Entrepreneurship is the emotional ride of a lifetime, and those who take up the challenge generally understand there will be trade-offs. But knowing this in your mind is one thing; living it daily is quite another. Only then can you really gauge how emotionally challenging it can be. At times, your very sanity seems to slip through your fingertips.
You'll have good days, bad days, and downright confronting days. Running your own business has an unparalleled ability to affect your internal state, make you doubt who you are and shake your confidence to the core -- and that's just a Monday.
If you're like many entrepreneurs, the business you've invested so much in must function as your household's primary source of income. Any threat to the business can feel like a threat to your very safety. It can induce an adrenaline-pumping, fight-or-flight stress response for an unhealthily long amount of time. I've seen countless friends and colleagues burn out. The human body simply isn't designed to push past the point of exhaustion for weeks or months on end -- all while that none-too-helpful negative self-talk runs in the background.
Remember this: You deserve to feel good and enjoy your entrepreneurial journey.
Tipping the pain scale
Some degree of "pain" is unavoidable if you choose the entrepreneurial life. But burnout is strictly optional. A mantra -- a statement repeated over and over -- is a simple tool you can use to stay focused and avoid the downward spiral. Incorporating daily mantras can help you put everything into perspective.
I like to use a mantra in times of doubt. It's a little reminder of what I hold most important, and it guides me back to my own self-alignment. You might think of it as a little love note to yourself: It affirms who you are and what this life truly is about so you can realign to the internal state you desire. In a way, it's like training wheels to help a mindset become a habit.
A mantra simply is a phrase that is meaningful and empowering to you. You can write your mantras on sticky notes and leave them around your desk, set them as the screensaver on your computer, freeze-frame a keyword as your smartphone's wallpaper or even write them on your bathroom mirror. (I like to keep mine in my business binder as well.) The point is to make sure you'll see them often.
If you're struggling to come up with your own mantras, you can find inspiration in others' insights. I uncovered these six mantras by interviewing entrepreneurs from all backgrounds and around the world. They've helped me stay sane on more than one occasion.
1. I trust that this will turn out greater than my wildest imagination
Many of you became entrepreneurs to exercise more control in your lives. But what happens when your ability to control gets out of balance? When the gift becomes your downfall? This is a sure sign you're stuck in the incessant chatter of the mind, and it's time to come back to a state of trust.
According to respected coach Jesse Elder, "It doesn't matter if it's true; it matters if you believe it and it makes you feel good." It's important to capture a state of possibility, joy and positivity so you can start creating a different reality for yourself.
2. No one has ever been or will ever be my unique flavor of genius
With the ever-presence of social media, it's easier than ever to get stuck in the trap of comparison. This mantra is a great way to ditch that trap and focus on your genius. Not a single human on the planet has your fingerprints, your DNA, your story or your unique set of gifts. So rock them!
3. I enjoy taking my time and celebrating each stage of the process
Don't believe the myth that you need to rush to some perceived finish line. Entrepreneurship is a marathon, not a race. Take the time to remind yourself to slow down and enjoy the mini-wins. Your brain will thank you for the serotonin rush!
4. I prioritize my spacious time and give myself the gift of vacation days
It's way too easy to get derailed by a never-ending project list -- especially for neurotic creatives. Depriving yourself of relaxation and rest, though, is not the answer. You're busy, but you also have the benefit of being your own boss. Give yourself a break: Take your vacation days, pause for rest between launches, and carve out space in your calendar to allow creativity and mystery to unfold.
5. I prioritize and value my own internal wisdom and vision
Learn to quiet the chatter, tune into yourself, and lead from your vision. Don't let the expectations or advice of others veer you off your path. You are your own greatest teacher.
6. I always find my joy when I return to a heart of service
When you're swimming in the sea of to-dos and tasks, it can be hard to remember why you got into your business in the first place. (I've realized that I'm the happiest version of myself when I come from a place of genuine contribution and service. In this state, I also achieve the most financial success. A total win-win.)
Redenim Founder Kelly Navagh Erst keeps this mantra at the forefront. "Whenever I feel disconnected from my customers in my business, I remind myself that at its core, Redenim is centered around body positivity," she said. "Sometimes I get caught up and lose sight of that, but when I feel like I'm not connecting with women, reminding myself of our core values helps me with everything from content to customer service."
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This article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com. Minor edits have been done by the Entrepreneur.com.ph editors