Have you ever witnessed someone losing their mind on social media?  Ever noticed little snarky comments on news-feeds…or those icky, clumsy statements, where the admin have to intervene and tell people to be ‘nice’?

As online business owners, we’re uber visible these days meaning we’re more vulnerable than ever to exposing our emotions, letting our mask slip, getting our buttons pushed in all the wrong places.

I’ve personally seen a few horrors.  A so called million dollar guru losing the plot when she saw someone had dissed her hard nosed sales call.

It was a shock-fest.

Guru girl posted her critic’s comment up on Facebook, along with the poor woman’s financial debt and other confidential info shared during their ‘discovery call’.

‘You cross me…I go gansta’ on you bitch’.

YES…really really.

Cringe.

Visibility is a 21st century marketing necessity and also its biggest problem.    Because just as celebrities have to do a deal with the devil to get publicity, in a small way, so do we.  We can’t hide behind the screen anymore if we want to grow our business.  We need to be actively commenting, posting and engaging with people online and we need to prepare ourselves for the pokey sticks that come our way.  If we’re lucky it’ll just be the odd bit of criticism thrown by our followers. If we’re not…then we might have the dreaded misfortune of being a victim of spineless trolls.

In my work as a coach and therapist, I’ve helped hundreds of people who turn up lost about how to keep their life and business dreams alive.  Some come with practical problems, but usually the deeper emotions turf up at some point or another.

And fearing criticism is only part of the problem.  There are 8 uglies that can rise up time and again in relation to running a business…and they’re no different from those that we face in daily life.

Here they are:

Fear, depression, hurt, anger, shame, guilt, jealousy and envy.

Fear of looking stupid

Depression over failure

Hurt over rejection

Anger at the struggle

Shame of not being good enough

Guilt about money

Envy over success of others

Jealousy when clients choose another

 

It’s scary stuff.  Most of my clients are surprised to discover it’s their own stinky thinkin’ that’s causing the majority of the havoc.

So…we need a plan.  A plan that’ll help us to stay in our power when we’re challenged, questioned, criticised or demeaned.

And I have a little suggestion.  First off, we have to recognise that we’re being triggered and we best own it. If we can take responsibility for our reactions, we have a chance of staying graceful in our behaviour and keep self-doubt from creeping in.

And for sure, it creeps in.  Because being an entrepreneur means our insecurities are poked daily.

But how do we achieve that most precious skill…the ability to keep your head when all around are losing theirs?

Well…I’m going to share one process that will help minimise your negative emotions and regain some much needed perspective when you need to gain control.

And note I said ‘minimise’.

Because we can’t eliminate negative emotions.  It’s impossible… we’re human.

But we need to do something, because no matter the devastation, disappointment, frustration or self-doubt…the show must go on. It MUST GO ON. Because the world needs our work, so we need to find a way through the swamp…across the crocodile pit and into the clearing.

If we’re going to accept that negative emotions are normal and CAN’T be avoided, then we need to find a way to at least manage them. Because running a business takes consistently showing up and doing the hustle. 

In the table below there are two columns.  In the the left are the uglies, the 8  UNHEALTHY negative emotions that are triggered when our thinking is irrational. 

On the right are the 8 HEALTHY negative emotions, that CAN lead to positive change. 

You’ll notice the emotions on both sides of the table are negative and that’s how it should be. Because we’re not suggesting any ‘positive thinking’ here.  If something negative happens, then a painful response is natural.  BUT…if it’s a healthy negativity, that means we’re seeing the truth of a situation and not letting it defeat us.

In Stoicism and Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy, the general agreement is this…

…it’s not what happens to us that causes the majority of our upset, it’s the thoughts we have about the situation.  That’s what causes the  dysfunction in emotions and behaviour. 

So we’re proceeding with that outlook as a basis for change.

If we can make the leap from irrational to rational responses, then we can regain balance and turn a negative situation around far more quickly.

Let’s look at the ‘big ugly 8’ and see how to manage them when things go bad.

Here we go.

 Unhealthy Negative Emotion

 Healthy Negative Emotion

Anxiety

Possible behaviours – Withdraw, avoid, over-please, tranquilize feelings, perfectionism, over-preparing, over-working, not resting/sleeping.

Possible thoughts – Self-criticism, I can’t cope, I give up. I can’t stand this. It’s too hard.

Deep Concern

Possible behaviours – Face the threat in a realistic way, take constructive action to deal with the situation. Look for solutions, focus on the tasks to be done, get help.

Possible thoughts – It’s challenging, but I’ll cope. I can do this I ‘m strong enough to face this (even though I don’t like it). I’ll find someone who can help me through it.

