As many entrepreneurs and small business owners are facing the painful impact of these extraordinary economic times, they are presented with a need to start over. As an entrepreneur myself, I’ve been there. It can be incredibly difficult – especially knowing how to get started.
Starting can be one of the most optimistic things you can do. It’s a clean slate, an open opportunity for new beginnings with a whole new set of skills, relationships, and increased determination.
When facing this situation, there is a set of recommendations I offer up for tackling your new beginning.
First, Know that this is expected, you are not alone, and don’t beat yourself up.
Second, Make a list of skills you’ve gained through whatever didn’t work out, whatever you are leaving. You learned a lot as an entrepreneur
Next, Reach out to your contacts who have helped you along the way and in particular anyone you’ve helped along the way and let them know you are looking for a new opportunity.
Lastly – Look into other industries that may need an innovative entrepreneurial thinker. Remember entrepreneurs don’t have to work alone and there are opportunities to join organizations who really want entrepreneurial innovative thinkers.
Fundamentally, our world has shifted to one that expects you to have to restart, to reenvision, and to reinvent yourself – several times in fact! Gone are the days of the lengthy career path. I think it’s time we all gave ourselves a pass on the assumption that our first path will ever be the right one.
Starting over does not mean starting from scratch, it means starting again with an enhanced set of skills, a new rubric for with enhanced knowledge, and an even greater network of people who will admire you for showing back up and saying “I’m still here!” Yep, still an entrepreneur, a business owner, a doer, and a giver, so what have you got? Let’s do this!
Tools for Harnessing Your Optimism
We’ve all heard a thousand times the basic practices of a healthy, productive, abundant and mindful life. If you hear one more time about the industry icons and their meditation practices, I’m sure you’ll want to toss your morning coffee mug at them, but the simple fact is – these practices work.
Optimism, like fitness, like healthy eating, like mindfulness, is a choice – choose it!
Here are 5 simple steps you can do to get in the habit.
- First rule of thumb is – don’t expect you have to do it all at once or do it all perfectly, but instead Do a Little Bit Every Day. Each morning before you grab your phone and read the latest disaster tweets, stop and ask yourself what can you do to commit to optimism? How can you do some good in this world and how can you surround yourself with a positive mindset. Don’t do it all every day, but just do a little.
- Gratitude Guides the Attitude – which is particularly apt this time of year. It’s imperative right now that you identify who and what you are grateful for and then – perhaps even more significantly, HOW you will express that gratitude. Do not keep gratitude to yourself. As we enter this holiday season of giving, consider your greatest gift as the one of appreciation. Send love, gratitude and kindness out to those who have made a difference in your life.
- Our third tactical practical action is to Find your Purpose – You know, I was thinking about this particular step last night as I was sitting in my bed with my laptop with my 15 month old daughter next to me, and her darling little snores act as my purpose. As a determined optimist, there is absolutely NO WAY I will accept anything but a better future for this world, because she is my purpose. Someday, she’ll be 42 years old and I am committed to her future. Now that’s easy for a lot of parents. Anyone with young kids can likely align with that notion, but this goes beyond the next generation.
Finding your purpose is about getting outside your head, your angst, your slump and recognizing that the good you do can have a great impact. Look around your life and your community and find your purpose. Find something bigger than yourself that you commit to as a tool to staying on track
4. Next up, Stop Doom Scrolling – Limit your exposure to negative media – Social media is built for emotional inflammation. Frankly, most of the media today engages in a similar practice. Algorithms are quite literally programmed to perpetuate negative and emotionally destructive content. It’s actually a pretty destructive mess out there. That’s one of the reasons The Optimist Daily exists. My colleagues and I are committed to proving a daily dose of positive, solutions based stories every single day.
What we do at The Optimist Daily serves as the antidote for the negativity you find everywhere else in social media. Look, I’m like everyone else – I get riled up on Twitter and have had my fair share of tantrums when it comes to clickbait headlines. The simple fact is, that’s like toxic brain candy and unless we turn it off, we are all going to be obese on anger. Get educated on social media literacy and don’t go down those rabbit holes! Make a choice to just stop doom scrolling. Just stop.
5. And last but not least, Share Something Good – I have a mantra that I use over and over and it’s “be the role model you wish you had” and this applies superbly to how we harness optimism in our daily lives. Sometimes, and we all know this, you have to fake it – you have to look around and say, ok – i want to be like that – and then you have to just do it. The very best way to galvanize momentum for any movement is to invite other people along in the journey. One thing I know for certain is that sharing something good, posting a positive story (versus a negative one), showing someone else what has moved you, what has inspired you, what makes you feel good will further lift your experience.
Right now our world needs ambassadors for optimism more than ever before, and the process of calling our ambassadors has this super double down Black Friday deal of ensuring that you also will be a heck of an optimist. It’s like buy one get one free when it comes to optimism. When you share something good, like an article on The Optimist Daily, or invite someone else to get their daily dose of optimism, you actually get the lift. By not only practicing optimism, but also sharing it – you really can harness optimism in your life.
Optimism is a pragmatic practice. It’s a choice. You either commit to the habit or you don’t and if you do, you’ll find that optimism helps you overcome many of your biggest hurdles.
Recently, our CEO, Summers McKay was invited to share her thoughts about optimism for entrepreneurs in the face of this incredibly difficult time with Good Day LA. If you want to see Summers’ share these tips live, check out the full video below.