255: Holding On When Things Are Hard

12 Minutes Read

Leading a business can be hard. And sometimes events in the world around you make it even harder. How do you keep going when it seems like the mission of your business is dwarfed by problems of the world or even in your personal life? 

How do you stay motivated and inspired by your vision on those days when you just want to crawl back to bed? In this episode, Erin and Steve share their insights and stories on how to hold on when things are hard and overcome the obstacles that come your way.

You will discover:

  1. How to find strength to lead your business even on days when you feel overwhelmed

  2. How to have the biggest impact on causes that matter to you, even if your work isn’t in that field

  3. How to break free from feeling powerless in the face of pervasive bad news


To purchase the meditation with Erin and Audrey, with all proceeds going to wildfire relief efforts, visit this page.

And if you are called to uplift your people—and thus the world—through coaching, click here to learn more about the Superabound Coach Certification program. Discover how to bring the empowering toolkit of coaching into your business.





Episode Transcript

Steve Haase  0:00  
Welcome to the Superabound podcast with master coaches Erin Aquin and Steve Haase, where business owners like you learn tools that help you clarify vision, clear up static and overcome challenges. You are listening to episode number 255. Holding on when things are hard.

Erin Aquin  0:18  
Hello and welcome. Okay today, going deep. Because currently, as we're recording this podcast, there have been some really devastating wildfires both close to home, not super close to our home, we're definitely not in a in a dangerous spot. But most recently, in Maui, in Hawaii, where our family has spent a lot of time we've gone there almost every single winter, since our kids were little. And we're just feeling the feels about how there's a lot of hard things in the world, as there always is. We don't often talk about them on the podcast, because you know, we're here to talk about business. And we'd like to keep it really tight to that focus. But there are going to be times, of course, in your personal life, where things that are happening in the world at large and in your own personal life are definitely going to feel like they are affecting your business. And because we're really interested in coaching from a really very holistic perspective, where we're not just coaching businesses, we're coaching humans, and humans have emotions and connections and have a roller coaster of things that happen in their lives. It feels really important today to talk about how to hold on when things are hard or when things feel tough. So Steve, I would love to hear your perspective on this. I think

Steve Haase  2:01  
the place to begin is acknowledging when things are hard for you. As an entrepreneur, as a leader, it can be tempting to just put on a brave face and power through and pretend that nothing's going on. And it's certainly not touching you because there's work to be done. But that will make you more brittle. It will it will make you less flexible, towards what a great response to tough things could be. So beginning with acknowledging when things are hard for you, it doesn't need to be a big natural disaster that everyone is tuned into. It could be something personal, that could be something unraveling in your family life or any other challenges that you're facing something out of the ordinary, that kind of knocks the wind from you. Acknowledging that that's happening means that you're human. And your humaneness is how you can connect more fully with other people. And that connection is what will make you a more inspiring or effective leader. So that's where I recommend we always begin. Yeah, and

Erin Aquin  3:13  
I mean, just to talk on maybe a little bit about the flip side of that, because I think there are some people where their reaction to when things are hard is going to be to shut down, put on a brave face, get to kind of go down the route of the brutal, the brutal heart. I think that that that is a one method of protection. So yes, acknowledging that things are hard for you, even if it's not, you know, at your team meeting. Maybe it is maybe it's not, but acknowledging it is one part of it. But I also notice, as an entrepreneur and a leader, that sometimes what happens is the opposite of that, where there's things going on in the world, or in your personal life. And it really makes you feel like your business goals, or your business vision even is very superficial compared to the urgent thing happening in the world. I remember during early days of the pandemic, when almost everyone was in lockdown, so many of my fellow life coaches, they were like, well, you know, no one's gonna buy coaching because it's so mundane compared to the real fear that's out there to compare to the, you know, the scariness of of this unknown time that we're in. And I just remember thinking, I can see why people would feel that way. But at the same time, I was coaching mainly on interpersonal relationships, and it actually had the opposite effect on me. I felt like wow, this is when people are really going to need me because they can't distract themselves from their relationship problems anymore. They are in lockdown with a person who they may not have Your relationship with and they need me now more than ever. So I'm curious maybe even to hear Steve like what your perspective is for those people like for those people who maybe are feeling very helpless and kind of hopeless at times? What do you say to those people, when they look at working on their next launch, promoting their, their business that isn't directly tied to the, to helping the disaster of the moment,

