Entrepreneurship and the ‘Syndromes’
Entrepreneurs have all the ‘Syndromes’
Entrepreneurship is a wild ride full of high highs and low lows. I have experienced these various ‘syndromes’ (below) at one point or another in my entrepreneurial journey. And it wasn’t fun. In fact, it was downright stressful. But through a lot of patience and tears, I persevered. Here are my experiences and what I did about it.
“Shiny Object Syndrome” or ‘Squirrel syndrome’
I’ll be perfectly honest, I used to have Shiny Object Syndrome so bad that I would lose WHOLE DAYS going down rabbit holes of information. It was as if EVERYTHING sounds like a great product, great advice, and ‘I had to have it,’ was the norm. Basically, we see a shiny object and chase it without thinking it through. This was before I grasped who my Target Audience was and before I knew anything about digital marketing, sales funnels, and social media. Those were the days of taking free webinars, printing out e-courses, and checking out all the ‘popular’ marketers on SoMe because you also have fear of missing out (FOMO- see below). It was ridiculous because I was not managing my time AT ALL and I felt like the biggest scatterbrain. However, I learned a lot and I can now decipher between good and bad content, a great sales funnel and who has something to say versus something to sell.
You can COMPLETELY relate to the following if you’ve experienced, ‘shiny object syndrome:
- You have an ongoing list of business ideas but nothing gets executed.
- You constantly start new goals but never completed them.
- You sign up for a course and another course, drawn by the ‘hype’ of each of them.
- You frequently jump from one goal to the next rather than stick with the original goal.
- You keep registering new domain names but you don’t work on building these websites.
- You have a lot of tools and plugins, but you don’t actually use them.
The best advice I have is to STAY FOCUSED and be mindful of your intentions and goals. This means having a SCHEDULE of how you are going to manage your day/week/month. Write out a schedule and stick to it. Write out short-term and long-term goals. Use it as a guiding principle to get $hit done. Commit to reaching those goals without getting sidetracked. You know the saying, “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” So sleep on that new idea, that new amazing course, and let time and some rest dictate if you should act on the ‘new’ thing or stay the course of your original goal. Another thing I do is ‘talk it out with the music man or friends. Sometimes you can’t see past the shininess or greatness of something until you get another perspective. Communicate your new ideas and see what others think. Get that input.
I love innovation and it IS a good thing. However, you should never lose sight of what’s important for your customers/clients, your business, your brand, and you. If you find that you are falling for shiny objects, it’s time to change your mindset and re-examine your business goals.
“I’m a fake!” “I’m NO GOOD at this!” “What am I EVEN doing in this business?!?”
If you’ve ever said this or thought this then you’ve experienced Imposter Syndrome. We’ve all been there. Imposter Syndrome is the art of making you feel less than you actually are. It’s an internal feeling where you feel you are less competent than others and are terrified that others will see you as a fraud. According to Very Well Mind, “It is the experience of feeling like a phony—you feel as though at any moment you are going to be found out as a fraud—like you don’t belong where you are, and you only got there through dumb luck. It can affect anyone no matter their social status, work background, skill level, or degree of expertise.”
Imposter Syndrome can be crippling if you let it in. I’ve experienced it many times, especially when I waded through the murky Danish waters of employment. All those ‘job rejections’ did a number on my psyche. But what I learned through trial and error was that it helped me to talk about it, acknowledge it and learn how to move past it. I know my strengths and my perspective matter. I’ve learned to be grateful for all my successes and know that things take time. Like anything else, get to the root of the issue, and don’t be afraid to tell your truth. Sometimes being vulnerable and open is the only way to get past it.
Nice Girl Syndrome
Are you too nice for your own good? Are you too eager to please? Do people tend to walk all over you and manipulate you because they know they can? Do clients/customers take advantage of you? Then you qualify as having experienced ‘Nice Girl Syndrome.’ I’ve seen it too many times to count. And I’ve been that girl! You bend over backward for a client but don’t ask to get paid for that extra time because you want them to rehire you, you want that referral but when the project is done and/or you don’t want to make waves. Or you just want to be loved and accepted so you are a nice human to everyone.
