Self-doubt and doubt about your business is only natural. Everyone has negative thoughts, even the most successful businessmen, and sometimes a lack of visible progress can lead to these thoughts becoming overwhelming. At this point, further thoughts enter your head. You become less excited about the day-to-day routine, you lack motivation, you feel like you have more interesting things to do, you procrastinate a lot, and lastly, you attempt to find something else to pursue in your career as you believe it will help you achieve your goals faster.

If you are beginning to have these thoughts for the first time you must combat them! Simply giving-up is the biggest killer in small businesses, which is bizarre because you would think that running out of money or discovering you don’t have a market fit would be the biggest problems. If you do not attempt to combat and fight against these negative thoughts, you risk giving up your business before the time is right! Just remember, everyone in every walk of life has negative thoughts, but sometimes it’s easiest to walk away when you’re an entrepreneur…

So here are some practical and mental tips to combat negative thoughts. After all, many of the most successful businessmen and women in the world are very good at creating a positive aura – so it’s time for you to create one too!

1. Draw out your roadmap

More often than not, negative thoughts come out of the perception that you are not reaching your goal at all. Building a business is a long process, and it’s easy to lose sight of this when you are so focused on the goal that led you to start the business in the first place. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and your business won’t be built in a day either!

The best way to make sure you don’t fall into this trap is to draw out a roadmap and identify goals you have to achieve. Think of them as stepping stones on your way to where you want to be. Then singularly think about achieving the next goal, which should be something that is realistically achievable in less than a month.

This means you will find yourself celebrating something as mundane as setting up your first advert, or getting on board your tenth client. Looking towards steps that are visible in the near future will help you stay in a positive mindset and avoid thinking: “I may have got my tenth customer, but I will only be happy when I have 100…” Full marks for ambition there, no marks for keeping mentally grounded!

Tick off your milestones as you achieve them and when you are feeling a little down, go back and look at the progress you have made. It may make you feel a whole lot better about the state of the business.

2.Perform kind acts every day

It often takes doing something that makes you feel good to get you out of a slump, and this is exactly the same with business. Creating a positive mental environment will create the positive energy you need to stop your own negative thoughts, and there are many things you can do to get this up and running.

For a start, you can express gratitude to those around you. Make sure you tell those who have helped you how important they have been, and make sure you are grateful for the support your loved ones have given you during your journey. You’ll find their positive reactions will also give you the impetus to march on with a positive mindset. Another great way is to give your own help and expertise to others. Sharing your skills is a great way to make others feel your good, and give you an inner feeling of self-worth. These are things that can be done every day, and will certainly help you become more positive.

If you have a team, this is vitally important as well. The office environment should always be positive, and it’s so important to not let your employees see that you may be having negative thoughts – or they will become at risk too. Helping them out with something or even going out and buying them an office treat is a great way to help this.

3.Don’t ignore your feelings

Suppressing negativity is perhaps the worst thing you can do. It’s so important you listen to what your feelings are telling you and take some action to stop them. Ignoring them is not combatting them head-on, it’s simply brushing them under the carpet.

Action can be defined in a number of ways, but your action should reflect your own personality. Some find it easier to talk to friends about their feelings, some just need some clear space to think things through. If you find your having a bad day, try and stop and immediately do something about it. Go for a walk to clear your head, or call a loved one to just talk something through. This may seem like a distraction which may push you behind schedule, but it’s so important that this is combatted immediately otherwise the tasks you are performing will probably not be done to the same quality.

If you feel these negative thoughts are appearing more than you would like, sometimes it’s best to speak to someone who understands what it is like to run a business and has extensive experience in helping people just like you.

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