I don’t know about you but at times it can be tough staying positive and motivated, whether this is in work life or even in home life. When things feel like they are getting on top of you, or if it seems like everyone else is more successful or more organised than you are we can end up in a negativity funk. I find this is especially the case being a lone worker or small business owner. As much as it’s freeing and exciting to be your own boss it’s also all on you to work hard and be successful, there can be little or no space for down days or failure when there are bills to pay. With this in mind when we fall into the trap of comparison and negativity we need to address it, quickly.
Social media is a wonderful, often free, tool to market ourselves, to make friends and get inspired. I love following creative people and seeing what they’re up to, whether that’s through Instagram or chatting on Twitter. I can tell the frame of mind I’m in when spending time on social media ends up leaving me feeling deflated or even jealous. We’ve all heard the quote, ‘Comparison is the thief of joy’ and this is especially true when instead of cheering friends and other businesses on in their successes we end up feeling down, and wondering when that’s going to happen for us. Don’t be fooled, this is something that can affect everyone, from the tiny start up to the Instagrammer with 100k+ followers. There’s always someone we perceive to be further ahead or achieving more.
I’ve been reflecting on this and the root of all of this it seems is fear. Fear of never reaching our goals, fear of being a failure, the fear of not being good enough. Comparison and unhealthy competition both come from the fear of feeling like we are not enough. This can be an incredibly lonely and isolating feeling and one that is a breeding ground for negativity.
Celebrate the small wins
When I spot these signs of falling into a negativity funk, I know it’s time to do something about it. One of the ways I’ve learnt to combat this is to think of the things in my life that have gone well. I’m not talking about hitting those huge goals, I mean the small wins, the ones we often forget or even dismiss. You’ve had a positive review left on your Etsy store, someone has commented on your post telling you how helpful it was. Maybe you’re a mum with a young family and you managed to get a shower today. We know what an achievement that can be! Maybe you’ve managed to tick off all the tasks on today’s ‘to do list’. These small wins will look different for each of us as individuals. It’s going to depend hugely on your own mindset and your business, home life or overall goals.
Nothing is too small
Reflect on your goals or aims, those big ones you’ve set for yourself. Then grab a pen and start listing your small wins from the last week, firstly the tiny things that are related to your big goals. You’ve got an income goal of £x what little things have you done to work up to it? Have you pitched to a new potential client? Ordered new business cards? Then think of the unrelated feel-good wins, like going for a run, getting up the courage to talk to a mum at the school gate, making a phone call you’ve been putting off. Nothing is too small! It might feel silly at first, but don’t dismiss your wins. Maybe you haven’t achieved that big goal you’ve set yet but I’m sure you’ve taken little steps towards it.
Just this small exercise can kick start a change of mindset in me, it’s a practical way of getting perspective and focus. It helps me stay in my lane, so to speak, to focus on my life and situation, and not fall into the comparison trap. I spend Monday morning reviewing the past week and making plans for the week ahead and setting goals. Listing the small wins of the week is perfect to incorporate into this and definitely helps me if I’ve found the previous week tough or difficult. Why not make this part of your weekly routine, you could even keep the lists to look back on.
Don’t stay in that fearful negativity funk, celebrate your small wins and let’s get back to cheering each other on!
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