Bridge Building

Recently I was in a meeting with a group of entrepreneurs. One of them has been struggling to get traction with his entrepreneurial venture. His stress level was quite high and he indicated that he was under severe financial pressure. And to cap it off, his spouse was suffering with some anxiety issues that rendered her unable to care for their children at times. This all was adding up to a perfect storm of events that was creating considerable negative energy in his life.

This individual wants his entrepreneurial idea to work in the worst way. Obviously that is adding to the pressure. But he must clear up the various issues he’s dealing with in order to achieve the success that he desires. I suggested that he initially do only three things. First he needs to put his idea on the shelf for the time being – simply let it go. This doesn’t mean that he abandons it permanently but simply takes a breather with it. Second, I told him he needs to get a job so that he can provide for his family and relieve the financial pressure he is experiencing. I recommended that he live as frugally as possible and try and save some money that can be utilized when he resumes the pursuit of his entrepreneurial venture. Finally, I advised him to make a consistent practice of meditation – finding a quiet time each day to clear his mind and work on deep breathing. The purpose here is for him to become centered and release his negative energy.

Another entrepreneurial friend had been trying for quite some time to raise money for her venture and was having no success. She was extremely frustrated and was very emotionally invested in her idea. I had been following her situation for quite some time and suggested that she move on and do something else. She went home and took everything related to the idea; put those items in a clear plastic tub and stashed them in her attic. She had completely released her idea at that point. Within days she received a call from another investor asking her to reconsider. She revived her idea at that point by pivoting and re-tooling her concept. Today she is well on her way to raising the necessary funds for her revamped business concept.

I liken the steps I recommended to my friends as bridge building. When we are pursuing success it doesn’t just happen instantly. There often are obstacles that we must face, some of which can create significant adversity. Sometimes our instinct is to continue “fighting the fight.” By trying to muscle through, we constrict our flow of positive energy and end up wallowing in our circumstances. And when this happens we remain stuck on the wrong side of the river.

To cross the river we must build a bridge. That requires that we take the necessary steps to restore positive energy and an optimistic outlook. One of the hardest things for an entrepreneur to do is to let go of his or her idea – even if it’s just momentary. But we know that when we continue to try and hammer, hammer and hammer – we’re not actually building the bridge. Instead we’re just stuck in the mud.

The entrepreneurial journey will periodically require the building of bridges to reach our success. To build the bridge we need to pause for a moment and identify forward-moving actions that will eventually ensure that we succeed.

This blog is being written in tandem with my book, “An Entrepreneur’s Words to Live By,” available on Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle (My Book), as well as being available in all of the other major eBook formats.

Bridge Building

Sleepless in Seattle

I’m going to briefly describe a scenario to see if it sounds at all familiar to you. Here goes. Your day was particularly stressful and things didn’t go the way you wanted. A fairly major and troublesome issue is unresolved and needs fixing immediately. You go to bed with the weight of your day still front and center. While you toss and turn your mind churns with thoughts from the day. Twenty minutes go by. You stare at the ceiling. Fifty minutes have passed and you might have faded in and out but you don’t know for sure. At some point during the night you awaken, realizing your dreams are becoming beyond weird. Then that troublesome issue starts its nocturnal carousing. I have a sneaking suspicion that a lot of heads are nodding right now.

We all have obviously experienced what I described above. There are a number of emotions driving this response including anxiety, fear, frustration, anger and guilt. Isn’t it interesting that it’s usually the negative stuff that keeps us awake at night? Think about it. We generally don’t stay awake because we are feeling euphoria, happiness, joy, peace or gratitude. When we’re “Sleepless in Seattle” it’s a sure bet that we won’t get a good night’s sleep and wake up refreshed the next morning. So what to do?

I have self-developed a technique that works very well for me and perhaps it will be helpful for you as well. I call it the three Rs – Relax, Release and Replace. Relax may sound trite, but it’s absolutely necessary. OK, you say, how am I supposed to relax when I’m all balled up inside? Start with a bedtime routine. Try and go to bed at the same time every night. Watch what you eat and drink within two or three hours of going to bed. Practice meditating to clear your mind. When you go to bed, be very aware of your breathing. See that it becomes slow, measured and deep.

Now that you are in somewhat of a relaxed state it’s time to Release. Recently I woke up in the middle of the night as I usually do to take a pill and make the journey to the bathroom. Normally I go right back to sleep, but this particular night my mind went into overdrive. The issue stemmed from a nasty surprise in one of my businesses that could have proven to be very expensive. In the past I might have allowed my thoughts to spin out of control and ultimately begin envisioning the worst possible scenarios. But this time I said to myself, “Lee, you are not going to solve this tonight. It will still be there in the morning and you will need a fresh perspective which you won’t have if you stay awake for the next four hours.” Then I smiled and went back to sleep because I knew this to be the truth.

Finally it’s time for the last step . . . Replace. Once you’ve released the thoughts that are keeping you awake, replace them with positive thoughts. One of my favorite places in the whole world is on the side of a fairly steep hill on a Caribbean island overlooking the ocean with a clear blue sky and the sun’s light flooding every inch of the experience. It’s not hard for me to bring this vision into my consciousness which makes me feel very warm and safe. Falling asleep at that point is a breeze.

Lying awake and churning a problem – large or small – generally accomplishes nothing. Creative solutions are inspired by healthy sleep and a clear head. Consistently using the Three Rs technique puts us on a successful path toward accomplishing this.

This blog is being written in tandem with my book, “An Entrepreneur’s Words to Live By,” available on Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle (My Book), as well as being available in all of the other major eBook formats.

sleepless