You know the feeling all too well. It’s a great day. You land that client, close that deal and get a verbal green light on the funding you’ve been waiting on. You round up your business partners and your spouse and you meet up for dinner to celebrate. “Sky’s the limit!” You put it on the AmEx thinking that the money will be in the bank by the time you get your next monthly statement.
You look down at your BlackBerry during dessert, and read, “We rethought the parameters of the deal, and it’s just not going to work for us.”
In just eight hours you have gone from feeling flush to concluding that the world has just ended.
I live on this roller coaster, especially now that I’m in the media business. My ups and downs seem more severe than when I ran a “traditional” company. It feels highly personal when I get a rejection. One day a big radio syndicator says how much they love me and can’t wait to give me a full-time weekday slot but… their roster is full and they will let me know when (and if) an opening occurs.
Last year at this time, I shot two episodes of a new television show (as the host!) for a major prime-time network. I felt like I was at the top of my game. Months have rolled by. I have no control over whether or not that show will air.
Last year I gave a speech at the SUCCESS Symposium and shared my big embarrassing goal to become as big as Rush Limbaugh (audience size, not waist size), yet here I am continuing to have to prove myself daily, show by show.
If you are an entrepreneur like me, these ups and downs are what you signed up for, and if you don’t learn to ride the wave, the wave will crush you. The truth is that the tipping point is coming in your business. That much I know is true. What I don’t know is whether or not you’ll stick around to enjoy it.
There will always be setbacks, so you must learn how to deal with them. I follow a three-step program:
1. I allow myself 24 hours to be a complete mess. I gripe. I cry. I feel insecure. I make the party that rejected me entirely in the wrong (losers!). I punch the wall. I exercise. Then, it’s out of my system and it’s over.
2. The next morning—time to move on. I remind myself of all the amazing things that I have accomplished (“Wake up; you do have a daily radio show broadcast in 40 cities, a book deal with Crown, a monthly column in SUCCESS magazine, a pilot with a major network, a great partnership with Borders, a great life with the freedom to pursue your dream in this exact moment”) and of the setbacks I found a way to overcome.
3. Finally, I create a reason in my mind for why this rejection is the best thing that could happen for my business and brand. How did it actually strengthen me?
To build a muscle, you have to tear it down. An entrepreneur is training for success every day. Going from billionaire to bankrupt on a regular basis is the only way to get there. Trust me. It might not feel like you are on the right path, but it’s the only path there is. Ride the wave. You’ll be glad you did.