How to Overcome Overwhelm
If you’re going to start a business, it’s a fact that you’re going to be under pressure.
A lot of pressure.
You must live with the uncertainty of whether it will work out or not, not to mention with the constant financial pressure of supporting the business and keeping it going. And you’ve got to know how to handle it because there can come a point when it all starts to feel too much, starts to get on top of you.
When this feeling of overwhelming gets the upper hand, you start to hate yourself and procrastinate, neither of which will do your business any good.
Why the self-loathing?
We grow up feeling sensitive to pain and negative circumstances.
We develop an inner voice, an inner critic, one which does us no favours at all.
It likes to build us up: ‘You’re the best entrepreneur in the world. No one comes close to you.’
Then when things go wrong (or even when they don’t), it likes to tear us down and chastise us — ‘What on Earth possessed you to think someone like you could be successful?’ — and, ultimately, makes us feel worse about ourselves.
Why the procrastination?
Deep down, we’re scared to fail. That’s what’s going on. We’re scared.
We invest our time, money and other resources into our business, pulling out all the stops to make it work and knowing, all the while, there’s a very real chance we may not make it. It creates a lot of pressure and when it becomes too overwhelming, the pressure saps our energy and hinders our ability to think and act rationally, too.
We’re frightened, we have little or no energy and we’re struggling to focus properly.
These are debilitating circumstances and cause us to procrastinate when, really, we should be getting things done.
How to handle the overwhelm
It’s not easy, but you’ve got to start dealing with the overwhelm before loathing, procrastination and other counterproductive states and behaviours kick in.
That’s why when you start building a business, you should develop some coping skills, too, for the times when things feel a bit hairy.
Here are a few strategies:
Acknowledge the overwhelm and get into the present moment
It’s understandable you’re anxious, nervous or feeling unsure.
These are all overpowering feelings and the best thing to do is just accept the overwhelm.
Then you can start dealing with the overwhelm itself — and that’s the time to get into the present moment.
Forget about the future. Forget about the past.
Do whatever you’ve got to do to bring yourself into the here and now, and then concentrate on the task at hand.
Don’t think about the next task or the one after that. Just focus on completing the present one.
Face the fear
Sometimes we focus so much on our fear of something happening (or not happening) that we let it overpower us.
Yet have we ever stopped to think about what we would do if our fears came true?
Have we even stopped to consider whether the situation would be as bad as we imagine?
Examine the fear in depth and you’ll likely find a way to work through it.
Knowing how you’ll respond will lessen the overwhelm because you’ll have a plan in place (or at least an idea of what your next steps would be).
I know that’s not easy to do under the circumstances, but you’ve got to relax.
Let’s look at it another way: stressing out over finding the solutions isn’t doing you any good. It’s making things more difficult, in fact.
Think of the last time you had a problem and how you dealt with it. Perhaps you didn’t take it as hard as your current problem(s) and were able to resolve the issue(s) calmly.
Well then? Try to reinvoke that state.
Remind yourself of your self-worth, too — to drown out that nasty little voice inside — and of what’s important in your life. You’ll start to find a way.
Take care of yourself
That self-loathing we talked about earlier…. You need to stop it from raising its ugly head. Achieve this by being good to yourself.
Do things that make you feel good (you deserve them) in some way.
By that I mean productive activities such as exercise, yoga or other pursuits that are healthy, uplifting or positive.
You’ll feel calmer and be able to see things from a much better perspective.
Head down and get to work
Starting up a business isn’t for the faint-hearted.
I can tell you now: there will be times when things are going to get tough.
But you’ve got to know that the situation is never hopeless, so don’t listen to the negative voice inside.
Accept and improve how you’re feeling, concentrate on one task at a time and prepare for the (potential) worst case scenario.
These will lessen the overwhelm, and help you do what it takes to come out of the other side.
You ready? Let’s get to work.