Steve Haase  5:33  
I think it's important to zoom out a bit and see the role that you play in the world around you, and the role that you could play in the world around you. And what makes sense for you to engage with right now. For us, we feel a strong connection with Maui and living in Canada to the places that are being impacted with the Canadian wildfires. And so we do want to engage with that in some way. We're not trained in search and rescue or in firefighting skills, so we're not going to actually go to those places. But in zooming out and saying, we care about this, we want to be involved with this, there are ways to actually support the things that matter to us. And one of the ways to do that is actually using our business as a tool to connect to that thing that we want to impact. So in this case, we're offering a meditation that Erin recorded with with our daughter to help raise funds for the Red Cross for the next couple of weeks, all the proceeds from that meditation will go there. And so it's a way of kind of connecting the dots between the momentum that we've built the, the business that we're responsible for, and the cause that we care about in the way that we want to have an impact beyond just what the business is doing directly.

Erin Aquin  6:55  
And, you know, I'll just, I'll just share kind of personally that the point of this particular fundraising effort was to bring our kids into, to introduce them to philanthropy. I know that raising money is not the only way. But it is a way we can help from afar. And one of the things I think is really important that I want to teach my kids, I want to teach adults this too, but I definitely want my own children to know this from a young age, is that if you feel compelled to support a cause, if you feel compelled to help in some way, you couldn't do that without having that direct connection, like, raising money is one way to help. And, you know, my daughter, we were talking about this, and she was feeling really sad, you know, as we all were, we were talking about it. And she was just like, I don't know what I can do. I'm a seven year old. And that sort of impacted me, I want it, I really want people to know that your talents, your skills, can have an impact. So she listens to a lot of meditations at nighttime to help her sleep. She has been around meditation a lot, because we are meditation teachers as well. She's done yoga classes, and she's been in classes where they've done guided practice. So she, she knows a little bit about this, probably more than the average seven year olds. And we were talking about how financially we could make something and send that money where it might do some good, but there's sort of a double karmic effect, when what you're doing to raise the money is something that will positively impact the people who purchase the product. So if someone has been interested in meditation for a while, but they've never, you know, done anything, but this is a cause that also matters to them, and they buy this, I don't know, five is it $5. It's like a $5. Meditation, they buy that knowing that their money is going to toward something to help and to be supportive. But then they also do the meditation, there's an amplified effect, energetically, or so I believe. You know, I have no proof. But I like to believe that. And when we're talking about holding on, when things feel hard, this is what helps me get up in the morning and continue to do the work of my own business knowing that the more money our business makes, the more we can support more and more people.

Steve Haase  9:42  
And Erin, I love what you say about the amplified effect of the karma that you create the positive ripples in the world. And I think that's one of the core points to focus on here when we talked about holding on when things are hard, is What is the purpose of your business? What is the vision that you have for it? What positive impact do you want to have in the world, it doesn't have to be curing malaria or solving world hunger, it can simply be, you know, the mission of your business like that is significant enough. But the positive ripples that you will put out by recommitting to that by seeing the value that it brings to people's lives. Even if your business is pet food, you're helping people have a great relationship with the animal that they love. Right? These are the things of life that bring specialness to each moment. And when you think about people who are going through a hard time, those special moments are what make life great. So how is your business having that impact in people's lives? Staying connected with that, and, you know, zooming out to see how it fits into the bigger picture, but also zooming into that one person whose life you can change today will help you have the energy, you know, in times when you wonder, what's the point, what's the point of pet food when you know, people are evacuating their homes, you can still touch people's lives. And like Erin said, pass that through in ways that matter to you.

Erin Aquin  11:27  
And that might not be a satisfying thing for people to hear. Just to acknowledge that might not actually satisfy because if you are an entrepreneur or leader, I know you love to solve problems. I know you love to be like solve all the problems, tie it up in a pretty bow and then find a new problem. Like, we are problem hunters and we are problem solvers. And I do think that is why entrepreneurs and and great leaders will change the world. But you don't have to solve every problem. You don't have like I went through this when we weren't even just thinking about, you know, where are we going to donate the money. And some people don't like big charities, there's just so many questions like, well, if we're doing this, what about though there were wildfires in Europe? Why aren't we doing that it's so easy to get overwhelmed, and then do nothing. So the point is find a way to do something that keeps you connected, and reminds you that not only can your business, the way that it is right now have an impact in people's lives, but the people you impact, and the more money you make in your business means that you can support more deeply you like our business, we're not saving anyone's life today. But the doctors that we coached might, the business owner who's growing and hires a new person, they might that is I think why we do what we do. It's not to

Speaker 3  12:54  
go out there and save the world is what as much as I really wish I could.

Erin Aquin  13:00  
It's really to support the people who are trying to save the world.

