Being a small business owner requires a high level of motivation to keep going on both good days and bad. The good days are easy. I come back to my office motivated and enthusiastic after the joy of making new connections while out networking, experiencing the high from a talk gone well or feeling the excitement of adding a new client. It’s much harder when key contacts are not responding to my emails, when a potential client decides not to commit, or when a workshop doesn’t go well. So you might ask, what keeps me going on the bad days? My answer: resilience. I can’t persevere if I don’t have the resilience to rebound from the challenges. Of course, I am the one who is hardest on myself on the bad days. I have huge expectations for myself and I don’t always meet them. This can set off a major episode with my saboteurs (those pesky inner critic voices). They create all kinds of negative stories about any difficulties I face which are usually nothing but speculation. These stories can sap my motivation and put on the brakes.
Lately I have realized that saboteur voices are always going to be part of the equation and so I must accept them as signals of a sort. In the past, they would have laid me out for days, or caused me back down into my comfort zone and stop trying. Now I have more resilience. Don’t get me wrong, they still have a pretty potent sting, but I have found the best antidote to their sting. That antidote is self-love. I think there was always a wise part of me that loved me unconditionally, but in the past, it was a small voice out-matched by the much louder negative voices. Over the years, I have made many investments in myself: therapy, coaching, participating in workshops, earning an MA in Women’s Spirituality, and pursuing certification as a Co-Active Coach. Self-love is the pay-off of all that investment. The power of that calm quiet voice has become more potent and more importantly, I remember her more often. In addition, I have a meditation practice that has strengthened my ability to open up to her. Once I pause to connect, I find her there reminding me of the ocean of love available to me at all times. When I step into that love I receive hope and resilience, along with the ability to recognize that the high level volume of the saboteur voices is a signal that I am on to something important and meaningful.