At some point in your entrepreneurial quest you’ve probably had a few sleepless nights? It hits 3am and you are still staring at the ceiling wondering how you are ever going to get your business launched, find the right customers, hire the right people, or make some cash. I’ve been there. So I asked the “doctor,” business coach Jim Rohrbach, how we get stuck in feelings of utter despair when our business ideas look impossible. Jim says there are 8 head games to avoid.
• Frustration. “Why is this taking so long?”
• Irritation. “Why don’t those people return my emails and phone calls?”
• Aggravation. “How come the developer can’t get my website ready in time for our launch?”
• Confusion. “What the heck is my niche anyhow?”
And then it gets worse…
• Self-doubt. “What if they were right – maybe I don’t have what it takes?”
• Helplessness. “We’re bleeding red ink!”
• Hopelessness. “I can’t seem to close any deals!”
• Despair. “What was I thinking when I started this business?!”
See how these feelings can lead to a long, dark hole of nothingness? If your business or business idea is going to succeed, you have to stop playing head games. What’s the cure? Focus on the three things you can control: your attitude, activity and skills. Here are some tips to keep you moving forward:
1. Create Success Rituals. The best entrepreneurs create structure around themselves to reinforce their culture, attitude and best practices. Ever seen a sales room where the team rings a bell for each sale? The bell rings and the room is instantly energized. Find your bell – the triggers that bring out great performance from yourself and your team – then make a ritual out of it. At my first company, we had a “Good Friday” lunch every week when everyone on the team had to talk about at least one accomplishment. Yea, sometimes the comments were snarky…I’d hold my tongue when people talked about how glad they were they had not killed each other. But the camaraderie and team confidence were always there.
2. Schedule Your Activity Proactively. Ask yourself: what are the three crucial goals I must accomplish today? Then schedule those activities in advance so when emails, texts, and meetings come knocking you already have the time set aside. Nothing defeats despair like activity aimed at a valid goal. On the day Amazon bought Zappos, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos held a press conference where he talked about all the mistakes Amazon made in the early days, and how he reminds himself every morning that “today is Day One.” So if today is Day One what three goals do you want to accomplish?
3. Work on the Skills You Love. Nothing increases confidence like improving your competence, and to do that you have to focus on what you love to do. Too many company founders don’t know how to delegate, which means they end up doing a lot of things they don’t like and are not good at. Farm out the things you aren’t passionate about and hone in on your best talents. You’ll be more productive and positive. Steve Jobs said, “I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been ‘No’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.” Doubt and hopelessness have zero chance to take root against your goals and business ideas pursued passionately.
**Robert Jordan is a Forbes.com contributor. View the original posting of this article on Forbes.com.