Questions to Ask Before Giving Up

Some days you just feel really awful. Whatever project you’re working on, whatever job is paying the bills, whatever stresses life has on you…It feels like a constant uphill battle and you just feel like giving up. Thankfully the internet is full of wonderful and inspiring ways to stay motivated. Whenever I start to feel this way, I like to refer to this list of “questions to ask before giving up”. This was originally published on a now famous tumblr that has been reblogged over 150,000 times. So I guess I’m not the only one who finds it motivational. Hope you will too!

Are you hydrated? If not, have a glass of water.

Have you eaten in the past three hours? If not, get some food — something with protein, not just simple carbs. Perhaps some nuts or hummus?

Have you showered in the past day? If not, take a shower right now.

If daytime: are you dressed? If not, put on clean clothes that aren’t pajamas. Give yourself permission to wear something special, whether it’s a funny t-shirt or a pretty dress.

If nighttime: are you sleepy and fatigued but resisting going to sleep? Put on pajamas, make yourself cozy in bed with a teddy bear and the sound of falling rain, and close your eyes for fifteen minutes — no electronic screens allowed. If you’re still awake after that, you can get up again; no pressure.

Have you stretched your legs in the past day? If not, do so right now. If you don’t have the spoons for a run or trip to the gym, just walk around the block, then keep walking as long as you please. If the weather’s crap, drive to a big box store (e.g. Target) and go on a brisk walk through the aisles you normally skip.

Have you said something nice to someone in the past day? Do so, whether online or in person. Make it genuine; wait until you see something really wonderful about someone, and tell them about it.

Have you moved your body to music in the past day? If not, do so — jog for the length of an EDM song at your favorite BPM, or just dance around the room for the length of an upbeat song.

Have you cuddled a living being in the past two days? If not, do so. Don’t be afraid to ask for hugs from friends or friends’ pets. Most of them will enjoy the cuddles too; you’re not imposing on them.

Do you feel ineffective? Pause right now and get something small completed, whether it’s responding to an e-mail, loading up the dishwasher, or packing your gym bag for your next trip. Good job!

Do you feel unattractive? Take a goddamn selfie. Your friends will remind you how great you look, and you’ll fight society’s restrictions on what beauty can look like.

Do you feel paralyzed by indecision? Give yourself ten minutes to sit back and figure out a game plan for the day. If a particular decision or problem is still being a roadblock, simply set it aside for now, and pick something else that seems doable. Right now, the important part is to break through that stasis, even if it means doing something trivial.

Have you seen a therapist in the past few days? If not, hang on until your next therapy visit and talk through things then.

Have you been over-exerting yourself lately — physically, emotionally, socially, or intellectually? That can take a toll that lingers for days. Give yourself a break in that area, whether it’s physical rest, taking time alone, or relaxing with some silly entertainment.

Have you changed any of your medications in the past couple of weeks, including skipped doses or a change in generic prescription brand? That may be screwing with your head. Give things a few days, then talk to your doctor if it doesn’t settle down.

Have you waited a week? Sometimes our perception of life is skewed, and we can’t even tell that we’re not thinking clearly, and there’s no obvious external cause. It happens. Keep yourself going for a full week, whatever it takes, and see if you still feel the same way then.

You’ve made it this far, and you will make it through. You are stronger than you think.


Peers, Mentors and Angels: 3 Whys to Develop Your Venture in an Incubator

From January to May this year, I was lucky to be part of the JCC Chicago’s social entrepreneurship program Seed613 where I was working on my start-up ‘creative: for good’, which connects millennial artists with non-profit organizations for meaningful advertising. Just like with most things in life, you don’t know what you have until it’s gone and this holds for start-up incubators as well.

For many (social) entrepreneurs, being part of a group of like-minded individuals helps them get their ventures off the ground more smoothly and quickly. This is especially true when you are at the very beginning of your entrepreneurial journey. An incubator can be the perfect bridge to move forward with your idea to execution – just like it was in my case.

Here’s why:

Resources, mentors & angels

Incubators will connect you with the right people, provide you with resources and give you guidance. Incubators are home to mentors, venture capitalists and angel investors. Many of them also provide tangible resources such as legal advice, accounting assistance or office space. Having all this in place allows the founders to focus on their startup and its core business and forget about the red tape at least for some time. As a fellow of the Seed613 Bootcamp at JCC Chicago, I too reaped many benefits. I was given guidance regarding the legal forms that I can consider for my start-up as well as advice on financial planning and budget – the scariest piece of my venture adventure.

Networking, networking, networking

One of the biggest benefits of developing your venture in an incubator is the access to a strong network of business partners, investors, venture capitalists, mentors and other entrepreneurs and founders – simply community. The community you will build while in the incubator will stay with you and you will realize that it is probably the most valuable thing you will take away from the entire experience. An incubator also gives you credibility and I can say with certainty that, without having been part of Seed613, I would have not had access to certain media outlets and business partners. A network can be extremely beneficial from a marketing and PR perspective, as well, because there is only so much you can do as a startup with a tiny budget.

Peer Support & Environment

For me, the most unexpected element of being part of a start-up boot camp was actually the environment and peer support. Every time I came for our session, I left energized and full of determination and commitment to bring my venture into life. Being in a group of like-minded individuals is extremely helpful especially at times when your motivation falters or when you feel a lack of energy or strength. Incubators are FULL of dynamic, creative, and smart people who want to make things happen. Their energy is contagious.

Being part of an incubator, accelerator or a start-up boot camp can play a defining role in bringing your idea to life and growing your startup. For me, it narrowed down the idea and brought it to its early stage execution including a business plan, website, social media presence and a first project. The value of the mentorship, the resources, and the network that Seed613 have brought to me have been instrumental to my determination to bring world-class advertising to non-profit organizations.