Debbie Downer

View From Behind As CEO Addresses Meeting In Boardroom


In one of my more recent articles I wrote about the importance of finding honest and critical negative feedback when you are an entrepreneur. But entrepreneurship is a risky business. I know that is not a revolutionary idea. But many small businesses fail. Actually, MOST fail. According to Forbes magazine 8 out of 10 small businesses fail. Those are daunting odds. So it is not at all surprising that to be successful take certain about of boldness and courage.


But if the odds are so bleak and one of the major best practices is to surround yourself with critical and honest feedback, how do you keep yourself from becoming a Debbie Downer surrounded by Debbie Downers? If you don’t know who Debbie Downer is she was a character on Saturday Night Live played by Rachel Dratch, who had the uncanny ability to find a gray storm cloud in every silver lining.


The truth is entrepreneurship is hard and though those who have been successful can make it look like it was effortless and easy, while it normally is not. Though we all know that it is 1% idea and 99% perspiration, much of the media that covers starting your business focuses on showing proven successes, which can make it seem otherwise. I would go even further to say it is 99% perspiration against the odds.


If it is so hard starting your own business and you know the odds are stacked against you how do you keep from being a Debbie Downer? One, remind yourself it is hard. If it was easy everyone would be doing it. People who have been successful and make it seem like they got successful effortlessly are lying or at the very least having selective memory. Two, you are not alone. Many people have been where you have been and many people ARE where you are right now. Find others who are in similar situations so you can support each other. Find mentors, who have been there before and share how they got through it. Three, make time for you. To do the best job for your own business you have to be your best self. You can’t be your best self if you are running on empty. I can’t stress this enough. When you are starting your own business it’s hard not to think you should be working 24/7 and there is a common myth out there that the only way to succeed is to give 100% all the time. But it is not physically or emotionally possible. It’s a myth. You know what you need to do for your business. Manage your time wisely and don’t just work 24/7 because you feel guilty if you aren’t.


Lastly, find what helps to re-charge you mentally, spiritually, and creatively. There are certain individuals that when I am around them their energy helps spark my own. Sometimes I need to take a long walk to help focus my mind and emotions after a long day. Other times I want take time to adventure into a new experience. Figure out what helps you be the better version of you and make sure you make time for it.


If you feel like you are becoming a Debbie Downer try some of these tips. If you think someone in your life is becoming a Debbie Downer don’t let them take you down. If you are starting your own business chances are time and energy are precious. Don’t let Debbie Downers waste either of yours.



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