Being an entrepreneur is like no other job. It’s not 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Some days it’s 9 a.m. to 5 a.m. I’ve watched the smartest, most energetic people crumble from the stress. And I’ve watched average people, like you and I, master chaos. I’d like to share with you how I learned to keep my sanity.
I begin every single day in meditation. Before you snicker, hear me out.
Meditation is the practice of controlling your mind. If you’re like most entrepreneurs, you wake up thinking about all of the things you must get done in the next 16 hours. This will paralyze you.
I begin each morning in gratitude. I take a deep breath and exhale the words, “Thank you for this moment.” I can be grateful for the 5 seconds I have. I repeat this until I run out of things to list. It’s hard to be worried when you’re in a state of gratitude.
Next, I run through the list of things I want to see in my day. Maybe I’m going to pitch a new business idea. Perhaps I have to go to an investor meeting. I de-stress by picturing myself walking into each meeting relaxed, focused and ready to win. I see the outcome as I wish it to appear.
As I go through my morning routine of stretch, exercise and a nutritious meal, I review my gratitude list and goals. Then, I pull out my journal and jot down any important thoughts, a list of things I would like to accomplish, and my daily goals. This helps cement my day.
Seeing The Opportunity
As I move through my day, I unequivocally encounter turbulence. I know I can’t avoid negative people or harsh situations, but I can choose to find lessons in the madness. Maybe a rude waiter is a chance for me to have empathy. Perhaps a delay at the airport is a chance for me to read or catch up with an old friend. We all know a downturn in the economy is an opportunity to recruit talent.
Don’t Let Go of the Wheel
As an entrepreneur, it’s critical that you maintain your focus. If you’re allowing your mind to be hijacked with worry or daily stresses, you won’t be at your best. This is easier said than done. It takes time to retrain your brain to act and not react. This is why meditation is so powerful. When you want to react to a negative situation, simply take a deep breath and exhale, “Thank you for this moment.”
Aim to find the lesson. You can’t control your day, but you can always control your attitude.
Reprinted by permission.
Image Credit: CC by Ka Wai Sin
Lili Balfour is the founder and CEO of the SoMa-based financial advisory firm, Atelier Advisors, creator and host of Finance for Entrepreneurs, author of Master the Finance Game, and host of the Finance for Entrepreneurs broadcast on Spreecast.
After spending fifteen years in investment management and investment banking, she decided to develop a firm to cater to the specific needs of early-stage companies. At Atelier Advisors, Lili advises leading brands across industries: from tech to consumer goods. In the past, she has advised over 100 brands, including:
Bag, Borrow, or Steal, Visual IQ, Alpha Theory, Derivix, Practice Fusion, Peeled Snacks, Sustainable Minds, Firescope, Chix 6, Duchess Marden, Erin Fetherston, Eckart Tolle, and Stuart Skorman (founder of Reel.com, Elephant Pharmacy, Hungry Minds, and Clerk Dogs (sold to Netflix)).
While advising companies at Atelier Advisors, she observed a common theme – -brilliant founders avoided finance. She began writing about entrepreneurial finance to solve this problem.
As a native of Silicon Valley and a first generation Mexican American, Lili understands the importance of imparting wisdom learned in Silicon Valley to the rest of the world. Her goal is to teach the entire planet about entrepreneurial finance.