It turns out that we are all the best in the world at feeling like we’re the worst in the world!
We go from having a nice spring in our step and an undeniable air of confidence in our voice, to suddenly becoming accident prone balls of mush who can barely form a coherent sentence.
We have those weeks and months where we are totally on top of our game and kicking life straight in the butt, only to be followed by days, weeks — or even longer, where we feel completely unproductive, unmotivated and constantly question every decision that we’ve ever made in our lives.
If you happen to be a human being with a pulse and / or an iota of entrepreneurial motivation, then there is about 100% chance that you can relate to the above. It happens to everyone!
I like to call the shitty side of that fence “the rabbit hole” because, if you let it, things will quickly escalate from a mere few hours of feeling sorry for yourself into a full on death spiral of lost weeks, a substantial amount of lost revenue and quite possibly a spontaneous, boredom-induced flight to a remote island in Indonesia that will allow you to hide from civilization entirely.
And if that particular rabbit hole sounds a little too specific, it’s because “a friend” just returned from an island so comically remote that cars don’t exist and a police department is completely unnecessary…
(So, about that, if you noticed a slight 1.5 month gap in updates on StartupStud.com, let’s just blame the rabbits, shall we?)
Online Solopreneurs are particularly vulnerable to the dangers of falling into the rabbit hole, because we are largely in charge of keeping ourselves motivated, make our own schedules and generally don’t have too many people depending on us to get things done in a timely manner.
If we’ve got a bit of money saved up and at least some steady revenue coming in, the typical life pressures don’t apply in keeping us to task.
I’ve mostly worked for myself (and by myself) for most of the last 18 years and, as a result, have a bit of hard-learned experience in falling in and out of confident productivity on a regular basis.
It’s also one of my favorite questions to ask other online entrepreneurs, to learn how other people deal with the same issues that we all face. Of course, the second favorite question is: what’s the best story that happened when they fell into their hole!
Psychedelics and gambling sprees, anyone?
Below are some tricks that work well in keeping everyone on track and kicking the inevitable self-doubt that can kick you off track!
(If you have some of your own recommendations, I’d love to hear them in the comments or by e-mail at JC@StartupStud.com.)
7 Ways To Avoid (or dig your way out of) Rabbit Holes:
- Try and keep up some sort of a consistent schedule (as that applies) that keeps you writing, designing, learning, building, interacting, marketing or whatever it is that you need to do on a regular basis.
- Constantly feed your creativity by reading relevant industry books, listening to podcasts by thought leaders in your field and by spending time with others who are in a similar type of business.
- Avoid drugs, alcohol and distracting relationships that only serve to numb you from the realization that you’re not actually getting anything productive done or reaching your professional targets.
- Identify the triggers that usually throw you off of your game and find ways to mitigate them from your day-to-day.
- Schedule your morning routine to be an itemized list of step-by-step tasks that will position your attention in the right direction. When I’m comfortably out of the rabbit hole, my morning list literally starts with Item # 1: Wake Up. Item # 2: Walk Downstairs. Item # 3: Let Dogs Out To Pee. I don’t even touch a phone or a computer of any kind until about Item # 15, because it will only take one distracting glance at the wrong e-mail, news item or Facebook post to suddenly feed hours to the bunnies.
- You will have days where you’re not feeling it. I’ll repeat that, you WILL have days where you’re not feeling it. These are the times when the rabbit hole is trying to grab your leg and take you scuba diving in the Indian Ocean (ehh….or so I hear). Take a deep breath, grab a book and read your way back into the zone. Or find an industry magazine and read it cover-to-cover. Or a 5 minute movie about someone who has overcome the odds. Anything. Do what works for you, but commit to taking the time to save yourself from losing your stride.
- Keep a “success buddy” who has the stones to call you out on bullshit excuses and can see through your own unnecessary justifications for not getting something done.
As a good friend once said, “some days you have it, some days you don’t, either way the show must go on.” – JC