One of the ways that I control my emotions in business is to redirect them and make them more productive. What do I mean by this?
Well, if you’re feeling down about something, normally this would stop you in your tracks. It could lose you half a day, a day or even weeks of productivity because you’re struggling to deal with the fallout of your emotions.
However, I like to redirect everything. If I’m experiencing a negative emotion that makes me feel like jumping in bed, closing the blinds and sleeping for a week, I analyse why I’m feeling like that. Then, I get to the root of the problem – and instead of letting it fester and build into this great big thing, I figure out a solution that will make me feel better.
Finding the catalyst for a better response
We’ve all been there – you might wake up in the morning and feel down, but the minute you get up, brush your teeth, have some breakfast and something good happens, those chemicals flow and you feel good. You’re ready to hit the day, and it’s the catalyst for finding solutions and making things better.
For example, it might be the performance from a member of the team which is causing you stress. A complaint has come in from a client on a particular job. This can be very stressful, especially if it’s a big client and we’ve promised them the world. Now, normally, I might get annoyed at the team who have let me down on this and jump to conclusions.
However, instead of jumping down that person’s throat and making rash decisions, I quickly get to work on planning out how I’m going to approach this complaint.
I form a list of things in the order that they need to happen, and away I go. Usually, within the first few tasks on that list, the problem has been located, a solution has been found and now we have a happy client. It’s taken years for me to develop that – normally, there might have been a heated discussion and it would completely ruin my day.
Breathe, order of actions, solution
Any problem is usually solved by having a few rational conversations and doing a little digging. Now, I used the client thing as an example, but it could be any scenario. My point here is that I diverted the spontaneous nature of the original feeling of being annoyed to figuring out why I’m annoyed, and getting to the root of the problem via an order of actions without delay. And it works every time, without fail.
The other emotion we all often experience is being nervous, whether it’s for a job interview, pitching for a new client, delivering a new project or having to have an awkward conversation with someone. Being nervous about doing something can lead to delays in doing that task, which can have a knock-on effect on the particular scenario.
Emotions and your response to them can lead to success… or failure
Controlling your emotions – or, certainly, your response to your emotions – can play a pivotal role in your success (or lack of success) as the head of the business. Therefore, you need to put some effort into managing this side of your responsibilities – unless, of course, you are just perfect and you can handle everything that life throws at you, then hey… kudos to you.
The reason I’m pointing all of this out is to make you think. It would be great if there’s someone with a business of our size or bigger reading this, thinking, ‘Yep, I’ve been through it and I know exactly what you’re talking about’. However, it’s also for those thinking about scaling their business up from just them working at home to staff and offices.
The two different kinds of business person
What kind of business person are you? There are two distinct versions:
The Entrepreneur – You’ve got the mindset, talent, enthusiasm, drive and willingness to go on this journey. You start building this business and then go onto the next, and onto the next. You have all these things going on, but you can cope with that and you want that.
The Self-Employed Freelancer – You’re still running a business and it’s just you on your own. However, that’s where you should stay, because the minute you go into scaling the business up and dealing with staff, it’s a different mindset. You’re in too deep and you’ve got to keep going because you’ve invested in it financially, mentally and physically.
Can you cope?
This is something genuinely worth thinking about. Are you actually an entrepreneur, a business owner, who wants the headache, the loneliness and everything else that comes with it?
Specifically the emotional side of it. Can you cope with the bank, clients and suppliers chasing you for cash? Can you cope with approaching the end of the month and not having enough money in the bank to be able to pay staff? Can you cope with staff coming to you complaining about one thing and another?
I could go on and on and on. There are so many different things to consider, and it’s so important to think about that before you open the bank account. Before you register your company with Companies House. Before you hire your first member of staff. Before you take on that big client that requires all of these different logistical things that you need to be able to service them. Think about all these things before you go into business.
As this is my last post in a series about the emotional side of running a business (you can learn more about the emotional rollercoaster of business here and the head vs the heart in business here), let’s round it all up with some lessons learned.
- There is an important influential and emotional aspect of running a business that I believe very few people think about when they set up a business in the first place.
- It’s important to be on top of your emotions to understand why you are reacting in the way you are reacting. If you’re not sure, figure it out! Talk to somebody or analyse how you react to things and how you can prevent yourself from reacting to things quickly. (The whole ‘count to ten’ thing works, people.)
- You need to be fully aware of your reactions to emotional events. It can have a negative effect on business if you don’t – in some cases, a devastating effect.
- There’s also your reactions to other people’s emotions. Do you truly understand what has motivated or demotivated them, and are you reacting accordingly? Or are you putting your own emotions ahead of theirs?
It’s all very confusing and complex, but that’s humans, that’s emotions, that’s life – and that’s one of the many trillion things you have to deal with when running a business.
Thank you for reading this chapter of the Diary of an Entrepreneur. I must stress, I’m not trying to teach you anything. I’m just sharing my journey, and if it motivates you, then great – job done!
If you want to hear more about my entrepreneurial journey, check out the Diary of an Entrepreneur podcast on all available platforms – I talk all things business in terms of my OWN journey and experience. It’s not one to miss!