Today, I’m going to give you five main reasons that you feel overwhelm in business, and share what you can do about it right now to get the fire and passion back and get yourself back on track.
Since 2006, I have built three very successful companies and I’m now in the process of building my fourth business, so I know what it’s like to build a company from scratch. I also know about the associated stress and burnout that can happen – the exhaustion, the struggle, and the fear that come along with building a new venture and growing a successful company. I’m no stranger to feeling burnt out, and have personally had thoughts of closing my companies down and letting it all go. It’s totally normal, and you’re not alone.
Causes of Overwhelm in Business
So today, I want to talk to you about these five main causes of overwhelm in business that my clients and I have experienced, and what you can do about them right now. What’s most important as that we get you back on track in your business, because I know your goals are big and your passion is bigger – and you deserve to run your business in a way that truly lights you up!
1. Being Stuck In The Details
The first thing I want to talk to you about is this feeling of being stuck in the mud – or feeling stuck in the details or like there’s never enough time to get it all done. You might also be feeling like you never make progress or move forward. If this is you, there’s usually a very simple fix – which is a big picture vision or plan. Having a plan is an important strategy that serves two purposes.
First, a vivid vision gets you excited again and reminds you of your purpose or goal for actually running and growing your company. However, it also helps you step away from the chaos and puts you back in control because you remember there is a reason behind everything you’re doing. It’s not just chaos and madness. There is a big picture behind the day to day, and you’re actually more organized and on track than you thought.
So give it a shot – build a 12 month and 3 year plan for your company. Think about where the industry is going, new products, or revenue – whatever gets you excited – and build that vivid vision for yourself. Then pare it down to a 12 month plan that you can attach to lift you off the ground. Let the details be the details for the moment and zoom out to really ground yourself in that plan and the knowledge that you have everything under control.
2. Not Focusing on the Right Things
The second thing that might have you feeling overwhelmed, out of control, and burned out is that you may not be focusing on the right things. You only have so many hours in a day – ideally a maximum of eight hours in your workday. Maybe this is a no brainer for you, but you need to prioritize. If you don’t have an organized task list, you are likely in need of a bit more structure.
In my company, what always gives me peace of mind is knowing my P1, P2, and P3 (that is Priority One, Priority Two, and Priority Three). I have a habit of sitting down at least once a week and looking at my monthly, quarterly, and annual goals. Then I bring that back down to my weekly commitments, and then even down to my daily tasks, so I know exactly what I need to focus on. BAD NEWS: This may not always be the work you want to work on. It may not always be what you enjoy most, but it’s what has to get done in order for you to make progress and move forward.
3. Not Working in Your Sweet Spot
The third thing you want to look at is whether you’re actually working in your superpower, or your sweet spot. As business owners, many of us have this idea that we have to do it all ourselves, especially in the beginning when you launch your company. You may feel like you don’t have the financial resources to get help or hire support, so you have to do it all yourself. And then what happens? You literally do it all. As a business owner, it’s important that you’re able to do this so you know how the business works and you can run it, but it can quickly become a dangerous habit. In the long term, in order for you to feel like you’re really enjoying the business and get out of (or totally avoid) overwhelm, it’s key for you to understand what your sweet spot or superpower really is.
When you work in alignment with your true desire and your skills, your work does not feel like work. I can tell you from experience that when I do work that I dread or is hard for me, that’s when I feel anxiety and overwhelm coming on. But when I work on things that I enjoy or that come easily to me, my work doesn’t feel like work and I could do it all day long.
It can take time to learn what your sweet spot is, so I want to give you two strategies to jumpstart to figuring out what it is that you are really born to do. First, look at your tendency towards people or away from people – also called your extroversion or introversion. Second, it’s a really good exercise for you to take a personality test. There are a couple different personality tests out there – including the DISC assessment and the Myers-Briggs, to name a few. These tests will give you insights on what type of person you really are, what your strengths and weaknesses are, and what you really enjoy doing. Then as a business owner, really take control and place yourself in areas within your business that light you up. If you don’t like writing, don’t be the writer. If you don’t like the creative side, stay away from that. So, really honor your nature and your superpower and work in that space as much as possible so that you can feel aligned and joyful while doing the work you do.
