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Monday, January 26, 2009

THE STRESS OF SUCCESS: Starting a New Business Doing Something You “Love”

The Stress of Success with Sifu Cinda Hocking

Starting a New Business Doing Something You “Love”

Are you embarking on a new business venture? Maybe you have a hobby you’ve wanted to do full-time, perhaps you’ve decided to take action on a social or environmental issue, or maybe you have a creative side you want to cultivate and express. However it started, you have felt the urge to grow and change from your current work to something that has more meaning and purpose to you.

Now what? Envisioning the work we want to do is easy when you have a strong passion or purpose, but going from concept to implementation can be quite challenging. Why is this?

Besides the practical financial funding and logistical issues, there are several common stress-inducing fears that slow progress in new business endeavors:

#1 Leaving the Known

Taking a leap into a new business means going way outside the box of your “comfort zone” into the exploration and learning of what sometimes feels like the twilight zone! Besides being fired or laid-off, people tend to leave jobs because of: boredom, feeling trapped, overworked, unappreciated, and disliking the work environment. People starting their own business are either still searching for a niche for their skills, or are burnt-out with their career and are leaving something they are good at but don’t enjoy or something that pays well but isn’t rewarding. Whatever the reason for leaving, you are purposely saying goodbye to a known role and hello to change and uncertainty. Make sure to find others who have been there too and can provide you support, encouragement, and reminders of why you are doing it whenever needed to keep things moving forward.

#2 Taking It Personally

When you feel like your work expresses who you really are and what you really like to do, you are more emotionally invested in its success. Work becomes far more personal, so you also are more sensitive to how others react to it. When your work is your brainchild, any difficulties encountered can feel like rejections of your personal expression. The criticisms you receive tend to trigger reaction patterns conditioned from childhood. You need to watch carefully for these tendencies in yourself, and set up support and strategies to help you stay focused on constructive solutions.

#3 Having To Do It All

Working on your own means you have more responsibility, more power, and the need to have at least fair knowledge of the details of ALL areas of your business. You are now the business, not just staff or a contracted worker, so nothing happens unless you are driving it and participating in it. Leading your business requires the ability to do your research so you can recognize what you don’t know and what you need to learn in order to intelligently hire and supervise someone else to provide your business with the skills you don’t have. Finding these mentors, consultants, partners and colleagues is a vital part of reducing stress and increasing productivity.

I’m sure you’ve noticed that networking is the common feature to my stress-busting solutions. Networking is a key component in generating new energy and reducing the strain of starting a new business. By sharing ideas, stories and discussing co-ventures and cost-sharing possibilities, you will learn and grow much faster than trying to bear your challenges alone. Working with your networks is usually a better option than venting with friends or family who are often overly optimistic or pessimistic, instead of realistic. When you talk to others who have started their own businesses about these common pitfalls and see what strategies they have come up with to handle them, you get a better sense of the possible options. When stress tells you to fight (rebel), take flight (withdraw) or freeze (get depressed) instead of indulging or ignoring your fear, do some reality testing and solution building by contacting your network. Even when you don’t like or want to hear the advice you are given, you still will learn something that can help you get out of your dilemma. And, as my grandpa said, “a kick in the pants is still a step forward!”

Cinda Hocking, LMSW
Internal Energy Plus Consultant and Lifestyle Counselor


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