If you read a lot of articles on entrepreneurship and leadership, you likely see this question all the time. The question that’s designed to make YOU question whether or not:
- You have what it takes
- You’re in the right business
- You’re worthy of chasing down this dream of yours
- Your dream is even worth chasing down.
Here’s the question: Do you wake up excited about your business?
If this question triggers your inner critic and self-doubt, you’re not alone. But I’d like to challenge all the “experts” who sit behind their laptops all day (when they’re not working on a new Medium post, biking local trails, or drinking craft beer); those who encourage the rest of us to mistakenly believe that if we aren’t 100% excited, 100% of the time, we’re doing the wrong thing or we’re the wrong ones to do it.
Full disclosure: I’m not a traditional optimist.
The Reality Is…You’re Normal
Any realistic, transparent business owner will tell you that some days are the bees knees and they couldn’t imagine doing anything else. But they’ll also tell you that some days feel like nightmares that end with them lying in bed at night, eyes wide open, stomach in knots, with thoughts of calling it quits.
That’s normal. No matter what you’re doing – whether you’re living your dream and doing exactly what you were made to do or not – you’re going to have good days and bad days. When a day, week, or month kicks your a**, it’s normal to wake up feeling less than thrilled about getting to work. This doesn’t mean you lack passion, talent, or grit (the hottest word in business) – It just means you’re human and you’re in a rough patch.
Ask a Better Question
When you find yourself in the middle of a rough patch and read an article that asks “Do you wake up excited about your business?” it can be anything but inspiring and motivating.
What we really need in these tough times is a different question.
Carter (one of our co-founders) is famous for saying it’s all about the questions we’re asking. Our questions frame our answers. When you’re feeling discouraged, don’t ask yourself the question, “Do I wake up excited about my business?” You already know the answer is, “Not today.” And that’s ok.
Instead, ask yourself, “What can I learn from where I sit right now? What is this part of my journey showing me?” Push it further. Ask yourself, “What needs to change and how can I change it?” And if you don’t know the answer to this, ask yourself, “Why aren’t I excited about my business when I wake up?”
When we ask different questions, we get different answers. And the biggest difference between the question we see plastered across entrepreneurship blogs and the questions above is that the latter encourage learning, growth, and change, while the former encourage stagnation, discouragement, and complacency – the killers of many businesses and business dreams.
So next time you feel like you’re ready to call it quits, don’t buy into the delusion that you’re somehow cut from a different cloth and not qualified or justified in your pursuit – instead, ask better questions and see what you can learn from the bad days and how you can turn it around.