I must seem cranky and anxious lately because my husband slipped this article into my Inbox: 15 Ways to Become a Happier Small-Business Owner. OK hon, I get it!
But there’s some good stuff here, along the lines of How to keep your natural buoyancy and inspiration when the future is unclear.
And the future is unclear a lot more these days. For example, your client could decide to stop spending money or put the account in review, management could change, you could win the new business pitch, or invent a new service/product/app that sounds very promising… or not. It’s hard in these moments to discern if the next success is right around the corner, if you’re doing things right, if you’ve diversified your risk, etc. etc.
And when stress and uncertainty come to visit, it’s important not to get rattled or lose your focus. You need to make confident and unemotional decisions about whether to stay the path or abandon ship. You need buoyancy (unrelenting optimism) and inspiration. There are 15 good tips here and two more that have consistently worked for me:
Do you remember the movie Broadcast News with Holly Hunter & Albert Brooks? It’s almost 20 years old, but still one of my faves. Albert Brooks is a talented journalist who blows his chances of becoming a news anchor with a catastrophic on-camera performance. It was the definition of an epic fail. But rather than become bitter, make excuses, or feel sorry for himself, he finds a way to laugh and redirect his career.
Humor is more effective than despair. It gives way to hope much sooner. I look for these qualities (lightness, optimism, forgiveness) in the people that I surround myself with too. They’re nothing more draining than people that are always sour or think they’re been dealt an unfair hand. It’s freeing to say, “Well, that was crap. I’ll do better tomorrow.” Then you can put it behind you and start moving toward a solution.
Once you’ve righted the boat, it’s important to have a direction. Vision. Inspiration. For me, that means exposure to new people and ideas. Getting outside your own head to gain fresh perspective.
This March, Amtrak debuted its Residency for Writers program. Have you heard about this? Amtrak will put up aspiring writers in sleeper cars and ferry them to strange and distant locations. The trips, spanning several days, will offer quiet, solitude and new scenery to encourage creativity. How does that sound to you? (Personally, the romanticism of riding a train back & forth is lost on me, but I’m sure I could write something very inspired if say, the Ritz wanted to put me up in one of their new properties!)
The point is, looking up and out, shaking the chains of your daily routine is exactly what’s going to spark clear, creative thinking.
That’s it. My simple formula to success & happiness, brought to you by Broadcast News, Amtrak and the letter B.