There’s no doubt that the last year has been a challenging one. Everybody and their dog is talking about how the pandemic has affected the world, business, the economy and us as individuals.
I just wonder, is there any way to go back to how things were before?
Something in me says no.
The profound and in many cases very personal effect that the virus has had on our lives has certainly changed our perception of the world and life in general, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Challenges are a part of life, whether they affect us individually, locally, nationally or globally. There is always something to deal with. To manage our way through, to adapt to, to refocus on.
Change is an essential part of life, but before meaningful change can take place, you must be honest with yourself…totally honest.
How do you feel about your life? About your work? About yourself? What do you need to change or adapt?
Are those changes and adaptations you need to make because you feel a sense of pressure from others? Do you feel the need to conform to a standard that’s expected of you, but that you know doesn’t respect your values?
Or is it because you need to make sense of how you feel and find a solution that moves you to a happier and more fulfilled place?
Ideally, it’s the latter, but if you’re anything like me, as an entrepreneur, you may have a tendency of pushing your emotions and feelings to one side. Burying them in a 10-foot-deep crypt somewhere in the back of your sub-conscious or; maybe you’re just putting on a brave face, smiling and outwardly saying everything is fine, when deep down you feel the turmoil boiling?
Being a Leader Doesn’t Make You Infallible!
As a business owner or leader there’s even more pressure to just deal with everything that’s thrown at you with a Teflon exterior.
In fact, it’s even harder for you to accept that you need help because of those expectations of who you are and the person you set yourself up to be.
You’re expected to be strong. To have the answers. To know what to do. Admitting that you don’t is not easy.
According to an article in Forbes, 72% of entrepreneurs are directly or indirectly affected by mental health issues compared to just 48% of non-entrepreneurs. Don’t get me wrong, supporting anyone suffering with mental health challenges is essential, this statistic shows that either way, it’s too high.
Having experienced the death of 4 close family members in less than two years, including both of my parents, it took a long time to become totally aware of the effect this build-up of emotion had on me...and my business. Throw in the care and illness that was experienced over more than 4 years and you can see that it would be a lot for anyone to deal with.
I lost count of the times people kept telling me how strong I was to have been through so much over those years. I personally couldn’t see that because I knew inside, I was slowly and gradually falling apart.
Strangely and conversely, the only thing that kept me going was my family and those friends who were constantly telling me how strong I was, despite not feeling that way.
Having a support network of people around me who were doing their best to emotionally prop me up helped considerably, but it didn’t necessarily give me the answers for how to pull myself out of the cavernous hole I had got myself and my feelings into.
The Determination to Change
Although I am a very positive and upbeat person most of the time, I’m not immune to problems…none of us are.
It wasn’t until after my mum passed that I knew I needed to make a huge shift in my own mindset if I wanted to get back on track.
I had to be honest with myself and go right back through all the pain I had suffered, not just during these last two years, but way back to when I was growing up, so I could make sense of and work through those emotions.
Most of the challenges we face and how we deal with them stem from those places your conscious mind shuts out to protect you and your emotions. Many of which as I said, start in childhood.
Being a coach myself, I know how important it is to have impartial, non-judgemental conversations so that you can get the support you need to understand your feelings and everything that’s happened or is happening to you, where it stemmed from, what you can do to try to find the best solutions.
It’s always been easy for me to work with my clients on their challenges, goals, hopes and dreams, but dealing with my own was a different story all together.
So, when I had the opportunity to get the help of an amazing therapist from Dimbleby’s at Guys Cancer Centre in London and my sister-in-law who has also trained in this area, I saw this as a sign to give myself time to heal.
The truth shall set you free.
Those truths start with you and understanding that any ‘flaws’ or vulnerabilities you think you have are actually lessons in resilience and determination. Lessons in how to find a solution that helps you keep putting one foot in front of the other and honouring your values.
This is a marathon not a sprint. I’m intelligent enough to know that life will throw all kinds of curveballs at me, but with a much clearer understanding of how to analyse my own experiences with an observant and unattached mind, I appreciate them for what they are. Lessons.
When things go wrong in our lives and the goals we set for ourselves seem to be slipping further and further away, it’s only natural to question what you need to change and whether or not you even have the means and mindset to change it?
The only way to answer these questions is to be 100% honest that there is a problem and that you need help to work out how to get yourself back on track.
As a personal brand coach with life, CBT and success mindset coaching accreditations also under my belt…alongside personal experience, I’m offering you the opportunity that I also received so you can help you need.
You can’t solve a problem with the same mindset that created it.
T Herv Ecker