I have a son. At the time of writing this post, he is 18 months old. I love him very much. He is a whole lot of fun and the best part about my day is watching him try new things and get SO much joy out of interacting with my husband and I.
Is there anything better than the sound of a small child in fits of laughter? I don’t think so.
He is also utterly exhausting and very high maintenance. It’s a wonder I get anything done sometimes.
But I’ve come to realise something interesting. Entrepreneurs, myself included, are like toddlers.
Our highs are SO high.
When things are going well in business, we feel like we’re on top of the world. Because we built this thing ourselves, there is nothing more exhilarating than celebrating a win that is 100% ours.
Our lows are very low.
When you’re having a bad day, week, month, or even year, it can totally weigh you down. Because, once again, it’s all on us. We got to where we are as a result of the choices we made and as much as we can try, we can’t blame anyone but ourselves when things are going badly.
We can switch between these two states of mind in an instant. I see my toddler do this all of the time. One minute he can be laughing and smiling, and the next, he’s fallen off a chair or become hangry and wants my attention and he is utterly devastated. Like, face-down-on-the-ground screaming devastated. It’s kind of comical to look at, but the feelings are 100% real and they just bubble to the surface with no filter.
And as an entrepreneur, I feel like I can relate to him a lot. I’m starting to become more conscious of my emotional instability, though. I’m starting to catch it when I feel things getting rocky.
While I still celebrate my wins and live in the moment, I try to remind myself to look long-term. What am I trying to achieve here? What do I still need to achieve? It keeps me grounded and focused so that I can enjoy my highs without getting distracted.
When bad things happen, I still feel that sinking feeling deep within. But once again, I try to look long-term. What have I already achieved? What am I looking forward to? In the long-term is this even going to matter? It keeps things in perspective so that I can move on and not get stuck on coulda shoulda woulda.
Another way that I’m like a toddler in my business is that I get so distracted by shiny things.
It’s funny watching small children play together. As an adult looking on, it can look more like they’re fighting. Whatever one kid has, the other kid desperately wants to play with. The concept of sharing is not something that comes naturally! Funnily enough, it’s not the object itself that the child is after… it’s just another shiny thing that is only appealing because someone else has it. Once they move on, the toy is forgotten, left on the floor for me to pick up.
When I’m browsing online, catching up on what my favourite entrepreneurs have been up to, it’s shiny things galore! So-and-so has a new tool that is revolutionising their business, and this business is doing this cool new thing with video, and check out this social media platform that’s just been released. Whoa. Shiny things everywhere! It can be so easy to get distracted and want what everyone else has, buying into the next big thing that might help you make more money, save time, and so on.
But most of the time, these shiny things are a waste of time. I’m learning that I need to come back to my core goals and strategy. Do these things really serve me? Are they necessary? What’s the worst that can happen if I just ignore them now? In order to really get anywhere in business, you need consistent, long-term, focused hard work. There are no shortcuts. The shiny things are not going to serve you, and they’ll probably be discarded as old news within a few months anyway by the other entrepreneurs – you’ll be glad you didn’t waste your time.
So… are you a bit like a toddler too? The good news is, I think with a bit of consciousness, entrepreneurs can grow and progress past the toddler tendencies of emotional instability and shiny things. For now, perhaps the best thing we can do is acknowledge our shortcomings and work with them as best as possible.
Maybe we should have a playdate?!