in fearful ways when we shouldn’t be fearful at all. Business is one of those. Maybe you just lost a client and immediately the crippling fear sets in. You being to wonder if you can pay your employees, you begin to doubt your direction as a company, and you begin to make irrational decisions based off of those irrational emotions.
The reality is that fear served a purpose at some point in our evolution and can still leave us paralyzed in self proclaimed moments of doom. But you don’t have to be a victim within your own body. You can break free from fear and learn to take fear as a simple warning rather than a certain indicator.
Take the time to recognize those moments of panic and what caused them. Once you begin to understand your own reactions to certain stimuli you can begin to counteract and control your responses. This ability to control your own emotions is directly linked to you being able to control your own destiny. So don’t let fear and your own body hold your back, break free.
The Wrap Up
It goes without saying that being an entrepreneur and business owner is tough. However, we have seen time and time again that it is possible to come out on top despite the countless hurdles thrown your way. If you can understand the role your brain and mental health play in your entrepreneur journey, you can begin to harness your true power as a leader, an innovator, and a trailblazer.
I wish you well in your journey and look forward to continuing to assist you along the way. Be sure to check out our other blogs in our Youwho Learning Series and reach out if you need help optimizing your life and business. Until next time!