Being an entrepreneur is a difficult challenge and to be fair, nobody said it was going to be any different. Balancing the needs of a family and personal life alongside a growing business with its strategies and execution can be a stressful time [understatement].
That being said, It’s 7am as I type this, I’m sitting outside at a table on my balcony. I’m overlooking a bustling street of people on their way to work, heads buried in mobile phones, power-walking with a vengeance – as I quietly sip my coffee and watch my fingers dance across the keyboard.
With so many parts of your life demanding attention, it’s so easy to become overwhelmed. Don’t be mistaken by my quiet coffee sipping, I know this feeling all too well – at the moment I’m juggling plenty.
Administering coaching and therapy to clients around the world, dealing with a 4-year old hyper-intelligent daughter who is continually searching for new wisdom, constructions of an 8-week highly intensive global coaching program, creating ‘just us’ time with my wife, all aspects of my own marketing and business development and execution, a busy script-writing, recording and production schedule, scheduled radio interviews all across the planet (meaning that I’m frequently chatting away at 2am and 3am) So, yeah – It’s safe to say that I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed at the moment.
Fortunately, I have a modicum of experience coping with the feelings of being overwhelmed by the responsibilities of my life. I’ve learned many coping mechanisms that enable me to not only deal with feelings of being overwhelmed, but to thrive.
I’d like to share 3 of them with you today.
Be in the moment – Mindfulness.
Just STOP and be mindful of your present moment. As an entrepreneur, things will naturally pile up and you will start to feel overwhelmed by tasks ahead, but don’t panic. What you may be feeling is anxiety – that’s when you become stressed and worried about what might happen in the future, not what you’re dealing with here in the present. Practicing mindfulness and focusing on the current moment can give you a reprieve from the thoughts and concerns that cause the anxiety.
What’s my priority?
No matter how talented or motivated an entrepreneur you are, it’s impossible to do everything at once, so stop trying. Multi-tasking has been proven NOT to work as effectively as focussing on one task at a time and smashing it. So, the best way to dig out of an overwhelming situation is to pick your top priorities and work from there.
At first glance, everything seems to be vying for your attention, everything seems to be equally as important, and this is why prioritization can seem difficult for many entrepreneurs. However, by being totally present in the moment, here and now, you realize that isn’t the case. It’s always possible to prioritize things in your life; it just isn’t always easy.
Life is invariably a great big lesson in how to juggle. Try to imagine that some of the balls are made of glass and shatter when dropped while others are made of rubber and will always bounce back.
When juggling priorities, I’d like you to imagine that matters of the heart, relationships, family and personal fulfilment are made of glass. If you drop them, they’re irreparably damaged. Work, on the other hand, is rubber. Even if you make terrible mistakes and drop the ball, it always bounces back. The key to your happiness is recognizing which ball is which.
Over the last couple of days, I’ve been pondering over my own priorities. Realising that some attention may have slipped – I have quickly repositioned them back to where they should be.
My first priorities are the needs of my daughter and wife. That ball is made of very fragile glass, but it is by far the most beautiful ball to juggle and I do my best to protect it.
My second priority is my company. Placing your company in second position means that it is often in a higher position than on most other people’s priorities list. Being an entrepreneur isn’t just about dealing with your job, it’s about being a leader of a company, you may have many people who depend on you, including team, clients, and investors.
My third priority is my personal fulfilment. I believe that if you’ve taken care of your family and your company, then you have the right to focus on yourself. Again, do not be mistaken – my personal fulfilment is quite separate from my health and well-being (which without question isn’t even a ball to juggle – it’s a part of my existence). Clearly defining these priorities makes dealing with even the most overwhelming of situations more manageable.
It’s all about progression, not perfection.
It’s important to learn to accept imperfection. Perfection is an unattainable goal, and anyone who thinks otherwise is deluded. We live in an imperfect world and we’re all fallible, so it’s time to realise that sometimes your best is good enough.
This applies to both life as an entrepreneur and your personal life. Sometimes, it’s better to let the housework slide to make time to playing with your child. Sometimes it’s better to give responsibilities to others rather than doing everything yourself. Learning to accept imperfection enables you to keep moving forward, and that’s precisely what you need to do when you’re feeling overwhelmed.
Being overwhelmed doesn’t have to lead to anxiety or excessive stress. The trick is to make sure that you stay in the moment, pick your priorities, and accept imperfection. Once you do this, you’ll find yourself in the position to overcome the challenges you face and move forward with confidence
Happy trail-blazing my entrepreneurial friends.