How do you stay strong and persistent in business when you're facing an overwhelming situation, and failure seems imminent? You might not be sleeping well and you're on the verge of freaking out most of the day?
Quick back-story ... when I was a young kid, I lived in a small country town next to a river.
I can vividly remember the night we had to evacuate our home because after days of heavy rain the water was about to breach the riverbank ... and if it did the town would flood.
It was dangerous.
On the way to the safety point in the town center, we had to take my Dad to the river ... it was all hands on deck as they worked through the night, laying rows and rows of sandbags on the bank to stop the worst from happening.
They had to hold the line against an enemy and prevent that enemy from breaking through.
This is what it can be like for entrepreneurs in business, and I've often thought of this stormy night when I've faced challenging situations in life.
Each and every day it can seem as if we have to hold the line against what seems like an enemy that's trying to break through.
And yet at all times ... that enemy and the struggle is in your mind.
This sounds strange to most people when they first hear it, because they think:
"How can the struggle be in my mind when it's clearly 'out there' ... financial problems, competitors, products, marketing, sales, technology problems, or relationships"?
Well, let's take a financial situation. Let's say you're running out of capital. This is what's on your mind day and night and you feel sick about it.
Whenever you have the 'thought' about the 'money' you feel 'sick' inside.
You feel 'fear' and you might feel 'anger' ... and each of these is unpleasant. They get in the way of you operating at your best ... even though it's more important than ever to operate at your best.
It's the thought about the money that does it to you.
It's not the money. It's not even the situation. It's the thoughts you have about the situation that cause your struggle.
If you didn't have those thoughts about the situation, you wouldn't have the struggle, even if the situation remained.
If you happily conceded and said, "Right, I am running out of money and so I will give up this business and walk away", then you wouldn't have the struggle in your mind anymore.
You don't have the struggle because of the situation ... you have the struggle because you are resisting the situation.
You want what you don't have, and this creates struggle.
This is very normal. It's first-level thinking. Pretty much everyone does it. And that's why pretty much everyone struggles.
And yet, what if instead of being fearful about what you 'don't have' ... you could have a different thought?
What if instead of struggling against what you 'don't have' ... you could love and accept what you 'don't have' as the reality of your situation ... and flip it around?
In other words, what if you could "want what you have" instead of wanting what you "don't have"?
I'm not saying for you to "want to have not enough money" ... I'm saying that if you are in the situation in which you don't have enough money, then you can "want the challenge of not having enough money".
It's about accepting your current challenge as the reality of your situation.
And from that point of acceptance, you can move from there.
This is how you hold the line ... you hold the line because you accept the challenge, rather than resisting it.
My first experience of this 'shift' happened when I was studying at University. Most everyone hates exams. They stress about them. They are fearful of them.
I was like that too.
Until one day I realised that all this resistance I was creating about the exams never once stopped the exams from happening. And no one was forcing me to do the exams ... I was choosing to do the exams.
And yet here I was resisting the exams at the very same time as choosing them, and this is what created the struggle.
What if I embraced exam time? What if I embraced exams. What if I LOVED exams ... what would that be like?
This thinking was completely different from what most people were thinking. When I chose to love exams, I couldn't join in with everyone who was complaining about exams. I could no longer relate to the typical 'stress talk'.
I became a 'nerd'. I became 'abnormal'.
And I'll tell you what also happened. I crushed my exams. I became highly successful. I started being at the top of the class year after year.
But most of all, I never stressed about exams again. I looked forward to them. I loved them.
So, the moral of the story is to love "what is".
Love the challenge ... whether it's self-imposed (like exams) or imposed upon you ... always remember that if you're feeling that struggle and if you're feeling that stress ... it's because you are resisting "what is" when instead you could embrace it.