Manic entrepreneurship is quite common. It’s when small wins or small defeats cause immense mood swings from julibant positivity to utter despair. When first starting a business, these feelings might be common. Or, when things don’t seem to be going as well as you hoped…
A client victory will send a manic entrepreneur soaring. A client loss will send a manic entrepreneur into feelings of defeat. Smaller incidents can trigger manic entrepreneurship too; a compliment might make you feel like a million bucks, whereas a complaint makes you feel like you should give up.
Manic entrepreneurship is a scary place to be.
- It’s rarely a reflection of reality.
- It rarely leads to positive progress.
Even uber-highs don’t lead to great progress, because you might delude yourself into thinking little else has to be done while you’re so successful. Uber-lows cripple you; they lead to inaction, which is an entrepreneur’s death knell.
So how can you avoid manic entrepreneurship?
- Be aware that it exists. Knowing is half the battle right? It’s true. Recognize the fact that your emotions are running unchecked and affecting your ability to make reasonable, positive progress. Recognize what triggers manic entrepreneurship in you; and work to balance those feelings when they start to hit.
- Focus on the big picture. You have a vision/mission statement right? Use it. Lean on it for support in bad times. Let it anchor you in times of joy. Successful entrepreneurs are able to keep their eye on the overall mission of their business.
- Don’t sweat the small stuff. Every entrepreneur eventually realizes that the small stuff doesn’t matter as much as they think. This is especially true when you’re first starting out; every detail has to be perfect. Well, it rarely is. And even if it is, people don’t often notice. I like the analogy of a wedding — you and your partner (who planned to the nth degree) see every little mistake (and every perfect detail); the guests just enjoy the party!
- Ask yourself grounding questions. Try asking yourself this, “Did I incrementally improve the business today?” If you can reasonably answer “yes” then you’re on the right track. I’d bet most of the time the answer is yes.
- Take a break. Sometimes there’s no choice but to take a break. Sitting at your desk doing nothing doesn’t help anyone. Go out for a walk, take half a day off, do something to get your mind off what’s going on. Step out for awhile and regroup.
Most of this will help with sinking lows. Soaring highs are certainly not as big a problem! If you’re succeeding and feeling great, rock on! But be careful about deluding yourself that one small, incremental victory is worthy of throwing a lavish party, taking 6 weeks vacation and buying brand new Aeron chairs for everyone.
Entrepreneurs are not the most level-headed people around. If they were, they probably wouldn’t be entrepreneurs. I would never suggest the answer to manic entrepreneurship is to be a zombie. I use words like “grounding” and “balance” to try and smooth out the edges, not to dull them completely.
Manic entrepreneurship is frustrating.
When it hits, you’ll probably know it, but you may be incapable of powering through it. Find a way to do so, because it will help you succeed.