How To: Overcome Negative Feelings As A Business Owner

How you speak to yourself matters babe... fact.

And when you're the owner of a business that YOU created, YOU developed and YOU grew... well, you don't need me to tell you that the internal voices are there. And sometimes they get really loud.

We business-owners are our own worst critics. And as female-business owners, probably even more so... given the fact that we're categorised as a 'minority' and have a disproportionate amount of hurdles to overcome at every corner of our journey (half the time we don't even know it). Don't believe me? Quickly head over to my other post 'Why Should You Support Female-Owned Businesses?' to familiarise yourself with the reality of it.

From an eye-watering case of neglect in business support to condescending peers AND a generous helping of discrimination and sexism... we already have our plates full with injustice and don't need to make it harder for ourselves by shit-talking our own worth and ability.

My 6-Step Process To Accept, Overcome & Move On

Feeling negative and uninspired happens to just about everybody but if, like me, you're running your business on your own it's especially important that we arm ourselves with techniques to combat the business blues so we can carry on shining.

1. Do something OFFLINE

Before I do ANYTHING, I need to blow off that steam. Motion creates emotion.

So get up, make like Taylor Swift and shake it off! Or whack on some tunes and dance around your kitchen like you're Sasha Fierce.

It sounds silly but it really works! Have you got a hobby? When you've released that initial tension, make some time later on for some 'you' time. Whatever allows you to switch focus and tap into your happy place. I find swimming really peaceful so after a hard day I might take myself off for a paddle. Or just to float *shrug*.

2. Acknowledge and accept your emotion

When you've finished funky chicken-ing around the living room, it's time to address your thoughts and feelings head on - don't just push them to one side because you're feeling momentarily better.

Two things I want to tell you at this point...

  1. You are most certainly not alone

  2. Emotions are complex

Grab a sheet of paper and write down all the words that you are feeling i.e. frustration, sadness, longing, jealousy etc. Look at your list, can you pinpoint the 'thing' that made you feel that way?

Then decide - is there a lesson you can learn from this? Is this something that needs further work? Or is it something that you just have to accept for what it is?

3. Thinking pragmatically

Once you've acknowledged and accepted the emotion behind the 'thing', you'll be in a better head space to take a more measured approach to manage your feelings and tackle the real problem instead of just feeling shit about yourself.

Ask yourself the hard questions. If it was a specific work-related issue - evaluate where you might need some improvement. If it's a shitty injustice (refer back to my list of barriers for female business owners...), what steps can you take to keep a level head and make a difference?

Whether it's an under performance (within your control or not), something you've seen on social media that's made you feel bad, something personal that you need to address or just a run of bad luck... there is ALWAYS a way to overcome it. So please, babe, do not despair.

4. Express how you are feeling

A sad fact of life is that things just don't always go they way we hope they will but it's very important that we learn to manage the way we express our negative feelings.

It's widely acknowledged that keeping our feelings bottled up is not a healthy response but, on the other side of the coin, neither is picking fights with our friends and family... so we need a more positive, constructive outlet.

It's your own responsibility to find what works for you. You may already know what you need but if you don't then I stress again babe.. you are NOT alone there. There's so much support available to help you work that out.

Personally, I put pen to paper in my journal and let it all out onto the page, totally unfiltered. I'm very fortunate that my husband-to-be is incredibly supportive and we have a great understanding of the care and communication the other needs - from knowing how to actively listen, how to diffuse a situation and, if I'm being totally honest, when to shut tf up.

5. Reach out to your business community

After hashing out all my personal feelings and then applying some rational logic, I take it to my business community. These are your people, they will get it.

Find your tribe, the ones who can relate to your business and have probably been in the same boat as you at some point - they can help you get through it. It's usually at this point where it really rings home that I'm not alone.

There are some epic business networks out there - in your local area and online, in your industry, at the same journey point - i.e. start-up, freelance - you just gotta find them babe!

These are a few of the communities I'm involved with: Found & Flourish, Creative Impact Marketplace, Girls In Marketing, Alt Marketing School, Body Happy Org. Plus, not forgetting the groups I'm a member of on LinkedIn!

6. Create a hype list

You've done the graft and made it to step 6, the final stage of my process - yay you!

Here's where I spin it on its head and think POSITIVE. Same as you did in Step 2, grab that paper and start a new list of all the things about you that are amazing! The things that you're proud of, your wins (big or small), things you're excited for, things that make you smile and, of course, your kick-ass attitude - completing this process can be number one on your list, you felt negative but then you KICKED ASS.

Bye bye neggy gremlins... LYN (love you never)!

More blogs to help you manage the business blues

Here's a few other articles that focus on overcoming more specific scenarios that could be causing you to feel negatively about your work life.

Quality Over Quantity - When To Say No To Clients

In this blog I highlight the 3 most common scenarios I see - as a business consultant for female-owned businesses - when businesses overextend themselves and lose sight of their brand values and business purpose. I'm going to teach you when it's ok to say 'no' to clients and their demands BUT still maintain positive and healthy client relationships.

Read it here.

How To: Set Boundaries In Business In Just 4 Steps

This blog is about setting boundaries in business and lays out the benefits of setting boundaries as well as a 4-step process to help you identify where you may need to set boundaries and, maybe most importantly, practical tips for how to enforce those boundaries.

Read it here.

What To Do When You Feel Stuck In Your Business

Can't stop procrastinating? Got perfectionism paralysis? This blog goes through the tangible steps to take to get you unstuck and moving again.

Read it here.

Pivoting Through A Pandemic - My Small Business Story

In this blog, I lay bare exactly what it was like going through the pandemic as a small UK business owner and a mother. From losing clients, battling with mental health, managing home-schooling and constant anxiety. I know there are so many women can relate, so I hope you'll never feel alone babe.

Read it here.

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