Being an entrepreneur is not easy, especially in the beginning, but even later on. There’s so much to learn and to do, so much information to filter through, no wonder that can be completely overwhelming. That overwhelm is like tuition fee to the school of hard knocks, a.k.a. Entrepreneurship.
If you’re there now: feeling like you don’t know what your next steps should be or where to even begin or paralyzed and unable to make a decision, then wait no more and read this. First, gain awareness by understanding why you feel overwhelmed and then pick one or two ay below that will help you deal with it.
5 Reasons Why Entrepreneurs Get Overwhelmed
1. Comparison to others
Social media is a fantastic way for many of us to run our businesses online. But on the other hand, it has a dark side to it that, if not controlled, can overshadow the bright side.
If you’re spending time scrolling through your FB or Instagram feed mindlessly, notice the pattern first. In the beginning, you enjoy the posts, comments, and contribute yourself.
But the longer you do that, the more you start comparing yourself to others. You look at their businesses’ successes beginning to think: “I’ll never get there. I’m not as good as them; I don’t have the same resources, I don’t know as much…” etc., etc. And by the time you finish, the fear of failure and imposter syndrome get activated. You’re so down that you don’t even feel like starting anything to move your business forward.
2. Too much to do
Running a business is a challenging and busy undertaking. And there’s always SO MUCH to do. If you wanted to, you could work 24/7/365 non-stop and sill not get it all done and just get burned out instead. Feeling overwhelmed is only a natural consequence of trying to do it all.
3. Focusing on the things, you can’t control
When you watch the news, read conspiracy theories on the latest events, get into discussions over things that you can’t really control or change, all it does to you is make you feel helpless at first and then hopeless. As humans, we like to instill change, be helpful and productive. If all we bring on ourselves throughout the day is a feeling that we can’t do or change anything, the will to action goes away … on our own request.
4. I want it all, and I want it now.
Those might be great lyrics for a song, but lack of patience doesn’t favor the entrepreneurs. Trying to jump to your BIG Hairy Audacious goals in one leap does nothing else but overwhelm you. Why? Because your logical brain tells you that such a huge jump is impossible. And you know it’s right.
I wrote about the Shiny Object Syndrome before, so I will make a quick point here. Distractions, such as social media, laundry, need to clean, etc., take you away from working on your business when you plan to.
Moreover, the realization that you wasted your time and didn’t move an inch forward often takes away the will to create and do the productive things in your business. You start building a habit for distraction, not creation, which in turn gets (yes, you guessed it) overwhelming.
Now that you know why you’re feeling overwhelmed let’s move on to how you can overcome it.
10 Things You Can Do to Deal with Overwhelm
1. Declutter your mind and environment
If your environment is messy, it’s hard to focus. So yes, do clean if needed but pick a time to do it separate from your business time. I’m sure you’ll feel much better and will get working on your business with a renewed spark of energy afterward.
Most importantly, though, declutter your mind. You don’t need to do it all, all the time. What you need is to focus on is 20% of the essential things in your business that brings you 80% of the results. And that’s best achieved when you’re clear on what’s important and prioritize those things. If challenges with prioritization are what you struggle most with, then my Ultimate Guide to Reduce Stress & Increase Results is what you need. It’s free, and you can download it here.
2. Build your patience muscle
Rome wasn’t built in one day as they say. As an entrepreneur, you need to have patience. Or if you don’t have it yet, learn it. Building a lasting successful business is a long-term game. What helps with it is being proactive, strategic, and patient.
How to develop your patience muscle?
Well, if you have kids, I’m sure they’re teaching you some right this moment (as mine do 😉). If you don’t or want to work at it more, be kind to yourself.
Self-care such as proper rest (sleep and time off), staying active, eating healthy, mindfulness is not a luxury. It’s a prerequisite to running a successful business.
As women, we often feel guilty when taking time for ourselves, but as a CEO, it’s your duty. You are the most critical asset of your business, and you need to invest in yourself. Self-care is an essential part of such investment. Once you do that, patience will follow along.
3. Focus on things you can control
I cannot stress this enough. All of us sometimes get into that trap of getting all wrapped up and upset over something we heard in the news. Unless you can do something about it, following the news is only going to shrink your circle of influence and drain your energy.
When energy is low, it’s hard to be motivated to run a business. But didn’t you start it to help others? Those clients are waiting for you to find them, to solve their problems and bring them closer to their dreams.
When you focus on things that you can control in your life, you do make a positive change in the world, one client at a time. And the more you help, the more you expand your circle of influence.
4. Break down your goals
Big Hairy and Audacious Goals are great to start working on your dream. But if you leave them at that, they’ll overwhelm you.
The trick is to break them down int into small achievable chunks. When you do that, you can then take one step at a time towards them.
Why is it important? Because one step doesn’t feel overwhelming; it’s more like: “oh yes, I can do that!” So when you take it and progress one step after another, and then combine it with focus and patience; there’s nothing that can stop you from achieving your BHAG’s. You’ll climb that mountain, and to others it’ll seem like you did it in one big leap.
Writing down your thoughts has magical powers. And not only for your mind to keep it calm and focused on your goals but also for creativity.
Ideas come to us all the time, but if we don’t write them down right away, they will dissipate in the vast abyss of other thoughts never to be remembered again. What if an idea you had while driving was the 1million $ idea?
So, create a habit of having a notebook with you at all times. Jot down ideas that come to you and review them from time to time. I also use my journal for planning, gratitude, and content creation. It’s one of the essential tools in my business and personal development.
Planning is being pro-active. Planning is knowing the three most important things you need to accomplish each day, each week, and each month. Planning reduces the number of urgent things that pop-up unexpectedly each day, raging havoc in your business and just adding to a never-ending to-do list. It reduces overwhelm.
Dale Carnegie said: An hour of planning can save you 10 hrs of doing.
7. Control what you do on social media
As you read above, social media is great when you use it for or your business but evil when it sucks you into comparison and mindless scrolling.
Keep your phone at bay when you focus on business work that doesn’t require you to be there. Stay alert and aware when you’re online to notice when you start drifting to the scrolling mode instead of business work.
The key is to be aware and catch yourself. You can then re-shift your focus from comparison to growing your business.
Also, please don’t look at your phone the minute you wake up. Take time to ground yourself for the day first.
8. Ask for help
When you feel overwhelmed, talking to a supportive friend, spouse, mentor, or coach will help. Getting stuff out of our head helps, and journaling can accomplish that too.
However, getting a different perspective on things takes that experience to a whole new level. Talking with another human can create breakthroughs, bring you clarity on things that are right in front of your nose, but you can’t see them because you’re too close to your problem.
So, who are you going to talk to today?
9. Take time to reflect
Sometimes it’s good to pause, look back, and map your progress.
It makes you appreciate how much you’ve accomplished in your business. You can feel grateful for good things that happened, and for the lessons you’ve learned from more challenging moments.
Such reflection allows you to breathe, calm your mind, and restore motivation to keep going.
10. Do something you love.
Take a break and do something you love: watch a movie, eat chocolate (with moderation 😉), or go for a walk. Nurturing our inner child helps us stay in an abundance mindset. This mindset supports motivation, willingness to act, and kills overwhelm.
Before you go, remember, overwhelm is a feeling we all experience at times. The key to success here is learning how to overcome it and not let it paralyze you.
I hope that these ten steps can help you do that. However, if you already know that you need a step by step plan personalized to your unique situation, then I’m here for you. All you need to do is schedule a free initial consultation with me here.