This winter, I felt like my emotions were all over the place. So I got to thinking. As a business owner, maybe this could be something worth tracking to see how my mood is affected by the time of the year and the happenings in the business (and my life in general).
I’m a morning person. I get up early and am usually very motivated and happy, but this past December, one day I just didn’t feel right. I wouldn’t qualify it as depression, but I thought maybe it was exhaustion. I had just completed my 60th trip of the year, and I was thinking that maybe I was concerned at the daunting thought that I would have to repeat that same number of trips in the New Year.
I thought back to my first year as a business owner. I quickly learned the importance of eliminating the emotion of stress from my life. At the end of the day, I can’t quit, can’t give up, or say mercy. I am the glue, and when you are the glue, giving up is really not an option – unless, of course, you are a fake leader. While the perception was that I was stressed, it couldn’t have been because I am not allowed to be.
Rather than worry myself, or start crying (kidding, I think), I decided to look back through my notes from last December at the same time. There it was. I had written down that I was concerned about growing the next year, not just in business, but as a person, a father, a friend. In retrospect, I feel pretty good about the growth of 2014, but I found it interesting that my mindset was pretty consistent year after year; yet, I didn’t keep that concern in an accessible place.
In 2015, I have decided that I am going to keep a business journal of quick hit concepts, emotions and feelings. So by the time 2016 rolls around, I can go back to those months and moments and check for consistency and repeating thoughts. I was initially spooked that December day, but when I was able to look back a year prior, I realized a lot of good things happened in that past year, and they will continue to happen in the next year. I found it comforting, and I also realized I would be able to better recognize symptoms of fear and concern earlier on the next time I feel uneasy.
I must add that I am my own worst critic. I desire the best days, the best moments and the most successes. It drives me. But, I certainly don’t want it to kill me. I would much rather create a bible of me that I can rely on to calm nerves and “stress,” find the moments where I feel most celebrated, and reflect on those.
Whenever I speak with my staff or recognize a great moment, I try to encourage them to hold onto that feeling and go there when moments turn stressful – which is inevitable. I must follow my own advice, and I’d like to try and inspire you to follow this advice, as well.
We will see how the documentation goes. But, at the very least, it should help me understand why I feel up and down throughout the year. Had I realized what a crazy ride business ownership would be and how my emotions reach such drastic highs and lows, I would have started this on day one. Maybe I’ve caught you early on in your venture and you can start your diary from the very beginning, but I don’t think it matters how far along you are. I think noticing the map of your emotions can be a valuable tool to helping you get through the tough times and remembering the amazing wins you have accomplished.