Although I do prefer to focus on the positive in my blog, I decided to devote this week’s article to one of the problem areas that new (and established) entrepreneurs may face.
Beware of ‘energy vampires’ – people who tell you things can’t be done or that you are not capable of doing something. Starting your own business is a big, courageous step to take and you may find that some people around you start projecting their own fears onto you and your venture, causing you to doubt yourself. They can show you blatant negativity, for example by saying: “You are crazy; one of my friends started their own business last year and barely made enough to live on. They had to take a part-time job just to pay the rent!”.
On the other hand ‘energy vampires’ can be very subtle:
When Robert and his business partner Karl moved their IT company into a larger office in their second year of business, they panicked and hired an administrative assistant because they thought they wouldn’t create the right impression without one. They suddenly had lovely new rooms, ringing telephones and postal deliveries to deal with and felt this warranted a third person to deal with the expansion. All went well for the first couple of weeks. Then, things started to change.
This particular P.A. would wrinkle her nose up at any suggestion Robert made that was out of the ordinary. She often gave her own opinion before tackling the task at hand and the opinion was usually that his suggestion wasn’t a good idea in her view. Imagine how destructive that can be to your motivation on a daily basis. Not to mention frustrating. Needless to say Robert and his assistant soon parted company. Robert and Karl now have a sign in their office that reads: “The one who says it can’t be done should not interrupt the person doing it”.
Robert told me: “We hired an assistant because people told us it was the right thing to do. We didn’t stop to think if we really needed one. We were feeding our ego. The fact that we hadn’t thought this through led to us attracting the wrong kind of candidate. It was a bad match for us and it poisoned the whole atmosphere for a while.”
So make sure you surround yourself with positive people. Seek out mentors and supporters who are happy and content with their lives. You will also find that ‘energy vampires’ or ‘toxic people’ disappear from your life anyway, the more you strike out affirmatively and confidently. Take decisions slowly and measure them against your personal beliefs and mission.
Remember: You don’t need anyone’s approval for your business venture, but your own.
And finally: Protect yourself from negativity in general. Watching the news on TV last thing at night or reading the newspaper in bed will have a negative impact on how you sleep. Instead, keep a notebook by your bed and write down what you are grateful for each day before you shut your eyes. Have a book of inspirational quotes handy or start compiling your own. Join a social network like “Twitter” and surround yourself with positive people who send inspiring and supportive quotations and messages on a daily, even hourly basis. Make sure your screensaver or wallpaper carries a positive image or message you can focus on throughout the day.
Good luck and leave the vampires to Hollywood…