Being a nice person doesn’t mean you have to please everyone all the time or be their ‘doormat.’ On a basic level, the underlying issue can be a feeling of ‘not being good enough and therefore having a need to feel ‘loved.’ But, the way I’ve dealt with this is to start small. Be aware of your behavior. Be kind to yourself. Set boundaries with people. If you clearly state from the beginning what you can and CANNOT do, people are more receptive to you. Clearly outline your expectations and boundaries with people & clients. Also, when you hear ‘negative feedback,’ know that it is NOT the end of the world. Take all criticism with a grain of salt and learn from it. If anything, time and experience will be your friend and you will get tougher skin, but you have to do the work to gain the experience. Set those boundaries and be kind but firm because, at the end of the day, you need to eat:)
“I can do it ALL!” Every said that to yourself and ended up crying on the floor and wondering what went wrong. Yeah…I’ve been there and done that. It’s NOT pretty. I did all the things from planning client meetings, writing content, planning and cooking the meals, scheduling date nights, being the family maid, engaging on social media, planning that party, taking him to that dental appointment, and training for that half marathon. It wasn’t until I ended up in ER that I was breathing erratically. Come to find out I was suffering from my very first ‘anxiety attack.’ I was burnt out. That was a rude awakening. Little did I know that thinking that I COULD DO IT ALL meant that I was stretching myself so thin that my body was literally rejecting it. It’s the pressure to do it all. I was stressed, tired, anxiety-ridden, overworked, overwhelmed, and overcommitted.
Superwoman syndrome is when we are constantly striving and extending ourselves to accomplish everything possible in a perfect manner and not putting ourselves as a priority. It’s where women have had to juggle family, life, career, and social activities, and excel at levels to get equal recognition at the workplace, which has caused us to aspire to a level of perfectionism that is not attainable. Basically, if you consider yourself someone who can do it all and are Superwoman, you are heading for a trainwreck because that can’t go on forever. Are you even happy? I was sacrificing my health by putting others’ expectations/wants/needs/judgments before my own needs. My priorities were jumbled and I didn’t see a way out. But what I learned was that there is always a way out. I had to take some serious action to support my health and wellness. One of the major things I did was delegate tasks to others when I knew that someone else can actually do it besides me. I don’t always have to do it. And I took time out for ‘self-care.’ I always thought that my running regime was my self-care. And in some ways, it is a form of taking care of myself but it’s not everything. I’ve taken up yoga, I take walks with my kids and dog, I talk my problems out before I’m ready to explode, and do the things that I really love to do. Also, I started to listen to others. It’s funny how actually ‘listening’ to others to hear them rather than to respond to them changes the perspective. And for the love of all that is holy, I LET GO OF PERFECTIONISM. It’s impossible to be perfect all the time. I’ve learned that being done is better than perfect. Just ask for help and don’t do it all. It will save you so much time and angst.
Lonely Heart or ‘Lonely Entrepreneur’ Syndrome
This is really a thing. It’s even more common in solopreneurs and freelancers who travel or work from home. I can COMPLETELY relate. I work alone and I don’t necessarily interact with anyone unless I have a meeting or networking event and it’s usually online. And I’m ok being home working but it can be isolating. It can be incredibly lonely. The ways you can combat the loneliness factor is by getting a mentor, coach, or even a trusted friend to ask you questions and hold you accountable. Sometimes just hearing that others care is all you need to not feel so alone. Also, get outside sometimes. Take a break, a walk in nature is a great reset, get fresh air, and a change of scenery can do so much good for your well-being. Another thing is to grow your online community. Facebook groups are great for this. Sometimes it just takes a group of like-minded people to connect with to feel less lonely. Either way, it is so important to acknowledge that you are feeling this way and that you aren’t alone. You are so valid in your feelings. But do something about it. Seek out others that will help you get through it.
Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) Syndrome
Got FOMO?!? The Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO) refers to the feeling or perception that others are having more fun, living better lives, or experiencing better things than you are. It doesn’t help that social media just makes it worse. I’m guilty of it. I’m on Facebook and Instagram daily. I used the excuse of ‘I’m doing research,’ or ‘since I’m a content creator I have to stay dialed in.’ When really I was just checking out my feed or seeing what everybody else is up to. And FOMO on opportunities? There is nothing worse than thinking that I am missing out on an opportunity that could change my life. That opportunity can be an idea, a networking event, or pretty much anything to grow my business. “If only I had that chance to pitch that idea,’ ‘if only I had met that person at that event,” and so forth. FOMO can be good for your business but bad for your mental health and well-being. My only advice is to stay in your lane and always keep in line with your business strategy. You do you.
In conclusion, entrepreneurship can be a mix of good, bad, and crazy all at the same time. When you feel overwhelmed with any one of these emotions, symptoms, or behaviors, it can be paralyzing. I’ve experienced it and I’m here to say that you can’t BE ALL THE THINGS all the TIME. Even if you put on a ‘happy face’ and are crumbling on the inside or behind closed doors, that’s a clear indication that things may need to change. But, on the other side of that, is a sense of owning your truth when you talk about it and accepting it as part of your journey. It’s not perfect but it’s yours so own it. You can’t guarantee success or avoid failure, you can only keep working on your specific goals and recognize the tradeoffs. I’ve learned to be grateful and confident in my foundation and acknowledged my shortcomings. Lastly, focus on your ‘WHY.’ You started on this road for some reason, some goal, and sometimes we forget this along the way. “Why” did you start your business? Center yourself on a deeper meaning and stay focused. This will get you far.
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