Depression

Possible behaviours – Withdrawal, self-destruction, being needy of others, complaining, giving up.

 

Possible thoughts – The world stinks, it’s not fair, poor me, the universe hates me, I hate me, everyone hates me!

Sadness/Disappointment

Possible behaviours – Share concerns with others, get help, make a fair assessment of the situation, see the big picture whilst still feeling sad, make plans for change.
.
Possible thoughts – It’s hard but natural to feel sad because I’ve had losses, I’ll get over it, it’s not personal (it’s life), I accept this situation and I’ll work towards change, I love and care for myself and I choose to focus on healing.

Unhealthy Anger

Possible behaviours – Attack, revenge, assault, withdrawal, sulking, gathering allies, becoming a bully, shouting, complaining, blaming, taking out anger on others or objects, quitting your business or relationships with others.

Possible thoughts – I hate you, you’re evil, I can’t stand this, I want to hurt someone, I need revenge, how dare you do this, it’s not fair, you MUST make this up to me. I hate this!

Healthy Anger

Possible behaviours – Assertive, not demanding, asking other to take responsibility without issuing blame. Owning your own behaviour, recognise something needs to change and dealing with it, having perspective on the intent of others and the non-personal nature of world events. Self acceptance and support. See point of view of the other. See other/self/world as probably or possibly in the wrong, but not DEFINITELY in the wrong. Stay mainly balanced even if initially very upset.

Possible thoughts – I don’t like what you did/how this worked out, but I can cope with it. The world is just what it is, I can’t take anything personally. I’m angry so that means I want something to change and that’s ok. I might want revenge but I will calm down and it’ll pass. I accept myself, the other and the world, even if I don’t like this situation. I’ll see what I do that’s constructive. I need to nurture myself and get balanced.

Guilt

Possible behaviours – Self defeating begging for forgiveness, unable to accept being forgiven, take all the responsibility, self-blame, self-punishment, fear of retribution, ruminating on actions.

Possible thoughts – I’m a terrible person, how could I have acted like that, It’s all my fault, I deserve punishment/rejection

Remorse

Possible behaviours – Seek to make amends, accept forgiveness, own the mistake, self-forgiveness, perspective on the mistake, accept corrective action

 

Possible thoughts – My action was bad but I’M not a bad person. I take responsibility and I’ll learn and change. I don’t deserve retribution, but I accept being penalised. I understand why the other is angry/hurt and I’m truly sorry, I’ll do better next time.

Hurt

Possible behaviours – Sulking, withdrawal, aggression, punishing, criticizing other/self/world.

 

Possible thoughts – I can’t stand it, I can’t live like this, I must be worthless, how dare you do this to me, you are a bad person, no-body loves me, I’m always getting hurt, I’m never going to be successful, nobody wants my input.

Sorrow/Disappointment

Possible behaviours – Upset but balanced, remain engaged. Remove self from situation in a reasonable way, willing to wait until sorrow passes and re-engage with the world/the other person, talk things through, get support.

 

Possible thoughts – I’m hurting but I’ll get over it. Lots of people love me and I love myself. I don’t need approval. I can support myself. I can get support and help from others. This is temporary and it will pass.

Shame

Possible behaviours – Escape from the judgements and gaze of others, irrationally defend yourself, reject attempts at restoring social equilibrium, overestimate the negativity and impact of the behaviour, exaggerate the disapproval and rejection by others.

Possible thoughts – I’m an idiot, I’m no good, I can’t stand them looking at me or judging me, this is terrible, I’ll be rejected now, I must be bad.

Disappointment

Possible behaviours – Stay in the situation, engage with others, keep open mind to restoring equilibrium, gather information to understand what happened, stand strong, use coping mechanisms to get through it and turn shame to disappointment. Keep perspective and accept self.

 

Possible thoughts – I’ve made a mistake, but I accept myself. I want others to approve of me, but I don’t need them to. I can cope and I’ll learn from my mistakes. I’m still a good person.

Unhealthy Jealousy

Possible behaviours – Monitoring others, seeking reassurance, controlling, setting tests, exaggerate the threat of loss, sulk, argue, fight, stalk, retaliate, read into everything, panic, plan for the loss, ruminate on the possible loss of someone or something, play images in the head about the threat of the loss or what someone else is doing.

 

Possible thoughts – They’re going to steal my clients, my stuff. I’ll lose everything. He’s going to leave, she’s having an affair, I can’t bear it, I’m no good, I won’t cope, how can they so this to me.

