Entrepreneurship is full of peaks and valleys, Most of the time, the valleys are larger, longer and take longer to go through than it does to get to a peak.
But, it's worth it. For all the grueling work, challenges, setbacks, emotional toil, and everything that comes along with going through a valley, when you make it through and get to your next peak, it makes it all the more worth it. I see it like a game. A game of fortitude and perseverance that tests us at every level. And each time we power through, we hit a new peak...enjoy it for a short time, and then get ready to fight through the next valley. After all, this cycle of peaks and valleys is one of the biggest things we sign up for in our lives when we make the decision to become entrepreneurs.
But, how do you power through? How do continue to keep going through each valley that is seemingly bigger than the next? I'll admit that there is no step by step formula and each of us will have to find the things that work best for us. But, I have found a few things I think are key for any entrepreneur to be able to power through their valleys.
First, you must have a long-term perspective or learn to take a long-term perspective. Because we never know how long a valley can and will last and we need to have the right perspective, long-term thinking is critical. The best entrepreneurs focus on the long game because they know, at minimum, they can outlast their competition with that view. Every valley you go through in your entrepreneurial journey will be different than the last and will require you to figure out how to overcome it. If you don't take a long-term view, you will become frustrated to quickly and have a bigger chance of giving up. Just know that each day you focus on getting one step closer to overcoming the challenges of the current valley, you are getting one step closer to your next peak. Trust in yourself and have a long-term view.
Second, get and keep yourself in great mental and physical shape. You will need it to power through. Each valley's challenges will test you. They will test your emotions, your mental fortitude and your physical ability to keep going with the burden on your shoulders. By keeping yourself in great mental and physical shape you will be ready for things that come your way and you will have the energy and ability to keep going when you have to. Have a great routine for your mental and physical fitness is also a great outlet for stress and to give you a break from each valley's daily challenges.
Third, resolve to endure. One of my favorite scenes from The Dark Knight (Batman) is when Bruce Wayne decides to turn himself in to meet the Joker's demands and Alfred tells him to "endure and take it" (clip below)
This is great example of a valley that Bruce Wayne was going through as Batman and the best advice from someone who knew him his whole life was to "endure and take it." He ultimately does and you know how it goes from there. He goes through a lot of pain, but he defeats the Joker coming out on top.
It's the same in our valleys. We must resolve to endure. To take it. We must continue to take it until we no longer have to because we've conquered it. This may be the biggest secret. It's more than never giving up. It's more than never giving in. It's that place that no one else dares to venture because it is too hard. It is too much. It's when we steady ourselves and commit to going through these times when we reach our biggest breakthroughs, our biggest peaks.
Put all three together with whatever else you know you need to do when you hit an entrepreneurial valley and you'll power through.
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