In this last Module, we will be discussing how to grow not just as a business owner but as a leader. One of the biggest realizations I had during my first year in business was learning that I had to keep my head up during times of fear and doubt, and it is something I still continue to work on. I have learned to recognize and accept when I am feeling fearful and to know that it's ok. Instead of running the other way from what scares me, I accept it and move through it. Business owners take risks, but leaders get uncomfortable and vulnerable a lot. You will absolutely have to get outside of your comfort zone to become successful.
It's an inevitable part of the entrepreneurial journey: you will experience the highest of the highs where you feel like you are on top of the world, then come crashing back down to earth when something doesn't go the way you plan. Understand that everything happens for a reason, and when things do not go well, it is important to take a deep breath (or a yoga session!), examine the situation, and get the appropriate help. Here are some of the ways to help you get through those moments of despair:
1. Appreciate your progress.
Take the time to appreciate where you are currently at and recognize what you have accomplished already. Treat mistakes not as an indicator of failure, but as a learning tool for knowing what to do better on next time.
2. Practice being positive.
A great practice to incorporate here is using only positive language. Language is a reflection of your beliefs so if it is always negative, then you will act and believe negatively. Disregard and ignore negative thoughts. Substitute them with constructive, happy thoughts. Every time a negative thought enters your mind, immediately replace it with a positive thought.
3. Daily gratitude.
A wonderful tool for handling stress and keeping positive is to write in a gratitude journal everyday. We highly recommend starting a journal for this whole journey, whether that be one that you write in, or just writing on a digital notepad.
Simply start writing in your journal once a week to celebrate what you have achieved for the week, whether they be big or small wins. When you get in the habit of celebrating even the smallest wins, you allow yourself to step into your spotlight and recognizing what you have already accomplished. Celebrating your wins, even if they are from mistakes, is what gives you confidence to continue trekking forward
People who regularly practice gratitude and take the time to notice and reflect upon the things they're thankful for will experience more positive emotions. You inevitably will get stressed as a business owner, so this is one of the best ways to stay grounded and reduce unnecessary stress. In addition to writing down your gratitude, but go back to reflect and resonate with what you have written weeks before. It will provide a new perspective on how far you have come.
Write down two lists where you recognize what you have accomplished thus far.
LIST 1: Wherever you are at in your private practice journey, write down all that you have accomplished as an RD that you are proud of. If you are just starting out, that may be even just passing the exam.
LIST 2: Write down where you envision yourself 5 years from now if you can build the career of your dreams.
4. Know what works best.
Understand what time of the day you do your most inspired work. For some, this is early morning when your mind is fresh. Avoid the frustration of working on big tasks when you are tired at the end of the day.
On the contrary, the evening once the day is winding down can be some people’s most productive time. Use this time to reflect what you got done today, what the next steps are, and write out your next day's to-do list.
5. Your community.
It is so important to surround yourself with positive, rational people who can lift you up in your darkest moments. After all, you are the average of 5 people you spend the most time with.
6. Believe in yourself.
Confidence in yourself is everything, and that starts with trusting yourself that you are capable and competent in everything that you put your mind to. That is what will help you take big action, and knowing that making mistakes is what allows us to gain perspective and confidence.
7. Focus on your strengths and know your weaknesses.
Bringing your strengths to the forefront and facing your weaknesses must become a routine practice, as we discussed back in Module 1. This will help you stay confident in yourself as you continue to navigate through unfamiliar situations that will force you to grow.
8. Strive for fulfillment.
If you are spreading your passion and message, your job will bring you joy and it will be something you look forward to every single day. People remember the way you make them feel, not the way you look or not even always the things you tell them. You will feel fulfilled, by knowing that you are fulfilling other people's lives.