Archive for March, 2010

Expat Entrepreneurs: A Little Fear Is A Good Thing

Posted on 10. Mar, 2010 by in Blog, Expat Entrepreneurs
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While you don’t want to be worried all the time (what a life that would be!), a little fear isn’t a bad thing.

Why? Because it tells you that you’re serious about your business. Especially in the beginning, you’ll notice that fear rears its head when things are about to become very real – launching your first website, making that important phone call, or signing a contract with your first big client.

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Expat Entrepreneurs: Kiss Panic Attacks Goodbye

Posted on 08. Mar, 2010 by in Blog, Expat Entrepreneurs, Tools & Resources

[Disclaimer: It goes without saying that this post is about your garden-variety work-related worries, not mental health issues. It is not meant as medical advice. If you believe you suffer from actual panic attacks or depression, please seek professional help immediately.]

If you want to get ahead with your business, you can’t afford to let negative feelings affect your productivity and concentration. It’s all too easy to lose hours, if not entire days, to worry, guilt, and sometimes even sheer panic. So what do you do when your stress levels get out of control?

Here’s the method I use to nip negative emotions in the bud – give it a try next time you’re having a bad day.

Panic mode

    Play out the worst-case scenario (more…)

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    Expat Entrepreneurs: What Are Your Emotional Triggers?

    Posted on 05. Mar, 2010 by in Blog, Expat Entrepreneurs

    The least you can say is that being an expat entrepreneur gives rise to some strong emotions, especially when it’s your first time running a business or living abroad. You go from stressed out to panicky to strangely euphoric within the same minute. And you desperately yearn for some peace of mind.

    Feeling moody?

    The problem is, you cannot productively deal with your feelings unless you define them clearly. It’s like the old management axiom: “If you cannot measure it, you cannot improve it.”

      Identify your feelings

      So your first course of action should be to put your finger on what it is exactly that you’re feeling.

      “Stressed out” is too vague. “Overwhelmed by the number of tasks I have to complete before tonight” and “Afraid to make that important phone call” are much better, because they point to two concrete issues: time management and procrastination. That’s useful information.

        Recognise your triggers

        The next step is to identify your triggers. When exactly do you switch from your normal mood to Overwhelmed and Afraid? What are the circumstances and the associated feelings? What’s the pattern here?

        Be as specific as possible. You may want to take notes, even if some of your triggers may look silly once you write them down – I know mine certainly do! Keep a record of the information you’re uncovering, because it will come in handy further down the line.

        In case you’re wondering, you’re not just playing detective for the fun of it, or for the sake of self-knowledge.
        Recognising your triggers is important, because with a bit of practice, you’ll be able to take a deep breath, pause, and calm yourself down before your emotions become too distracting. In a matter of minutes, you’ll be back to working efficiently and building a successful business, instead of wallowing in negative feelings and self-pity for hours, if not days.

        In the next post, we’ll look at a technique you can use when things get really bad – when you’re not just scared, but downright panicked and unable to focus on your work.

        Panic button
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        Images by n0r (top) and Phil Romans (bottom), both via Flickr Creative Commons

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        Expat Entrepreneurs: How Are You Feeling?

        Posted on 03. Mar, 2010 by in Blog, Expat Entrepreneurs
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        Do you ever get that unnerving feeling that you’re the only business owner in the world who occasionally gets tired, discouraged or overwhelmed? I know that I do, especially after reading too many high-profile business blogs or Twitter feeds. In those circles, it seems like everyone is cheerfully working 80-hour weeks, and launching new product after new product without the slightest trepidation.

        We all know that’s not how it works. Running your own business is often hard, and it can be downright scary. So, enough with these displays of entrepreneurial bravado – it’s time to accept the fact that we’re human beings, not robots.

        Changing moods

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