How to Successfully Ride The Emotional Highs and Lows Of Entrepreneurship
Contributed to EO by Chantel Cohen, an Atlanta EO Accelerator participant who founded CWC Coaching & Therapy to help entrepreneurs and professionals alike find a healthy sense of work-life integration and create the lives they always imagined. Through the Become One Again™ Method, Chantel helps clients enhance their relationships with themselves, their partners and their businesses with the goal of alleviating the associated mental stresses that come with high-demanding careers. Due to her unique approach, Chantel has hosted individual and group coaching sessions and workshops for clients including Google, Coca-Cola, CARE, Lenovo, and Coursera.
The journey of an entrepreneur is never easy. It is filled with challenges, failures, setbacks, as well as joys, thrills and celebrations. We asked Chantel Cohen, an entrepreneur, LCSW and Certified Executive Coach, how to successfully navigate the inevitable highs and lows an entrepreneur experiences throughout their journey. Here’s what she shared:
No matter how successful you are as an entrepreneur, you will always have fairly dramatic highs and lows. Why is this different from someone with a “regular job”?
Compared to those with a “regular job,” entrepreneurs struggle with a unique set of challenges. In my experience, they often let the same passion that drives them toward success consume them entirely. They associate their self-worth with the success of their business and, as such, take on an excessive amount of responsibility. Starting a company is always an intense journey full of highs and lows, but there are things entrepreneurs can do to keep themselves from spiraling out of control. I’ve based my entire career on helping people navigate the ups and downs of entrepreneurship!
What are your “Five Things Needed To Successfully Ride The Emotional Highs and Lows Of Being An Entrepreneur”?
1. Be intentional about cultivating self-love. A big part of this is breaking the habit of basing your self-worth on the success of your company. Your personal value has nothing to do with your business value!
2. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Your mental well-being is a muscle that requires constant attention and often the help of someone who can show you how to do exactly that. And remember, you don’t need to be in crisis mode to take advantage of mental health services.
3. Prioritize your relationships. As entrepreneurs, it’s typical for us to invest most of our energy into our businesses while neglecting our intimate relationships. But you don’t have to sacrifice your love life to be successful.
4. Focus on your minimums, not your maximums (this I learned from Jay Shetty!). This starts with a simple question: what do you need minimally in your life in order to meet your needs outside of your business? All too often, we make the mistake of trying to have it all instead of focusing on what we need at a minimum.
5. Don’t shy away from tough conversations. Aside from you, no one knows your business as intimately as your team. It can be tempting to downplay the impact of your emotions on your responsibilities and interactions in the workplace. However, it’s important to trust your team enough to tell them the truth. This doesn’t mean you have to tell them any intimate details about your life, but it does mean being more honest when answering the question “How are you?”
We are living during challenging times where resilience is critical. How do you define resilience?
To me, resilience is less about bouncing back from difficult times and more so the motivation to take control over your perspective on any obstacles you may be facing. It’s the capacity to face problems with a new awareness, allowing ourselves to adapt to change as our future shifts toward different complexities and uncertainties. I think the key to resilience is knowing the difference between perfectionism, which is often paralyzing, and high standards, which are more motivating. In my experience, people who focus on perfection are less resilient than those who strive for excellence in a healthy way.
What experiences have contributed to building your resiliency?
Taking a physics class at UCLA! All joking aside, it taught me that passing is sometimes good enough. We don’t need to excel at everything we do.
Do you tend to keep a positive attitude during difficult situations? What helps you to do so?
I do try to stay optimistic during difficult times, but it requires mindfulness and intentionality. I’ve found that meditation helps keep me grounded whenever I’m feeling overwhelmed. I especially like to follow walking-based meditations or take a few moments to recite mantras in order to let go of any anxious thoughts. This allows me to actively change my mindset and reframe challenges as opportunities.
Why does a leader’s positive attitude have a positive impact both on their clients and their team?
As a leader, you are the one who sets the tone for the interactions within your business, and your energy can easily cause a chain reaction. If you are injecting optimism into your business, your people will naturally be more engaged and motivated. This will lead to a ripple effect on your clients, who will be able to feel the passion and enthusiasm of you and your team. And, as therapists, being optimistic is critical for our clients. We need to show them what life looks like once you’ve overcome your struggles. We become a beacon of hope for them to work on themselves.
What inspirational quote motivates you to pursue greatness?
I really resonate with this quote from Tony Robbins: “Success is doing what you want to do, when you want, where you want, with whom you want, as much as you want.” I feel very strongly about being the architect of my own life, and this is what led me to start my own business in the first place.
This article first appeared in Authority Magazine on Medium and is edited for length and reposted here with permission.
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