How are you?
Instinctively, you might blurt out, “Fine!” “No complaints!” “Doing all right!”
But how are you…really?
Maybe you’re not fine.
Maybe you’re in pain.
Maybe you’re grieving a death, divorce, or break-up that has torn your heart into ribbons. Maybe you just discovered your spouse has been unfaithful. Maybe you just got some test results back from the doctor and your worst fears were confirmed. Maybe for one big reason, or one hundred tiny reasons, you’re just exhausted.
Recently, a girlfriend asked me, “Do you have any advice on what to do when you’re going through a really hard time, and you feel like crap, but you still need to keep earning money and keep your business afloat?”
Yes. I do. I’ve had lots of conversations with clients on this exact topic.
Here are my suggestions on how to keep your business running when you’re grieving a loss, dealing with unusually high stress levels, depressed, depleted, unwell, or just “not feeling like your usual self” for any reason.
(Because sometimes you just can’t “slay all day” and “crush your goals,” even though you wish you could.)
1. CANCEL EVERYTHING THIS ISN’T ESSENTIAL. If you can afford to take some time off work, do it. If you can’t afford to stop working, then keep working—however, your ONLY job is to work on things that are money-generating activities. Volunteer work, pro bono work, passion projects, side projects, projects that eat up your time without yielding money—nope. All that stuff goes onto the back burner until you’re feeling better.
2. FIGURE OUT YOUR BASELINE. What’s the minimum amount of money required to pay your basic living expenses (mortgage, utilities, groceries, etc.) and keep your business afloat? Figure out a “monthly number” you need to reach, and focus on earning that. You don’t need to set huge, audacious financial goals right now. Just focus on the bare minimum for now. (This can help take some pressure off your shoulders.)
3. MOVE YOUR BODY. Coaching, therapy, counseling—all great. We need to talk through our feelings aloud. But words, alone, are usually not enough. Make sure you are moving your body to process all that emotion. Walk. Run. Lift weights. Roll out your yoga mat. Get in the ocean. Physical movement might not “heal” you instantly, but it will make this chapter of your life a little easier to tolerate. That’s for sure.
4. ASK FOR HELP / HIRE HELP. When you’re grieving or depressed, your cognitive function is impaired. Translation: your brain ain’t working very goodly. You might feel foggy-headed. Concentrating is hard. Simple tasks (like answering emails) can feel overwhelming. Get as much help as you can. Even small things, like paying $10 to get groceries delivered to your home, can feel like a massive relief.
5. LET YOURSELF RECEIVE HELP, TOO. You are a generous person. You’ve probably dedicated 10,000 hours of your life to helping others. You’ve donated to causes. You’ve loaned (or given) money to friends. You’ve given strength to others—a lot. Now is the time to let yourself receive that same support. If a friend says, “How can I help?”…tell them what you need. “Please just sit with me.” “I need help folding laundry.” “Can you pick me up and drive me to the divorce mediation? It would feel good to have a kind face.” Let yourself receive the help that your loved ones want to give.
5. CRY AND PUNCH THINGS. Sob into your pillow. Kickboxing. Archery. Shooting range. It all helps.
6. WATCH YOUR MIND. Make sure you are in “clean pain” and not “dirty pain.” Clean pain is the natural, necessary pain that’s triggered by a situation in your life, like a death or divorce. Dirty pain is unnecessary, additional pain that you create with your own thoughts—bleak thoughts like, “It’s all my fault,” “I’m disgusting and ugly, that’s why he left me,” “I’m a terrible mother.” Watch your mind and make sure you’re not bullying yourself. (If you feel hopeless or depressed for two weeks or longer, or if negative thoughts are invading your mind relentlessly, please talk to a mental health specialist.)
7. IDEALLY—PLAN AHEAD. When you’re feeling good, take advantage of that time and try to create business materials in advance so you’re “covered” in the event of a mental/physical health emergency. For instance, when I sit down to record a podcast, I try to record 3-4 podcast episodes in one sitting. This way, if I have an unexpected personal/health/family crisis, I know I’m “all set” for the next 3-4 weeks and I don’t have a last-minute scramble. It’s not always easy to plan ahead and prep things in advance (sometimes I do a great job with this, and sometimes not!) but do what you can. It helps.
I am sending you a hug.
As a woman who has survived a lot—rape, miscarriage, marriage troubles, a teenager who almost flunked out of high school, online trolls, a stalker—I am here to tell you that you can—and will—get through this time in your life. The pain doesn’t last forever. The human heart is an astonishingly resilient muscle. The human brain is a miracle, too.
For now, don’t worry about building a legacy or earning millions or any of the big, sparkly goals you might normally want to pursue. Just live. Just breathe. Just focus on the basics. Stay afloat.
Take good care of yourself.
You’re not alone.
PS. One of the reasons I created Clear Coaches Select was to help entrepreneurs get ahead of their business and create systems so that if the shit DOES hit the fan, you are COVERED. We start tomorrow. Get a spot.