When running your own business you are the face of your brand. You are interacting with the public, networking, interacting with stockists and (mostly in all likelihood) interacting with your customers.
So it can be really difficult if you’re going through a tough time personally, or are super exhausted, to keep yourself smiling and being happy towards everyone all the time. This also raises the question, should you?
I recently was having a really hard day at work. I was in the middle of what would end up being a 20 hour day and was having a hard time keeping it together. For me working in events I am not just interacting with my clients/customers (my stallholders), but also members of the public, so when I’m down it can have a big impact. I’m generally considered to be a very happy person so when I’m not able to keep my mood off my face it doesn’t take very long for people to start asking if I’m ok/ what’s going on.
During the event I was at I had multiple people asking me if I was ok. Not just my staff, but also stallholders. So what do you say to all your clients and staff when you’re not ok and their asking? How much information is too much to share?
I’m a big advocate for not sweeping your feelings under the rug. As someone who deals with mental health issues on a day – to – day basis (I have a history of depression and suffer from anxiety) and the ongoing stigma around it, I don’t agree with not letting the important people around you know what is going on. But in these work situations it can become a tough balancing act as to how much information you share.
For me I weigh my relationship with people and how well they know me personally with how much I share with them. For my staff who are working with me during an event I will generally share more information as they may need to step up if I’m not feeling able to deal with certain situations. For the public who don’t know me at all I try and fake it as much as possible and step back if I can’t maintain a happy face. For my customers/clients though (which for me are my stallholders) I mostly try and give them a rough overview without going into too many details.
I believe that being honest with how I’m feeling will help them better understand if I don’t come across as cheery and happy like I usually do. On this particular day I simply let them know (if asked) that I wasn’t having a great day. I didn’t go into any details as to why as they didn’t need to know, but they would have felt I was being dishonest if I’d said that nothing was wrong.
Ultimately only you can decide how much information you share with people, or if you want to share at all. But we all have good days and bad, so why not at least be honest with each other about it? You might find that by talking about it you have someone who can help cheer you up or give you an alternative perspective on the situation you’re dealing with.