Healthy Jealousy

Possible behaviours – Don’t prompt or seek reassurance or affection out of desperation. Allow the other freedom, refrain from setting tests, don’t exaggerate threat, no obsession about what they’re doing, healthy interest in what they are doing. Not over providing to keep someone interested in you. Set healthy boundaries.

 

Possible thoughts – I might be rejected in favour of someone or something else, but I accept that, even though it’s disappointing. He/she might leave and that would be sad, but I’ll cope. I want freedom and I want to give that to others. I have boundaries and values that keep me strong whatever happens.

Unhealthy Envy

Possible behaviours – Put down others for their gains, steal or deprive others, spoiling or destroying property, obsessing about what others have, pretend you don’t want what they have (bad case of ‘sour grapes’), you try to get what they have without thinking through if you really want it or not.

 

Possible thoughts – They’re a show off, why should they have it all and I’ve got nothing. They’re better than me. I’m not good enough to earn what they have. It’s not fair. The world’s not fair. That person is not ok, I’m not ok for failing to have that thing.

Healthy Envy

Possible behaviours – You check to see if you really want something and set out to obtain it. You are honest and if you are not happy with your lot you change it. You use the success of others as inspiration for your actions, but whether they have it or not is irrelevant to you. You are sure within yourself of your own ability to create and achieve what you want.

Possible thoughts – It’s good that they have that possession or talent because it means I can achieve my potential as well. I take responsibility for what I do to achieve my desires. Just because they have what I want, means nothing about who they are or who I am. The world is fair and helps those who help themselves.

 Unhealthy Negative Emotion

Anxiety

Possible behaviours – Withdraw, avoid, over-please, tranquilize feelings, perfectionism, over-preparing, over-working, not resting/sleeping.

Possible thoughts – Self-criticism, I can’t cope, I give up. I can’t stand this. It’s too hard.

Depression

Possible behaviours – Withdrawal, self-destruction, being needy of others, complaining, giving up.

Possible thoughts – The world stinks, it’s not fair, poor me, the universe hates me, I hate me, everyone hates me!

Unhealthy Anger

Possible behaviours – Attack, revenge, assault, withdrawal, sulking, gathering allies, becoming a bully, shouting, complaining, blaming, taking out anger on others or objects, quitting your business or relationships with others.

Possible thoughts – I hate you, you’re evil, I can’t stand this, I want to hurt someone, I need revenge, how dare you do this, it’s not fair, you MUST make this up to me. I hate this!

Guilt

Possible behaviours – Self defeating begging for forgiveness, unable to accept being forgiven, take all the responsibility, self-blame, self-punishment, fear of retribution, ruminating on actions.

Possible thoughts – I’m a terrible person, how could I have acted like that, It’s all my fault, I deserve punishment/rejection

Hurt

Possible behaviours – Sulking, withdrawal, aggression, punishing, criticizing other/self/world.

Possible thoughts – I can’t stand it, I can’t live like this, I must be worthless, how dare you do this to me, you are a bad person, no-body loves me, I’m always getting hurt, I’m never going to be successful, nobody wants my input.

Shame

Possible behaviours – Escape from the judgements and gaze of others, irrationally defend yourself, reject attempts at restoring social equilibrium, overestimate the negativity and impact of the behaviour, exaggerate the disapproval and rejection by others.

Possible thoughts – I’m an idiot, I’m no good, I can’t stand them looking at me or judging me, this is terrible, I’ll be rejected now, I must be bad.

Unhealthy Jealousy

Possible behaviours – Monitoring others, seeking reassurance, controlling, setting tests, exaggerate the threat of loss, sulk, argue, fight, stalk, retaliate, read into everything, panic, plan for the loss, ruminate on the possible loss of someone or something, play images in the head about the threat of the loss or what someone else is doing.

Possible thoughts – They’re going to steal my clients, my stuff. I’ll lose everything. He’s going to leave, she’s having an affair, I can’t bear it, I’m no good, I won’t cope, how can they so this to me.

Unhealthy Envy

Possible behaviours – Put down others for their gains, steal or deprive others, spoiling or destroying property, obsessing about what others have, pretend you don’t want what they have (bad case of ‘sour grapes’), you try to get what they have without thinking through if you really want it or not.

Possible thoughts – They’re a show off, why should they have it all and I’ve got nothing. They’re better than me. I’m not good enough to earn what they have. It’s not fair. The world’s not fair. That person is not ok, I’m not ok for failing to have that thing.

 Healthy Negative Emotion

Deep Concern

Possible behaviours – Face the threat in a realistic way, take constructive action to deal with the situation. Look for solutions, focus on the tasks to be done, get help.

Possible thoughts – It’s challenging, but I’ll cope. I can do this I ‘m strong enough to face this (even though I don’t like it). I’ll find someone who can help me through it.

