Self-respecting entrepreneurs are the backbone of this country. They know who they are, what they're doing, and where they're going. But entrepreneurs are human, too.
For almost 5 years, I've had my nose to the ground working a ton of hours to grow this company. Everyone told me that I had to take care of myself in order to keep myself from hitting a wall. I finally gave in and set up 2014 as my year of self-care. Therapy, acupuncture, yoga, along with a self-discovery retreat. All of this happening at once. Go big or go home, right? It's what we entrepreneurs do.
Over the course of a few days recently, I ended up focusing on all the times my team complained about each other, their awful ride on the metro, dealing with traffic, frustrations with spouses, and the ridiculous requests of our clients. Then my developer launched our new website well before it was finished. Camel, meet straw. I couldn't take it anymore. I flipped out. Then I sat on my couch in silence, breathing deep with tears in my eyes. I wanted to close down my company, and run away.
As soon as it happened, I knew it shouldn't have. I had been working too hard for too long without any time to breathe. A meltdown was bound to happen, and boy, did it. I felt crazy, out of line, and nothing like the great boss my team had come to know. The old saying "Your slip is showing" popped into my head.
No self-respecting woman would allow you to see her undergarments. Ever.
Don't let this happen to you. Here are 4 ways to keep your slip from showing.
1. Join The Fight Club of Entrepreneurship
The first rule of the entrepreneur's psychological meltdown is don't talk about the psychological meltdown. It never happened, nor will it ever happen. Your employees and clients never need to know, so follow the next few steps to keep their great impression of you untarnished.
2. Secure a Sponsor
Like having a sponsor in AA talk you out of drinking, you have to have someone you can call when you're weak and need a talking to. Find someone you can call as soon as you feel like you're losing it. It can't be your spouse, your best friend, your mom, or one of your coworkers. Choose another entrepreneur, preferably someone who has been in business longer than you. They will understand what you're going through better than anyone else. Put them at the top of your favorites in your phone and if you're about to lose it, call them. If they know you're only going to call in case of emergency, they'll be ready for you.
3. Do a Brain Dump
Holding all of your anxiety inside can make you feel like you're going to explode. Go to the cute little coffee shop around the corner with your notebook and a pen (leave your laptop and smartphone at the office) and write it out. Anything that comes to mind, even if your handwriting sucks. It's not for anyone to read, it's for you to get out. I keep a 5 year journal with 6 lines for each day. It helps me to read back through what I wrote a year or two ago to see how far I've come and how much those little things don't bother me anymore.
4. Stop Dreaming of Quitting
You're not a quitter. You're an entrepreneur. You have one of the hardest jobs on the planet because you have to not only take care of yourself, but your employees and their livelihoods. Toast yourself with the bottle of booze you keep hidden under your desk (you Don Draper, you) and realize that you're doing a damn good job under all that stress. If it weren't for you, America's economy would suck way worse than it does. Now, go get that massage you've been promising yourself.
Although you're allowed to be transparent, tuck your slip back in. Modesty will get you everywhere.