Small Business Resilience: 5 Ways To Stay Motivated During Dark Times

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Like bodies, businesses have good days and hard(er) days.

When things aren’t going your way, it’s tough to even find the motivation to climb out of bed in the morning. I get that. However, as a small business owner, you may be carrying a lot of responsibility. Staying in bed isn’t always an option (unless you run your business from your bed, as I have).

Today, we’re going to focus on a few things you can do to stay motivated. Let’s take a look:

Acknowledge Issues And Seek Support If Necessary

Yep, we are starting with the hard stuff first. Let’s acknowledge it, name it and handle it. Come on, take my hand, deep breath, we’ll do this together.

Ok, here we go: if you are dreading getting up in the morning, if you are struggling and hurting, I’d like you to talk to someone about it. I believe you shouldn’t have to live like this.

It can be scary to open the bills, to look at the reality after the big plans didn’t quiiiite work out. But I don’t believe it means you are a failure or anything mean that your inner perfectionist is screaming at you.

In fact, trying, testing, refining and re-launching is part of entrepreneurship. But that doesn’t mean you won’t need support while going through it.

One of the biggest challenges can be realising that we are struggling. Depression and low mood can play a dangerous trick, convincing us that our dark outlook is ‘normal’ for us, and that there’s no alternative.

Sometimes, we don’t necessarily understand that we’ve fallen on dark times. “Sometimes it takes something really horrible to wake you up,” says Cliffside Malibu CEO Richard Tate. That quote comes directly from an article about depression, but the same statement can be attributed to many different issues. But we don’t want to wait for something serious to happen before we get help!

If you are feeling twinges of recognition reading this, if you are feeling like your business or you are a ‘failure’ or you want to stop but can’t see how, maybe that can be your wake up call and you can reach out for help.

The most important thing is that you recognise something is wrong. Once you’re in that position, you can seek support to ease your suffering and turn things around.


Meditate In The Morning

If getting out of bed is a challenge, we can make your morning routine a beautiful, refuelling ritual that sets you up for the day.

But that can be a big process, so to start, may I suggest meditation?

If you’re particularly struggling with this, you might need a little helping hand. There are lots meditation techniques out there that will clear your mind and set you up for the day ahead. It might be just what you need to give you that dose of meditation.


Practice Mindfulness

If you are working from home, or working independently, it’s easy to talk to yourself lots. That’s no problem – I talk to myself all the time, we all have internal dialogue to some degree. But when we are being unkind to ourselves, it’s harder to notice and shift it if we are alone.

I journal lots when I am spending time working alone, it helps me to recognise how I’m speaking to myself and allows me to reflect on how I’m speaking to myself and shift it when necessary.

You’re living in the here and now, and tapping into the present moment mindset can be very motivating. Instead of wondering “what if?” or lamenting what you didn’t get done yesterday, it can be liberating to see each morning as a new opportunity. Instead, treat today as a brand-new day, and make sure you make positive steps from this moment forward.

“Waking up this morning, I smile. Twenty-four brand new hours are before me. I vow to live fully in each moment and to look at all beings with eyes of compassion.”

? Thich Nhat Hanh


Use Those Dark Times As A Motivational Factor

The best things in our lives can arise from the fire of what we had most treasured.

We can build businesses and beautiful lives out of the ashes of our pain and struggles – that’s what I teach in The Phoenix Flight School.

Sometimes, it’s times of despair that motivate us the most. In this interview with Forbes, Hampton Creek CEO Josh Tetrick says that “life is very fragile.” This arises from his experience of living with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. He uses it to make himself more appreciative of “life’s fragility”.

I am not saying that it’s easy to do things with illness, nor that illness is a “gift” or a “life lesson” or anything you “manifested” – I don’t believe any of those things.

I do believe that once illness is here, unasked for, unwanted, uninvited, but here all the same, it’s up to us what we do with it. I choose to use my “brokenness” to break boundaries.

The day of diagnosis, the day of the accident, the trauma, the loss of your loved one, can feel like the end of your world as you know it—almost as though wildfire roared through the bones of your life & burnt up everything it found in its path.

But fire doesn’t always mean permanent destruction or loss.

Fire’s heat can temper & refine us, so that we emerge shining & more beautiful than we ever thought possible.

So let me ask you . . .

What if you could see your diagnosis, your difficulty as an opportunity?

And what if you could rise up from the ashes & blaze a fiery, fabulous trail?

Can you do the same in your situation?


Surround Yourself With Positivity

Ultimately, you need support during the dark times. You won’t be motivated all the time, and others can help you along the bumpy road.

This includes your colleagues – don’t be afraid to include them!

Also, seek support from your family and closest friends. Spend time with them, and reach out if you’re struggling.

There’s always support available for you, even if you feel lonely sometimes.
It isn’t easy, but you CAN stay motivated and achieve business success during the dark times. I believe in you.


What are your top tips for staying motivated during dark times? Let me know in the comments.

P.S You may also like creating a resilient small business, how I run two international businesses while living with chronic illness,  limits to liberation: building resilience in business