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Staying Optimistic When It’s All Too Hard

Staying optimistic is easy when things are going well. But when business is hard, staying optimistic is hard too.
I’m a positive person by nature. Throw me a challenge and I’ll accept it with relish. Put a difficult situation in front of me and I’ll deal with it. But when business is tough, I’ve found it tough to stay positive.
Remember when you started out in business and you just hustled all day long to get business, make sales, sign up clients? Your sole focus was on sales and getting money in the bank account.
Whether you knew how much you needed to pay the bills or not (and I suspect not), what you did know was that you needed to sell, sell and sell.
That same thought process kicks in when business is tough. In 2009 after the Global Financial Crisis, my business income plummeted. I thought back to my early days and figured the solution was to sell, sell and sell.
But this time it was different. I was selling from a place of desperation rather than from a place of excitement for my new business. I wasn’t optimistic as I had been when I’d started in business. In fact, I was the exact opposite. I was pessimistic and in a negative state of mind.
I buried my head in the sand, refused to look at the numbers because I didn’t want to know exactly how bad it was. I figured I just needed to sell to get out of the mess. But selling was super hard. I’m sure that potential clients could hear the desperation in my voice, see the stress on my face and so they bought elsewhere.

Looking at the numbers

It was only when I finally looked at the numbers that I realised:

  1. the numbers weren’t quite as bad as I thought they were
  2. with the information staring me in the face, decisions I needed to make became blatantly obvious
  3. there was a flickering light at the end of the tunnel and I started to switch from pessimism back to optimism
  4. I could work my way out of the mess and I finally felt like I was back in control again
In recent months, I’ve walked alongside my clients who are struggling with these same issues, with businesses that have been locked down, those that haven’t but have suffered from a significant downturn in business and dealt with the impact on my own business.
It’s not easy to stay optimistic.

3 Steps to Optimism

But there are three lessons I’ve learned that get me back into a positive and optimistic state of mind.

  1. Share your concerns, worries, stresses with someone who is understanding and caring and is non-judgemental
  2. Get the facts and figures in front of you
  3. Take action. This can be anything. Take control of what you can control and do something. It can be small, it can be big. It doesn’t matter.
Photo by Pim Chu on Unsplash

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