By Monique Peats
Loving yourself and being present in your own life makes every obstacle in life and business less impacting.
Like most of you, running a business we’ve had many ups and downs. Our company, Life Recovery Program: Inward Strong, is an online mental health/behavioural health resource for individuals and families. The unbelievable stigma attached to our business — which provides a solution for a stigmatized issue — is exhausting and challenging. Along with some incredible successes, we’ve had more obstacles, blocks and challenges than I care to mention.
Our amazing company was birthed out of our founder Paul’s desire to provide a resource for people who were struggling to access support, whether due to stigma, lack of availability, or both. When he shared his idea, I was immediately onboard. Our mission was simple: to help fill in the service gap and provide support to as many people as possible, anywhere, anytime, at an affordable cost. Sounds great, right? Who wouldn’t want to jump on board with this idea and help us move forward, especially given the high rate of depression, anxiety, suicide and substance abuse? Perhaps because of our clinical backgrounds, we were hopeful, naively excited visionaries with high expectations of a quick adoption to our solution.
Well, what we thought would be a no-brainer became the marathon of our lives — which is why I’d like to share three key power tools that have helped me stay resilient while running a business in the midst of challenges, from stigma to Covid-19.
1. Practice creative envisioning
Embrace your unique vision, dream big, and make imagination your superpower. Ensure your vision aligns with your core values; those things that give you meaning and purpose. Oftentimes the assumption is that there’s a ‘right’ way to do things and you have to be an expert in everything. Not only is it impossible, but this kind of thinking leads to burnout. Being an entrepreneur is tough, especially if you’re the CEO — Chief Everything Officer. The key for me is to acknowledge the painful stuff and notice all of the good stuff and everything else in between. Creative envisioning lets me play with ideas, and it makes what I do fun. So, whatever it is, lean into it — all of it — because if I don’t feel it, I won’t heal it, and new ideas are blocked from taking root and growing into great ideas that allow me to pivot, explore interesting opportunities, and meet helpful allies along the way.
2. Choose joy by accessing and sustaining positive emotions
My dad suddenly and unexpectedly passed away on May 21, 2020. He was the most amazing, loving, gentle, strong, kind, caring, thoughtful man I know. He was quite literally healthy one day and in the ER the next, and passed away two weeks later with no warning. What I take from that is to make every moment count, and cherish the people around you now because they may be gone tomorrow. In business terms, that means be grateful for the gift of each person on your team, even if you can only afford to have them for a few months or they choose to leave for a more lucrative opportunity.
“Resiliency is simply noticing who you are and taking care of yourself on a consistent basis. It means putting yourself higher on your to-do list.”
Also, focus on why you chose to start your business in the first place. Helping people with an online resource that is simple, easy to use and accessible anywhere, anytime makes me feel so blessed, because even when we get a ‘no’ or ‘not yet’ I know that so many people have become Inward Strong because we decided to create a solution to help address a not so hidden epidemic.
I know that every day isn’t going to be a perfect day — but I focus on the belief that every day is a day to be grateful for. Every day I choose to notice a moment that makes me smile. I choose to remember the things that bring me joy. My dad passing away doesn’t bring me joy, but focusing on how blessed I am to have had such an amazing dad puts an incredible smile on my face.
3. Have compassion towards yourself
I’m only human — so I forgive myself for mistakes, faults, and lack of knowledge. All I can do is my best in that moment, and recognize that given the awareness I have, I’m doing the best that I can. I do get tired, frustrated and weary a lot of the time — but I remind myself that that’s okay. I lean into it, and remember that to be human is to feel, to be a woman is to be acutely aware of all that I am, competing priorities and all. I remind myself that I am visible, I matter, I am loved and I am loveable (that’s the incredible gift that my mom and dad gave me, unconditional love). Regardless of what comes my way, I believe in who I am and that I have value, I am worthy of being present in this world, present as a businesswoman, a wife, daughter, aunt. In your moments of doubt, remind yourself: I am a woman of influence. I belong. I am worthy.
Resiliency is simply noticing who you are and taking care of yourself on a consistent basis. It means putting yourself higher on your to-do list. It’s remembering that you are enough and you have enough time. It is about personal and professional balance, being well resourced because we’re not designed to do life alone. It’s reminding yourself that you are powerful and unique, and that every day is yours for the taking. Yes, there are roadblocks — some greater, higher, nastier, and more disarming than others — but when we nurture ourselves on the inside, choose to surround ourselves with people who know us, listen fully to our voice, mentor, advise, challenge and accept ourselves, we can conquer anything. I believe that as women we can be a village of support that allows our own imagination to visualize and guide us into a more hopeful and equitable future.
What keeps me moving forward? How do I keep going? It’s simple: I choose joy, I choose to stay in hope, focus on gratitude and our successes, resiliently recharge, refocus and rebuild. As a clinician, businesswoman and human being, resiliency is recognizing that life is stress and I can choose to either manage it or have it manage me. I choose the former, what about you?