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Life comes with so much noise. People, media, business, sports teams, restaurants, shop brands… they’re all vying and screaming for our attention. So much choice, so many possibilities, doors and avenues that we could potentially explore. What is to be said for the entrepreneurial men and women who seek refuge and council from the daily pressures and responsibilities of not just work or business, but of life itself? What do you do when you feel overwhelmed? Who do you turn to? Do you cave in under the seemingly insurmountable deluge of pressure? As entrepreneurs, we are often guilty of bringing about our own noise and self-made pressures.
We are creators, often visionary. We love inventing and expressing multiple ideas all at the same time. We need to continually look up, see the bigger picture and rediscover our current GPS. Often depending on the current cycle within our business or endeavor alters the way we think and feel. There is something to be said of our current feelings and circumstances, they are temporary, and we need to stop seeing them as permanent. Here are six steps to help you obliterate the sense of feeling overwhelmed.
1) Think big picture We can often be blindsided by our current situation and endeavors. We often feel overwhelmed by the here and now. A mindset shift and realization that what we are currently going through will evolve and move us into a different realm can reassure you and it will also remind you to breath and consider the feelings in a wider context. It’s a great reminder that while feeling overwhelmed over long periods is not healthy for you, being out of your comfort zone is the best place to be. When we lose the tension between where we are now and where we want to be, we will stop growing. When we go through new challenges, difficulties and pressures that we’re unfamiliar with, we often have to go through the pain, stress, and overwhelming feelings during this transition period. Considering the bigger picture will keep you focused and reaching forward.
2) Prioritize There is always something to do; we all have an endless list of tasks, requirements, goals, and objectives. What do you do? Freeze, panic or become lethargic? When it comes to prioritizing, I look at which endeavor will give me the greatest return of investment on my time, money, and energy. Which one launches me forward towards my purpose and life vision? Which one plays to my strengths and harnesses my passion? Which task will open doors? Don’t be swayed by instant gratification, instead look at the end goal. Start with the end in mind. It’s about managing your energy, and not your time. Say yes to those things which play to your strengths and fuel your passions and say no to everything else. You are the author of your life.
3) Ask for help As entrepreneurs it can take years before we allow others to help us. We love to problem solve and we are great at it. We achieve more when we play to our strengths and hire our weaknesses. I have worked with a success buddy over the past two years. A success buddy is someone whom you trust, value, and who has a similar entrepreneurial mindset. Each Friday I meet for a coffee or have a 30 minute call with my success buddy. We discuss our wins, losses and challenges from the week- it’s a great way to lean on someone. Relationships do take a time investment, but when you have that level of honesty, trust and accountability, it’s much easier to ask for help because the key people are already around you. If you struggle with asking for help, you need to consider the people and framework that you’ve built. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness, it’s a need to build a relationship and it’s an acknowledgement than none of us are indestructible.
4) Take action When we are drowning in an overwhelming state, it’s essential that we don’t allow those feelings to paralyze us and stunt our action. Taking action wages war against this foe- if any of us die, let us die in battle. There is a right way to lose, a right way to be defeated, there is no room for self-sabotage in the entrepreneurial revolution. Be proactive, don’t just live a life that is reactive. ovHave a plan of action, work that plan, and always make room for the unexpected to happen- the very best plans come unstuck if there is no room for the unexpected.
5) Create boundaries Drawing lines prevents others from dumbing on you, and it also protects you from yourself. If you are a key influencer, everyone is going to want your time, mind, and listening-ear. Scheduling time out so that you can consider your own thoughts, and allowing your soul to speak to you is a great way to find solitude in the storm. The safest place within a tornado is in the very middle- amongst the chaos, noise and excitement, creating boundaries where you center yourself and find the eye of the storm is going to be hugely important to wrestle this adversary to the ground and keep him pinned.
6) Power down Do you have a switch-off time? Do you schedule a time to sleep? You should, otherwise we are all in danger of going to bed at 3a.m. because we never stop. We love what we do- it’s natural and exciting. Sleep deprivation is prevalent in the life of an entrepreneur, and it’s affecting your brand, results, and most importantly your capacity for decision-making. We must power down, and just like a computer you must do so via a process and not be tempted to just crash the system. Not using electronic devices an hour before bedtime helps your mind unwind. If you’re checking your email and thumbing-through social media just before bed, you are less likely to sleep as your mind is stimulated and aroused by ideas which often only trigger the overwhelming state of mind that we are trying to combat.