I had never experienced anything quite like it before. When we first launched our product, orders came flying in and we received coverage from some of the top tech outlets in a matter of days. It seemed like it wouldn't end. Yet only a few months later, the media stopped calling and customer orders turned into fulfillment issues. The honeymoon was over.
Those are the hard moments when the negative thoughts start taking over. You start to question yourself. Am I good enough? Is this company going to succeed? I have no idea what I'm doing. What happens if I fail?
And that's when you know you're in the dip.
The dip is when most people break down. It's a time of struggle right after the excitement of early success. A time when you don't see the light at the end of the tunnel. But if you survive the dip, you'll come out the other side stronger than you can imagine.
Here are 10 tactics to help you keep the faith and moving forward when you're on the verge of giving up.
Feel the dip
This is big. Give yourself permission to feel the dip. Don't try to fight it or make yourself feel better simply by silencing the negative emotions. Embrace where you are in the moment without any judgment or expectation that things should be anything other than what they are.
See doubt as a positive
Doubt and skepticism don't have to result in paralysis. Instead, a healthy dose of skepticism forces us to confront and validate our beliefs, ideas and choices over and over. It's a gut check that helps ensure you that you are on the right track.
Meditation is a path to letting go of negative thoughts and behavior, and discovering new ways to cope with stress. A strong meditation practice can help you stay calm then things are sideways and increase your sense of awareness.
Remember how good recess felt in grade school? Remember the saying is "Work hard, play hard," not "work hard, work hard." Making time for play in your life -- whether it's singing, dancing, or hiking your favorite trail -- will add joy to your life to balance the stress and anxiety even in the deepest abyss of the dip.
Contraction leads to expansion
Opportunity follows disappointment and expansion follows contraction. In my experience, as long as I keep my faith and stay focused on the goal, the dips always lead to my greatest expansion and achievement.
Stick to your convictions
What do you believe in? Knowing the answer to this question and being truly committed to your values will help you stay focused on the big picture. Let your convictions be your guide and sustain you through tough times.
Find the good in experiences
Every experience is an opportunity to learn. Victories are exciting, but there is also something to learn from challenges and mistakes. When you find yourself frustrated, ask yourself, what is there for me to learn from this experience? How does this experience serve me?
Much like meditation, exercise can train your brain to respond differently to stress. Even if you don't exercise regularly, a 20 minute walk can work wonders for your mood. Developing a regular exercise habit can result in increased energy and productivity, better sleep, an improved better sense of overall well-being.
Talk it out
It's dangerous to get stuck in your own head. When you're feeling doubt or reeling from a set back, reach out to a mentor or someone with more experience. These trusted advisors will help you put things into perspective and maybe even offer much needed encouragement.
Keep a gratitude journal
Start writing down three things you're grateful for each night before bed. When things get bad, you can go back and read this gratitude journal to remind yourself of how much there is to be grateful for in your life. It's also great proof that things tend to work out for the better.
We all experience the dip at some point and for many entrepreneurs, the dip can become the breaking point. However, if you can keep faith in your ideas and focus on your goals, the dip can make you an even stronger, more resilient entrepreneur.