There are days spent grinding away at building businesses where nothing seems to happen. You spend your time looking for ways to force movement with suppliers, customers, investors, or just with yourself, and these can the most difficult times to stay positive and gain or maintain momentum.
The sound of silence can become a deafening roar in the mind of a business owner as the little voices inside your head get louder and louder. The seeds of doubt which switch between dormant and hyper growth seem to do so in the blink of an eye, and instead of a positive mindset and optimism, you find yourself feeling deflated and pessimistic about where things are at.
As I’ve said in the past, perception of time can be an entrepreneur’s worst enemy. When you’re building something, you need to rely on input from all sorts of different people and the most important thing to understand is that your priorities are not necessarily theirs. A micro focus on time causes the sounds of silence to be amplified, and the time spent waiting is the hardest. When you’re stuck in the monotony of the day to day it is hard to balance the perception of time and the burning desire to achieve; to get what you need done and move on to the next thing. I’ve found that the best way to balance perception is to take a longer-term view and keep your eye on where you’re going, not where you’re at. It analogous to going for a drive; you’ll stop and start many times along the road, but eventually you get to your destination. The micro focus looks at the stop-start, and macro focus sees you at your destination.
Momentum in any business depends on many different factors, such as; your idea, its stage of development, product-market fit, customer base, demographics, timing etc. To me momentum is black and white, you’re either moving forwards or you’re moving backwards. I don’t think the concept of momentum has anything to do with standing still.
Along the journey, it’s important for you to realise that no matter how slow (or stagnant) things may appear, you can still have forward movement and momentum. Often it doesn’t seem like it at the time but momentum in your business usually requires input from others; people you have met along the way, businesses you’ve engaged, or someone who unbeknown to you is doing something to push your business along. There have been a number of occasions that spring to mind where days have been spent staring at a screen wondering what I can do to get things moving again, and what I’ve found was that on those days where it seemed (to me) momentum had been lost and things were standing still, that there is always something (that shows up after the fact) which meant that momentum had not been lost, and this changes your perspective.
The internal struggle to stay positive and believe in yourself to get done what needs to be done is an ongoing battle. The seeds of doubt which take root on those ‘silent’ days can’t be allowed to establish themselves as this will be a fast route to failure in your endeavours. Self-doubt is all in your mind and it’s about perspective. What seems like a failure in your own mind can look very different to someone else looking in. When things are going well the sounds of progress and success far outweigh the sounds of silence and self-doubt. The dopamine hit you get from success (even if only a small win) is so much stronger than the doubt, which is why it’s so important to understand the concepts of time and momentum.
A positive mindset is the best basis from which to build success and maintain forward momentum, as it will help you through those silent days, and onward to your destination.