Getting your business up and running is a tall task. It means countless hours of your precious time and hundreds of sleepless nights invested in something unknown. Although it’s very fulfilling to work for yourself, this moon has its dark side — you’re left alone with the problems and have to go through the rough times by yourself. When an employee can weather the storm by simply changing the workplace, you have to find the mental force to cope with turmoil and put your business back on the rails.
If you’ve clicked on this article, I assume you’re a grown-up who is well aware of how to deal with problems. Such advice as “analyze what went wrong and try again” is surely what you’ve tried and is probably not worth noting in the first place.
But what can really be done if the project has hit a dead-end and there’s no feasible way to escape this trap? Here are some of the more or less obvious things you should try out to get your mojo back on track and drop the weight of the world from your shoulders: these won’t fix the bugs in your code but will give you a look at how to get an impulse for coping with such things.
No mentors, do it yourself
Well, the Number 1 rule is to avoid “mentors” whose services cost real money but have no real value. Trust me, you can get all these platitudes for free on the Internet: paying for the “get over it” phrases is not the way to prosperity. There are almost no real psychologists among “trainers,” but their paycheck implies they’re Oxford graduates.
Ironically, the person who has probably inspired the most people, Shia LaBeouf, who made an arbitrary “Just do it” with a big portion of humor, can’t even fix his own life now. Each person is unique, so don’t expect someone to come up with a ready decision for you, seek the inspiration yourself!
It’s not about building muscles — getting up and moving proves to be a great way to alleviate stress.
Physical exercise is the clear victor here: it’s a great way to get your blood going, which will stimulate the brain to work. This will also help your mental state: sports are a great way to fight depression. And I’m talking about casual stuff like walking, swimming, or ping-pong — something to keep you relaxed and engaged at the same time.
Meditation and yoga are no longer exotic and require a minimum commitment unless you want to become a pro, which is not the case. While yoga is more about making you balanced and patient, meditation can help you focus on the things you need: figuring out the main issues is easy when nothing else distracts you.
Music and ambience
Although Chopin is arguably the best composer to listen to while working (according to the TV series “Dexter”), you can pick any of the music greats to become energized. If all you need to rock is to hear a motivational speech, then maybe choose… rock? It’s a less stressful way to hear the words you need, plus it will rhyme on top of having great instrumentals. The human brain is more susceptible to soaking up info when it is neatly packaged, so it’s okay to avoid monotonous speakers in favor of a lovely melody with a life-affirming message.
Some people don’t even need the words: like long-time family members, they can be content with silence. So, some classical pieces are often what could make your brain come up with stellar ideas — Sherlock and his violin will not lie.
Some active and rhythmic music can also be a motivator; its fast tempo can set the pace for your mood and ideas, hopefully becoming the driving force towards accomplishing your goals.
Setting up the ambiance is an important thing in general: music is an essential part of this and it can be complemented nicely by cozy furniture, relaxing colors, and even maybe some pictures that will motivate you — that’s where it won’t hurt to throw in some inspirational quotes.
Forget about tons of food. Seriously, it’s not about fat-shaming or something similar; eating is a great short-term solution for the anxiety but it’s also one of the signs of depression. Not only does emotional eating distract from the real problems but it is also time-consuming, and unless you prefer consuming lots of junk food, this is not the way to go either.
Your brainstorming sessions may also suffer from those who feast before the event — try to keep it modest prior to such meetings.
It’s a proven fact that it’s better to make intuitive decisions when not being well-fed, especially when you need to come up with an original concept.
But we all like to eat and it often makes us happy, so just eat the food you could benefit from. Although broccoli, being the champ of useful food, isn’t the tastiest of things, fish can become your choice — even the fattier species are well-refined and stimulate the brain to work. Olive oil will be a great assistant in making your dishes fancy, and nuts will help you keep fed on top of being great for neural activity.
Get enough sleep
Sleeping is one of the best ways to fill yourself with energy. An entrepreneur’s life is dense and hard to predict, but sleeping for 7–8 hours a day is what will keep your morale high. Your brain needs to rest, so let it chill for a while and refresh in order to solve problems and escape the dead-end status of your project.
A lack of sleep is the main cause of all sorts of angst and depression, so don’t worry about going to bed instead of watching another mindless show or newscast.
Imagine that your PC or laptop has been turned on for several weeks and is lagging behind at all sorts of tasks. But when you press the “reset” button, it starts working just fine. This is pretty much how our brain works; just be kind to it and give a break — it will pay you back with more processing power!
Here is some harsh advice: be the dumbest person around. This sounds bad for your self-esteem, but hold on — it’s a fine way to become inspired. If you surround yourself with people who are smarter, more active, agile, and resourceful than you, it will give you a nice impetus to move forward and overcome the tough times.
Although it may look like an AA group, having a group of people who can listen to you and hold you accountable for further activities is a good tool in your well-being arsenal. This can be a group of your peers who you meet every 2 weeks and are around 6–8 people, so it’s not too crowded or too small at the same time. Sure, you’re a strong person if you decided to be an entrepreneur, but having someone to lift you up is simply too good to ignore.
Combination of cool things
Like a generous Walmart discount, try to get 2 things for the price of one. For example, take a long walk while listening to “Dust in the Wind” or go to the beach if there’s a seashore — a river bank is a nice option, too.
Or just go crazy and visit a foreign country with some extra side trips. Whether it’s Nordic fjords or mid-Europe canals, there’s a ton of places that will reinvigorate you to unwind and get inspired for new triumphs.
The pioneers of the past used to draw inspiration from their environment — even during the mid-project stages, they took long walks, granted there was no Internet. At its basic level, the human brain hasn’t changed much since; just keep your eyes fresh so the mind can capture ideas that may become a solution for you later.
How to Find Inspiration for Your Business Even in Toughest Times was originally published in Hacker Noon on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.