(AKA give yourself more brain space so you can grow your business!)
Most clients I work with are stressed out and say their heads feel full. They get stuck in their business and say they don’t have time to work on it. They can’t progress because they can’t see where that time will come from, much less where it’s all going. And it stresses them out. And that stress is the problem. But there’s no magic pill to take to remove stress. Something else has got to change.
Typically, we’re responsible for creating stress in our lives. I know that is a controversial stance to take. But I urge you to keep an open mind. I aim to change your mind.
You see, I see this responsibility for our own stress as good news actually. Because if we are responsible for creating most of this stress, that means we have the power to STOP creating it. Am I right?!
Busy-ness Does Not Equate Productivity
So just how much do you have going on right now?
If you’re like most people, your schedule is probably pretty full. Between work, family, and other obligations, there’s always something to do. With busyness, though, comes stress. Even when you’re doing things you enjoy, having a lot on your plate can create stressful situations.
So how do you put an end to creating more stress in your life, but still get done the things you want to do most? I know you like the idea of taking things off your plate, so let’s look at how you can take some things off your plate…without actually removing anything from your plate.
Stop Creating Stress By Being so Goal-Oriented
If you’re rushing around trying to get everything done at once, micromanaging, and insisting on being in charge, you’re going to be stressed. It’s easy sometimes to get so wrapped up in accomplishing things you forget to breathe. Anytime you’re too goal-oriented, you need to ask yourself why you’re doing what you’re doing in the first place. Is it possible you’re setting some goals which are too lofty? Are you involved in things you shouldn’t be wasting your time on?
Sometimes goals conflict. Or they have conflicting priorities. So take some time to assess the activities that make it to your calendar and sneak into your day. It’s important to know which goals are most important and which ones can wait. I recommend limiting yourself to 1 big goal and 3 smaller supporting goals at most at any given time. This is especially important to help you stay focused with growing a business or making changes to your habits.
Balance Does Exist
Another way to look at this is through the balance you have in your life right now. I know this is another controversial statement. Many coaches right now are alluding to the fact that there isn’t ever really any balance in life. I disagree. You don’t need to hustle and rush your way through life to grow the business of your dreams and have the family and health and marriage and spiritual relationships you desire too. I firmly believe there is a way to have all of that WITHOUT the ongoing overwhelming stress. It’s why I do what I do.
Download my Life Balance Wheel exercise to find where life feels out of balance for you. Then work on adjusting your calendar to support the balance you seek. *Remember…balance looks different for everyone and it won’t necessarily be equal attention to all aspects of your life. But if there are areas you are neglecting and you feel stressed, that means a change is in order.*
Quit Talking Down to Yourself
It’s incredibly stressful when other people put you down. When this happens you might find yourself stewing on their comments for weeks on end. It’s an all consuming place to be in. It’s no different when we do this to ourselves. When your internal dialogue is full of failure, negative comments, and reminders of past mistakes, it’s tough to get things done, or even to feel good about your efforts.
Raise your awareness to catch yourself doing this. And when you notice it, give yourself grace. Beating yourself up for beating yourself up serves no one. Shift your internal dialogue to a more understanding or neutral tone if shifting immediately to a voice of love is difficult (which it often is). Get curious and to the bottom of why you are talking to yourself like that and make a commitment to yourself to reduce your stress by NOT talking to yourself like that.
Learn to Better Handle Conflict
Few people enjoy confrontation. If you’re not handling conflict well, you’re going to be stressed out. The solution? Learn necessary communication skills.
Start these conversations with neutralizing comments like, “I see we disagree” “I’m sure we can come to a mutual conclusion”, or “Let’s figure this out together”. No matter what, it’s important to prioritize dealing with conflict.
Similar to speaking poorly about yourself, conflict that is left to fester will create internal stress and consume your thoughts until it’s handled. Skillfully verbalizing your point and managing difficult conversations is crucial to reducing stress.
Stop Expecting Failure
This has been touched on before when discussing negative self-talk. Expecting failure runs deeper, though. This kind of reasoning can stop you from trying in the first place. Even if you do try, you’re going to be so stressed out, you’re likely to self-sabotage and wind up failing after all.
Instead, try expecting nothing. I know it doesn’t sound super inspiring and (once again) steps outside the box of what you hear most coaches preaching, but it’s a shorter leap between failure to nothing than it is from failure to success.
Another option is to play the “what if” game. Ask yourself “what if this does fail?” And then write down everything that comes to mind. Get it all out. Is it really as bad as you think? Are the things you wrote down realistic or pretty far-fetched? Are they tolerable consequences and risks you’re willing to take?
Stop Creating Stress By Doing Too Much (AKA Not Doing Enough of the Right Things)
Here is the heart of the matter. Most people tend to overcommit. When your schedule is booked solid, it’s normal to feel stressed out. Here is where a reality check helps. Write out your schedule for the next week, and ask yourself which of these items or truly expendable and which of these are truly necessary. It might be time to reassess your priorities.
And if you don’t have down time and self-care scheduled in, it’s time to make room for that. No arguments allowed here. My coach has taught me very well that you simply cannot pour from an empty cup (1).
While there is no cure-all to getting rid of stress in your life altogether, by following these steps, you can reduce it. Remember, the key lies in being intentional and refusing to let stress take over your life. Let me know in the comments how you plan to stop creating stress in your life and grow your business. And don’t forget to grab your free ebook to help you find your calm!