Mindset: Kettle Logic vs Emotion16th March 2023
Should I Persevere or Give Up on My Business?18th May 2023
This mindset helps us understand how our emotions evolve over time when faced with change. The Emotional Cycle of Change concept was explained by two psychologists, Don Kelly and Darrell Connor in “1979 Annual Handbook for Group Facilitators”. We have used an adapted version, published in the 12 Week Year, by Brian Moran and Michael Lennington – I feel it better describes our emotions as business owners! Many of you will recognise this as the emotional rollercoaster that is mentioned everywhere.
The cycle consists of 5 stages which we will explain in more detail below, but first, take a look at the diagram to help you familiarise yourself with the cycle:
I’m going to use the analogy of setting up and running your own business, as that is relevant to the majority of our clients and readers. We’ll make some suggestions of what you can do at each point.
Stage 1 : Uninformed Optimism
This is the stage of the emotional cycle of change where emotions are high – we are excited, happy, eager….but unaware of the issues that may arise in the future – a bit naïve possibly! You’re unlikely to have faced any obstacles or setbacks at this point.
Tip: at this stage it is really good to make note of why you are doing this – why are you setting up your business? What are your hopes and dreams for this business? This will be helpful for the future stages.
Stage 2: Informed pessimism
Emotions are starting to dip at this stage. You realise how much work is involved – doubt seeps in. You are facing challenges, you are worried you’re not going to achieve what you set out to do. Your confidence takes a bit of a hit.
Tip: at this stage it can be helpful to know that you’re not alone. Finding a group of like-minded business owners could be beneficial – sometimes one for your specific industry is helpful, but equally any small business group will be of use. They may be at different stages and reassure you that the challenges are normal, or suggest ways of overcoming them.
Stage 3: The Valley of Despair
This is very bottom of the emotional cycle of change. You will feel like you can’t go on. And this is the point at which many people will give up. I see people who are in this stage all too often in Facebook groups for small business owners, in my peer groups and in group coaching. I have also been there on multiple occasions since I set up Seed Accounting Solutions in 2015. We’ll be feeling overwhelmed, hopeless, our confidence will be at an all-time low. You may be feeling ashamed that you’ve not made it – all that positivity at Stage 1 that you shared with family and friends is now feeling a bit awkward.
Tip: the network you found in Stage 2 will be helpful. Every business owner with a business over 3 years old will have been here at least once. Get advice. Take a break. Take a day to refresh and enjoy some self-care. See friends, walk, go to the seaside, go to a spa, spend a day doing things you enjoy. The next day, dig out those notes you wrote in Stage 1 – why you set up your business. For activities like this, the Pomodoro technique can help to get you started. It can be helpful to list your challenges and opportunities in your business. Set yourself a couple of goals for the next 12 months (or relevant time period) with milestones. Write out an action plan to help you get to the first milestone. It can also be helpful to see how far you’ve come. You’ve often ended up here because things have never got any easier, when in reality the business is gradually growing and you’ve not taken a break and you’re a bit burnt out. Take a look at our 7 Tips for an Effective Business Plan blog to help guide you.
Stage 4: Informed Optimism
Once you’ve hauled yourself of the Valley of despair, this stage is where you start to see the wood for the trees, believe success is possible, if not likely. You’ll feel good for getting yourself through a tough time, and everything seems achievable once again. You’ll be feeling hopeful once again, confidence is on the up (although there is a bit more hesitancy and caution than in the first two stages!), you’ll quite likely feel happy too! Optimism is back on the rise.
Tip: at this stage, it is really important to revert back to that action plan. Check in on how you’re getting on – what needs to be tweaked? It can also be the stage that you realise you need to let go of some of the things in your business that were not serving you – low prices? Annoying clients? Under-performing sales o particular products or revenue streams? Let them all go. You’ll have a much clearer head and be aware of what works well and what doesn’t.
Stage 5: Success and Fulfilment
This stage is the last one on this emotional rollercoaster. You’ll be able to reflect on your achievements – see the highs and lows and know that you weathered the storm. You’ll be feeling proud, grateful for the support of your peers, friends and family, satisfied. You may have created new habits, learned new skills, become more resilient. You will have gone through some extreme personal development when reaching this stage – and your success will only continue to grow.
Tip: It can help to reflect on the lessons you learned, (write them down and frame them if it helps serve a daily reminder!) Use this as a reminder when things start to take a dip again. You may well have change your ‘why’ since Stage 1, so it may be worth updating your why, your vision of success, or whatever it is that you are working from.
Finally, it is worth noting that this is a cycle of emotions. Firstly, they may not play out in exactly the way I’ve described above, plus you may be in stages for different periods of time. And, please remember, this is just like a fairground rollercoaster, those emotions are going to be going up and down consistently. A bit like children, the challenges may change over time, but there will always be challenges. Running a business is not easy – if it were, everyone would be doing it. Each time you find yourself in the Valley of Despair, know that each time you pull yourself out of it you are just that bit stronger, more successful and more likely to achieve the successes you set yourself out to do.
For our existing clients – please do reach out if you find yourself in Stage 2 and 3. You can book in a Quick Query call and we can discuss how we can help you. If you’re not a client of ours already, and you’d like to discuss how we can work with you to achieve your vision of success, please book in a Discovery Call here.