Steve Haase  13:04  
And you bring up an interesting point around feeling like you can do something, the sense of having agency on some level, I think is critical to staying connected, right holding on when things are tough finding that one thing that you can do to brighten one person's day the doing of something rather than the doing of nothing, is all the difference in the world. And I also invite you to do that something for yourself as well. When things get tough, it's really easy to focus our attention outward and say, How can we save all the people? How can we have the biggest impact possible and end up being depleted ourselves because we weren't ensuring that the one who was going to go out there and put forth that energy was also energized. This doesn't have to be some huge, elaborate ritual, it can be as simple as making sure you get your workout in that you're eating well, that you you know, we call them your sustaining rituals. Don't drop your sustaining rituals, just because something difficult is happening in your world. That's when those sustaining rituals are even more important, because they build that sense of agency, that willingness to do something. And then that's how you're able to put out one thing in the world that makes a difference. And then you can build on that and build on that. So don't get lost in the analysis by paralysis, right? Which, which agency, shall I contribute to? Who am I supposed to help? It is overwhelming if you try to do it all. So take care of yourself. Take the next step that makes sense. Go from there. And I would also say in in that same spirit. Be easy with yourself when things are tough. Maybe you just need to lay in bed, maybe you won't be as productive. Maybe there will be times when you're not your normal self. All of that is okay. You don't have to heap judgment on top of whatever challenges you're going through

Erin Aquin  14:59  
which is so easy to do. And sometimes the world will do it for you. But when that happens, notice where that judgment is coming from. I saw something the other day, and I can't remember who shared it. But it was something like people further along on the path are not sitting on their computers making rude comments on other people's gestures. It's it's never people who know how tough it is, like entrepreneurs don't sit around usually. And Judge entrepreneurs who are starting a business. A bodybuilder isn't standing at the door to the gym saying, Wait, you're gonna work out today? Why, you know, they they know how hard the journey is, they know how much it takes to show up, you, you rarely are gonna get criticism from someone who is further along than you. So if I can find that, I'm going to post it on Instagram, I want to repost it, someone share it with me because it was a really good thought. So keep that in mind. If someone does say, Oh, I can't believe you're kind of support that agency or i Oh, I can't believe you're still promoting your program when the world is on fire. If people people who usually say those things often have no idea what they're talking about. That's judgmental of me to say, but it doesn't make it untrue. And those things that people might say, or your own mind may offer you about your effort. But it's not enough that it's not perfect, that it's not helping everyone that it's not taking into consider every taking into consideration everything that's happening in the world at all times, your job is not to take care of everything. It's to do something, if we all did something, if every single person who did something small towards a cause they believe in towards what you said, Steve, brightening someone's day towards being a support system for someone who is trying to save the world. If we all did that, without dropping our sustaining rituals, the world might be a different place, I think it would be. So I hope that you won't glue yourself too much to the bad news, without doing something that helps you feel empowered towards it. If nothing else, I want my children to know that they can do something even at seven years old, it can be part of something both tangibly with money and energetically with putting something out into the world to make it a more beautiful place. And that is important to me, as a parent. And as a business owner,

Steve Haase  17:41  
if you're going through a tough time, use some of these pointers to help you really stay connected with your purpose here and make some space around that challenging moment.

Erin Aquin  17:55  
Something just came to mind to me. I remember being in acupuncture school and having a really like she's having a really bad day, I think it was like breaking up with a boyfriend and moving to a new house and like having chicken No, just like the drama of my life at the time and exams and all these things. And I remember going to my clinical manager of the day and saying I just don't think I can treat anyone today I just feel too, out of sorts to raw, I'm just I'm not in it. And she challenged me to just try to treat one client just to see one person. And if focusing my attention on the needs of someone else, who had traveled across the city to come and see me who was in a lot of pain, if focusing on that other person didn't shift, how I was feeling that I was free to just observe for the rest of the day. But she said sometimes, the best thing we can do when we're feeling helpless and hopeless, is offer support to someone else generously. And I've kept that with me for a really long time. It often works. And when it's genuine, it often works. Don't push yourself to go beyond what your energy can handle. And don't forget to rest. But sometimes the best thing we can do as communal creatures that we are, is support someone else when we are feeling it.

Steve Haase  19:33  
That's a great story. I hope you found this episode helpful, especially if you're going through a hard time. If you want to get the meditation we've been speaking about up until August 30 2023. All of the proceeds are going to wildfire relief efforts. And you can download it at be superabound.com/meditation. We'd be honored if you joined us there and we will talk to you again soon. All right

Transcribed by https://otter.ai