A few weeks (months? years? decades?) ago, the AntiRat sent me this post from Tim Ferriss (whom I’ve called a son of a bitch elsewhere on my blog) about the manic cycles of entrepreneurism. 

Regardless of whether or not you believe you will ride an emotional rollercoaster running a business, you will. You have two fundamental choices: you can hold on and scream, or you can wave your hands in the air and have some fun.

At the time, I think I was in the Stage 2 cycle of Informed Pessimism.  This is when feelings of fear, nervousness and frustration creep in. However, being committed to the cause, I doggedly kept putting one foot in front of another.  This is the best time to take advantage of the cooler head that comes with pessimism and forming long-term strategies is a great idea in this stage.

After attending All Star Camp, my emotional and physical energy is, quite honestly, at an all-time low. My creativity is tapped out and I feel a sudden urge to turn my phone off and re-read all the Jane Austen Mystery Novels.  I’ve moved into Stage 3, Crisis of Meaning, the symptoms of which are:

You’re past scared. You feel despair. It’s as if you’re standing on the edge of a cliff ready to jump, and you begin to think “Today the rollercoaster’s going off the bottom of the track for the very first time.” You feel helpless and you’re both terrified and frozen.

I’ve heard that people who run marathons experience a period of blues after they’ve achieved their goal. Sometimes after a big event (like a wedding or graduation), there’s an emotional let down. Even Chalene Johnson has a story of emotionally crashing after she filmed her first Beachbody videos. Her advice: Celebrate your triumph before setting new goals.

Tim advises:

* Cleaning your filing cabinet drawers – seriously. Doing a few little things can often perk people up.

* Reaching out to your support groups like friends, family, your church, groups like the Entrepreneurs Organization etc. to ask them for help, advice or to just lend an ear.

* Trying to set your TOP 5 daily and only work on the most important items each day.
* Taking breaks and going for walks, getting exercise, getting outdoors.
* Writing lists – lists about what you are strong at, lists about what you love – make lists that, when you read them, will help rebuild your confidence.

* Realizing that many others have been in this exact same place and usually turn the corner, just like you will.
* Remembering “The Little Engine That Could” – I think I can, I think I can – it can take time, but things will rebound.

So yeah. That’s what I’ll be doing. I’ll be focusing on the small, more mundane tasks, celebrating the little accomplishments and refilling my creativity tank. The take away message from this post that I want to leave you with is this:

Some people have marveled at what seems like endless energy on my part. It’s not endless. It ebbs and flows. It’s a choice that I make — Chalene says you decide to have big energy. I was so tired this week I could have just cried. I was tempted to sub every single one of my classes out this week and there’s nothing I love more than teaching. If I sometimes make it look like it’s not a struggle for me, that’s not intentional. It is often a struggle that I don’t acknowledge all the time because acknowledging the struggle just makes it that much harder, if you know what I mean. 

Nothing worth doing comes without a fight on your part. Nothing worth doing comes easily. Somewhere along the way I think we get fed a load of BS that tells us that people excel because of some natural, magical gift and not because of hard work and relentless pursuit of a goal. So if you’re going through a stage right now where you’re not exactly brimming with self-confidence and energy, that’s okay. Do more mellow tasks until you recover your enthusiasm. But it’s not an excuse to give up.