4. A Lack of Support
Not being supported is our fourth reason for overwhelm in business. This might be the easiest fix of them all because this is simply about hiring help. As business owners, we have a tendency to feel like we’re responsible for everything (as we also saw rear it’s ugly head in Reason #3). We have to do it all ourselves and we cannot get any help. So hiring support really starts with you giving yourself permission to bring someone into your company and give over control.
I know from personal experience that it’s sometimes really hard to surrender control to someone else. For the longest time, I managed my own Facebook ads because I thought that there was nobody out there who would do it just like me. Nobody would give it as much attention as I gave it – and because lead generation is such an important part of every company, I was so resistant to hand it over to someone else. Finally, it came to the point where I knew I had to delegate this task because it was interfering with other important projects that I needed to handle. So, I found an A player. I found an expert. And to my surprise, this person is actually better at running our ads than I am!
As I learned, you might even surprise yourself when you bring someone new into your company. They bring fresh ideas and new perspectives, and they’re excited about doing the work! They want to help you, and they could be the missing piece to getting out of overwhelm, freeing up some of your time, working less hours so you’re not physically tired, and helping you get back on track. So give yourself the gift of support. Stop working 12- or 16-hour days. Your business is there to help you live a beautiful life.
5. Only Seeking Significance
The last thing I want to talk to you about today is maybe the most important one, and this may be something that you have never considered but that could really contribute to your overwhelm in business and give you the feeling that it’s just not filling you up anymore.
For the longest time in the beginning of my business, I was seeking significance. I was under the impression that I had to make a lot of money, be very famous, have a lot of clients, have a lot of visibility, and always beat myself – I needed to have more, and more, and more. That was my idea of growing a business and being happy with myself. I was driven by this never-ending hunger to achieve more. And what happened was that it fueled me in the beginning – to the point that I worked longer and harder than anybody else. I thought that I could carry more, go for longer, and be stronger than anybody else out there. And YES, we reached amazing milestones as my company grew quickly and I hit goals I never thought possible before.
However, my happiness and my fulfillment only lasted for a little while. When you’re in this cycle of setting big goals and reaching them and then setting even greater goals and reaching them, eventually your goals become so big that they’re almost unreachable. Maybe you know what I’m talking about. Maybe secretly you’re wondering, “Why am I doing all of this? Where is this going? Why am I not happy right now? And what’s missing?”
So your overwhelm in business might actually be coming from lack of fulfillment. It may not be actual physical exhaustion or overwhelm with tasks. It may just be an emptiness that you’re feeling right now. And if deep down, you know that’s causing your sense of overwhelm, I want to encourage you to really ask yourself what really fills you up. What are you proving? Who are you proving it to? And why are you doing it? Is it contribution? Is it your purpose? Is it feeling love? Is it feeling joyful? Is it feeling fulfilled every single day?
What I have found for myself is that making more money and growing my company even more is not really what I’m looking for. Yes, it’s great, and yes, my companies will continue to grow. We have big goals and we have fun doing it. But what I’m looking for more than anything is a daily sense of peace, fulfillment, gratitude, and appreciation of myself, feeling good enough, and feeling under control and free. So in order for me to be happy, I actually don’t have to hit these big goals. I have to feel content with what I have right now and eager for more. Satisfied with what I have right now, and at peace, fulfilled, easy going, and excited for more if and when it comes.
I hope this makes sense when you’re searching for a feeling of just being okay, in control, and not overwhelmed. Maybe what you’re struggling with right now is a lack of true purpose, but not really knowing what you want and how to get it. So take a long, hard look at love, your emotions, your intuition, and yourself. Know what you really want and what you’re not allowing yourself to achieve. Maybe hitting even bigger goals and growing your company even more is not what you’re really looking for, and that’s okay.
What are you feeling right now? Are you feeling overwhelm in business, and if so, have you found any of these tips really helpful? How will you apply them going forward?
Stay focused on your goals, and don’t let the overwhelm take over. It’s a form of self sabotage, and you deserve to have a beautiful business and a beautiful life. I believe in you.