By Jess Ekstrom, Guest Blogger
Running a business is hard. There, I said it. I started my company, Headbands of Hope, when I was a college student. It started off as almost a hobby. I had no idea it was going to turn into my full-time job after graduation. Fast-forward three years; I’m a full-time CEO and part-time author and professional speaker. Sometimes it feels like I have twenty balls in the air and not enough hands to juggle them.
Since I started my business, I got caught in a bad habit of making everything related to my company feel like life or death to me. Any time something went well like we got a media hit or a huge order, I felt like I won an Oscar. But any time something went wrong, I felt like walls were crashing down and the world didn’t have any color until I fixed the issue.
My whole life I had been pretty mellow with my attitude and emotions and it usually took me a lot to get worked up about anything. So when I started riding this roller coaster of emotions with my business, it started to take a toll on my mental and physical well-being.
One day when I was in “crisis” mode over a manufacturing error, I was so tired of feeling this way that I said to myself, “Do the best you can, and that’s it.”
Surprisingly, it was a very liberating feeling. The realization poured over me that all I can do is my best and nothing more. I can’t control the people around me or the weather for a photo shoot. All I can do is my best, and then the rest is out of my control.
When you’re trying really hard and taking risks to grow yourself or a business, sometimes things aren’t going to go your way or they won’t turn out as you expected. I’ve learned that instead of putting my time and energy into worrying and stressing about everything I can’t control, I focus on doing my best and creating a great company and that’s it. It’s amazing how your attitude and progress can change when you focus on what will move you forward and not what’s holding you back.
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Jess is the founder and CEO of her college startup, Headbands of Hope. For every headband purchased, one is given to a girl with cancer and $1 is donated to fund childhood cancer research. She loves speaking on college campuses through CAMPUSPEAK and has recently launched her first book, The Freshman Fabulous: The Girl's Guide to College. When she's not working or speaking, she enjoys trying new foods, doing crossfit, writing (especially for IATG!), taking improv classes, being outside, and helping others find their path to help the world.