The Seven-Year Itch: Getting Through the Tough Times

All of us, at some point, no matter the strength of the love we have, will face troubles. And this isn’t just true of romantic relationships but just as applicable to our work. We love what we do. It’s why we do it. It’s why we’ve stepped out and blazed new trails, reinvented ourselves, and let our entrepreneurial flag fly. But bumps come, and trouble rears its ugly head.

What we need isn’t a box of chocolates and a bouquet of roses (although I certainly wouldn’t turn any down because….chocolate) to light the fire, what we need is a plan. The words strategy and plan aren’t all that romantic, but they certainly are effective. You know what they say, “when you fail to plan you plan to fail.” So, let’s plan to succeed by understanding that trouble comes and then be ready for it.

When trouble comes, we have a variety of options, but we’d like to suggest the best choice. What we are proposing here isn’t to merely survive the trial, but to thrive.

Pressure makes diamonds, right? Well, I think we all deserve to sparkle and merely attempting to survive a test isn’t going to cut it.

Thriving takes honesty. It takes understanding with clarity who you are and what your big goal is. It's simply about understanding why you are doing what you are doing and why you love it. Thinking about the reasoning behind your goal isn't something you start thinking about when struggle hits, but rather something you should strive to keep at the forefront of your mind at all times. In periods of success, remember who you are. In periods of decision making, remember what you are doing. And in times of struggle, you can remember why you are doing it and keep the main thing the main thing.

Thriving also takes a willingness to learn. Thriving mean learning the same lesson a few times. It might mean that you learn a new skill. Or, perhaps, it means you learn how strong you are. Always operating with a mind towards learning means you will never stop growing. And growth and thriving are two sides of the same coin.

Thriving also takes the ability to be flexible. The key here is flexibility – bending NOT breaking. Flexibility isn't just for yogis. Listen to the struggle. What is it telling you? Is it revealing an operating issue? Is it showing you an area that you’ve been neglecting? Are your customers’ needs changing with our ever-changing environment? Listen and be flexible.

Finally, never forget your customers. One of the first things we as solopreneurs do when we are facing an onslaught of struggle is to hide in a bowl of dairy-free ice cream with extra vegan caramel sauce (or that’s just me), but the best thing to do is to reach out more. Hiding is only good when solicitors knock on your door, not when your dreams hang in the balance.

In this time, when hiding or putting your nose to the grind seems most instinctive, instead find ways to have more interaction with your customers or clients, not less. Let them know you are there, remind them why they have chosen you or your product, and shine in the middle of the hard stuff.

And sparkle like the diamond you are. Struggles come to all of us, and they certainly aren’t anything to cause embarrassment. Instead, choose to rise, thrive, and shine! And, we promise, the spark of romance will ignite again.