Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Geting out of the dumps

I got a call from a business associate this morning. She and I are part of a larger group that meets regularly, in the aftermath of a several week workshop we attended.
She felt like she wasn't getting anywhere, and that was affecting her confidence. Sure, there were a number of projects underway, but she had to hire others to help with the technical aspects of a couple of them. Unfortunately, the 'others' had experienced unexpected delays, and all she could do was wait for them to finish. Her personal deadline had passed, and the frustration was dampening her previous enthusiasm. That was making her feel less confident about approaching new clients.
I think most of us go through periods like that.  I know I sure do. Things often take much longer than we expect, especially when working with other people. The question to me was, how to get out of it and back on track.
I'm no business guru, but here's some ideas that I passed along to my friend. Add to them if you want.
Pull out that business plan and revisit the mission you have for your business. This can remind you about your enthusiasm for what you're doing.
Read what you wrote about your past accomplishments and what you offer now. Reinforce the fact that you are skilled at what you do and that you provide value.
Realize that working with others takes time. Sometimes life gets in the way.
Realize that a self-imposed deadline for a new project is often really just a best estimate - things often take longer than we think. Set  a new deadline and get on with it.
Visualize what you expect to happen, after the step you are working on is done. What else do you need to get done? Can you refine your presentation? Are your processes all in place? Can you do something to make them better?
Pull yourself back and look at your business from the outside. What else is missing? What else can you do? What more can you learn about your clients?
Read a favorite, inpirational book, or visit an industry website that you find inspiring. I moved from full-time to freelance communication, so I find books like Dan Pink's  Free Agent Nation and A Whole New Mind good for that.
Thinking back on that list, I guess most of the options are a diversion, and perhaps that's what I was suggesting. If we only focus on problems, life does tend to become..well..problematical.
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