It's entirely inevitable that at some point in your micro business life, you'll reach a moment of despondency, inertia, doldrums or even boredom. Maybe you fall out of love with your business, maybe you are worn out by struggle or perhaps external challenges leave you feeling disconnected from all the reasons you started in the first place.
You're not alone.
So what can we do to re connect with our businesses or regain some energy and mojo? Do we just give ourselves a talking to? Perhaps we simply need to tidy the office and crack on and hope it comes back? Do we assume that micro business just feels like this after a while and we have to suck it up.
There are quite a few really useful theories and ideas based in research and science that I've brought together in this guide to serve as reminders or little ideas if you're flagging a little. As always, many a How To Guide comes directly from my own experiences and search for answers, so remember that you're not alone, I get it and we can continue to share our ideas and successes over in the Forum where no doubt lots more ideas will surface!
Start with a little analysis
Perhaps the best place to start is to take some time with yourself to understand what's really at play if you're feeling less than sparkly about life and business. If you're able to narrow down the causes of how you feel, then it may be much easier to find solutions or ways forward to stop feeling stuck.
Consider if you're simply tired or even burnt out a little. Perhaps your mojo is simply asleep and you can find ways to re arrange life so that you get more rest, restoration & help.
Maybe your business has taken a new direction or accidentally became something it was never meant to be and actually you're due for a reset in terms of marketing, customer types or new products and services.
Are you lacking in support and comradeship? It's possible that the 'alone' nature of micro business life has finally worn you down and maybe it's time to connect in with your tribe, get some new help or find a coach or mentor to see you through the sludgy feeling.
Where are you really going?
One of the biggest causes of losing mojo can be a lack of direction. Feelings of being on the same treadmill, going round in circles, never doing anything new, staying safe or losing sight of your vision can all contribute to getting a little stuck.
Reconnect with a plan about where you really want to go. This may be wholly business related and you decide to forge ahead with those ideas you shelved in the pandemic or you finally revamp the website so it says what you really mean. It could be that the reconnection with vision is more about you and what you want from your life. Is your business no longer serving you in terms of how you want life to be or have you reached a new life stage that may require your business to evolve too?
I love a mind map/coloured pens type of exercise where I can really creatively dig into what I really want or to help me work out how I might get there. You may want to take some time to look back at what you were originally trying to achieve and how you can get back on the path. Remember that the whole point of being our own boss is that we get to choose what our days are like, what kind of customers we work with and how we earn our living so embrace the options that come up.
Set mini goals
Research show us that there is a dopamine effect of positive reinforcement every time we achieve a task or get to the end of step. Our brains literally feel good when we tick something off the list. You can maximise this response in your brain by simply breaking down your visions and goals into smaller sections or actions.
Rather than only focussing on the big vision of 100 more clients or 20% more profit, you can build in all the steps that will get you there. This works for big projects as well as a wet Monday when you have to do your accounts. Break down your goals into little pieces and list them so that your brain gets repeated dopamine experiences as you tick off each step of your journey. This will increase motivation and 'keep you going' even when things feel stuck. Remember too, to take regular breaks and stop to look back at how far you've come over a period of 6 moths of the last 3 hours to reinforce your sense of progress.
Words really matter
We've all seen those quotes and articles that remind us that the words we use to ourselves, our brain truly believes and responds to. If we are repeatedly saying to ourselves that we can't do something or that we're rubbish at x, y or z then our brain will simply accept that as fact. It's really important to check in with what we're really saying to ourselves and what potentially negative thinking patterns we're developing that will literally produce the results we predicted.
There's another layer to this notion of positive self talk and that is the difference between saying 'I am' and 'I feel'. Research has shown that when we say to ourselves 'I am frustrated or stupid' then our body experiences a more pronounced fight or flight response. If we are already experiencing some anger or upset, declaring 'I am' reinforces this fight/flight event because it links the experience to your actual identity. However, if you're able to practice separating that response a little and swapping your language from 'I am hopeless at....' to something more like 'I feel a bit hopeless at this task...' the fight/flight response is reduced and gives us much more chance to find positive outcomes that don't imprint negative patterns in the same way. So next time you feel demotivated or stuck in your business or life, perhaps you can explore how you feel and where you can find help rather than unwittingly telling your body that this is a permanent state of being.
James Clear who wrote the best seller, 'Atomic Habits' says that many of us assume that we suffer from a lack of motivation in the face of our goals and dreams. If only we could just exercise more or sit down and learn how to update the website or properly execute our marketing plan. But he says the issue is often a lack of clarity.
Clarity about what we want to achieve and the steps that we need to take to get there not only offers us a plan of action but actually produces more motivation. Identifying exactly how you're going to get better at sharing regular marketing content or writing a blog every week is great but the motivation to keep going will actually come from just starting. For example, if regular social media posting has been your business nemesis or getting more exercise defeats you then evidence also shows if we schedule it into our calendars and just start then the motivated momentum we dream of will come more readily. So if your lack of mojo is a motivation issue, then perhaps getting clear on exactly the steps you need to take and making a day 1 start will help you reconnect.
Are you too comfy?
Comfort zones are lovely aren't they? You know how to do stuff, you know the routine, you feel nice and safe and life is ok. But, comfort can be a little dangerous if you don't get the chance to apply some gentle challenge or stretch in your life or business. This isn't about always seeking out plans that take you to the limit day in and day out but rather something in the middle where we are positioning ourselves at the edge of what's comfortable to help us achieve a little more. Again, James Clear says that humans love challenge but need just the right amount of difficulty to help them stay excited but not disappointed.
If we can find the sweet spot that keeps us stretched but motivated then this can create a state of 'flow'. Flow is a natural state of motivated momentum that both creates action and results but also keeps us motivated with a sense of achievement. Maybe the place to start is have a little look at the areas where life has been a little easy or too predictable, perhaps where you're acting without thought or on automatic pilot. What could you do to elevate your activity to the next stage or introduce something that provides some new energy or even excitement towards reaching a state of 'flow' rather than inertia.
Finally, a little reminder to share your experiences or find some more answers in the forum inside the Member Hub. The How To Guide is just the start and each week, we start a thread about the How To Guide topic so that between yourselves you can dig deeper, find more answers or simply natter online about what micro business life is like for you.