5 Steps to Take When You Feel Like Your Business is Going to KILL You

The Tibetan Book of the Dead teaches us to start with the end. And the end for all of us is ultimately death.

90% of new businesses fail.

So for most of us trying to start new businesses, this process, the process of starting something new and being a true entrepreneur, is a death practice.  There are many times when it feels like it's going to kill us.

For many of you in this process, you know what I mean!

To me, being an entrepreneur is not about becoming a success (or at least what we traditionally define as a success — I wrote about this some here). It’s about you, as an individual, learning the very hard lessons you have to learn in your life and having your business teach you along the way. Ultimately teaching you who and what you want to be in the world.

The parallel to intimate personal relationships is quite similar. If you’re in a relationship to make you happy, to “complete” yourself and to live happily ever after, you’re in big trouble.

If you’re starting a business to make a lot of money and be a “success”, you’re in an equal amount of trouble.

Now, you may get there, and you may get to a place of being very happy in your relationship, but if that’s the reason you’re here…it’s going to be a very long journey.

So let me offer a bit of a perspective change — to me, one of the purposes of the entrepreneurial journey (and there are many) is to work through your own personal demons and come out on the other side with more freedom.

But along the way we feel like it's going to kill us, because, truth be told, it IS going to kill you.

It's going to kill that part of you that isn't you!

For me personally, I consistently battle with a deep fear of loss and the thought that everything is going to completely fall apart.

Why?

Because I lost my mother at age twelve after her 6+ year battle with cancer. So deep in me is a fear that everything is going to fall apart because at one point, it did.

Add to that the fact that I started and deeply invested in a company in my mid-30s and near lost everything I had through that process, so that fear pattern holds some credence for me deep in my being.

There’s a pattern and an imprint of loss resides deep in my being, so when the pressure is up and I’m reverting to my old ways, I’m paralyzed by the constant fear of loss.

Death is the great unknown. No one knows what lies beyond. And most of the time we don’t talk about it, we avoid it. But it’s also a great letting go and with that letting go of this earthly life, we let go into great expanse and freedom. And by letting those parts of us that no longer serve us die, we get to more greatly experience that expanse and freedom.

When we start a new business, we’re moving into a very great unknown. We’re making the choice to move into a state of constant change as well as an abyss. As we move into that abyss, many of our deep fears and patterns will come up and we’ll react much as we did to these initial fears in our early lives.

If we are not aware of those patterns and tendencies, we’ll fall back into our known ways of behaving and we’ll likely get the same result we’ve been getting our whole lives.

But if we are able to recognize the patterns that are coming up, feel into them, know how they would normally push us and then NOT react but acknowledge the place that those feelings are coming from, then we can move through them, not only in the direction we need to move, but into the direction of internal and external freedom.

We can let them die, and become more alive.

So next time you feel like your business is going to kill you, follow these steps:

    1. Pause. (This may be the hardest part, because quite often you’re feeling like you must go, go, go…move, move, move. But stop, you can move after these steps.)
    2. Feel the very core feeling of what you’re feeling. (You may need help with this. Mentors and support is key so reach out to those people who can help you and remind you to do this AND can help you identify core feelings. Someone who you know and trust.)
    3. As much as possible, move deeply into that feeling —  how do you feel it physically? Is it in a certain part of your body? If so, exaggerate and move that part of your body. Really feel it in your whole being and allow for the full expression of the feeling in you.
    4. Release. Now let it go. It’s like the feeling of releasing a tightly clutched fist or even an orgasm. Let go of the feeling completely and let go into the pleasure of release.
    5. When the physical and emotion piece is all done - write, journal or share it out loud vocally with your support system. It’s important to eventually put the experience into words so you can know it more deeply in your being and are able to express your blocks, your patterns and move your way through the morass. It doesn’t have to be Shakespeare, just get it down. (But please don’t worry about explaining it while you’re in the feeling stage, Steps 1–4. That will be counter-productive. Articulate your experience AFTER the experience is over.)

I truly believe that the more we practice facing our internal demons via our entrepreneurial adventures, the more we face death and the unknown, the more we’ll be free in our lives and eventually, fearless when it comes time to let go of this world, into the great unknown.

 

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