Sadness/Disappointment

Possible behaviours – Share concerns with others, get help, make a fair assessment of the situation, see the big picture whilst still feeling sad, make plans for change.
.
Possible thoughts – It’s hard but natural to feel sad because I’ve had losses, I’ll get over it, it’s not personal (it’s life), I accept this situation and I’ll work towards change, I love and care for myself and I choose to focus on healing.

Healthy Anger

Possible behaviours – Assertive, not demanding, asking other to take responsibility without issuing blame. Owning your own behaviour, recognise something needs to change and dealing with it, having perspective on the intent of others and the non-personal nature of world events. Self acceptance and support. See point of view of the other. See other/self/world as probably or possibly in the wrong, but not DEFINITELY in the wrong. Stay mainly balanced even if initially very upset.

Possible thoughts – I don’t like what you did/how this worked out, but I can cope with it. The world is just what it is, I can’t take anything personally. I’m angry so that means I want something to change and that’s ok. I might want revenge but I will calm down and it’ll pass. I accept myself, the other and the world, even if I don’t like this situation. I’ll see what I do that’s constructive. I need to nurture myself and get balanced.

Remorse

Possible behaviours – Seek to make amends, accept forgiveness, own the mistake, self-forgiveness, perspective on the mistake, accept corrective action

Possible thoughts – My action was bad but I’M not a bad person. I take responsibility and I’ll learn and change. I don’t deserve retribution, but I accept being penalised. I understand why the other is angry/hurt and I’m truly sorry, I’ll do better next time.

Sorrow/Disappointment

Possible behaviours – Upset but balanced, remain engaged. Remove self from situation in a reasonable way, willing to wait until sorrow passes and re-engage with the world/the other person, talk things through, get support.

Possible thoughts – I’m hurting but I’ll get over it. Lots of people love me and I love myself. I don’t need approval. I can support myself. I can get support and help from others. This is temporary and it will pass.

Disappointment

Possible behaviours – Stay in the situation, engage with others, keep open mind to restoring equilibrium, gather information to understand what happened, stand strong, use coping mechanisms to get through it and turn shame to disappointment. Keep perspective and accept self.

 

Possible thoughts – I’ve made a mistake, but I accept myself. I want others to approve of me, but I don’t need them to. I can cope and I’ll learn from my mistakes. I’m still a good person.

Healthy Jealousy

Possible behaviours – Don’t prompt or seek reassurance or affection out of desperation. Allow the other freedom, refrain from setting tests, don’t exaggerate threat, no obsession about what they’re doing, healthy interest in what they are doing. Not over providing to keep someone interested in you. Set healthy boundaries.

Possible thoughts – I might be rejected in favour of someone or something else, but I accept that, even though it’s disappointing. He/she might leave and that would be sad, but I’ll cope. I want freedom and I want to give that to others. I have boundaries and values that keep me strong whatever happens.

Healthy Envy

Possible behaviours – You check to see if you really want something and set out to obtain it. You are honest and if you are not happy with your lot you change it. You use the success of others as inspiration for your actions, but whether they have it or not is irrelevant to you. You are sure within yourself of your own ability to create and achieve what you want.

Possible thoughts – It’s good that they have that possession or talent because it means I can achieve my potential as well. I take responsibility for what I do to achieve my desires. Just because they have what I want, means nothing about who they are or who I am. The world is fair and helps those who help themselves.

So, there you go. Something to keep in mind when you’re in the midst of the chaos that will come to test you on the path. You can check to see the emotions you’re being consumed by, the thoughts you’re thinking and actions to take that move you forward.

You don’t have to jump on the happy clappy train. You just need to check who’s in charge of your brain when the negative hits. Is it you…or your inner ‘drama lama/victim’?

When life throws rocks making the shift from unhealthy negative to healthy negative emotions comes by changing your thoughts, that’s where your control is.

It’s not always easy.

You can treat it like a 100 kph train, you can’t stop it suddenly.  It has to be slowed down until it stops, then you get out, go to the other end and drive in another direction.  Just gently slow down the unhealthy negative momentum, by replacing each thought with something that gives you more balance.

This strategy will help you succeed in your business, because you’ll stay strong when it gets tough.  And it’s just as important in helping you be successful in all areas of your life.

Check in, turn it around, get perspective and carry on.

You got this.

 

Linda B x

p.s. If your a coach or consultant interested in personal development and building your business, I’ve got a brand-new group over at Facebook.  Your invited to come and find your cheerleaders there. You might be the first one in! I’m there waiting. See you on the other side.  https://www.facebook.com/groups/Borntochangelives/