Can’t Keep Up? 3 Steps to End Overwhelm for Good

rocks-flickr-5644266400_9f787b9858_z

rocks-flickr-5644266400_9f787b9858_zImage credit: Jyrki Salmi

You have a lot on your plate.

At times, it seems like you’re being tossed about in an ocean of endless deliverables, projects, responsibilities and ideas. Some days, you wonder how long you can actually continue to keep your head above the water.

Well, say good-bye to those days. Because when you master this simple three-step process, you will have an inflatable life raft that you can hop on at any time that the tide of overwhelm starts to rise up around you.

To be truly productive {defined as making progress toward and achieving your goals}, you need clarity and focus.

When you are clear and focused, you are remarkably productive, efficient and confident ~ not to mention motivated as you see all the progress you’re making.

But how do you get this all-important clarity and focus when you have a mountain of tasks {both large and small} screaming at you?

You get there by taking a step off the hamster wheel so that you can take a good look at all that you have on your plate, see it for what it really is, and prioritize it. Then {and only then} can you create an effective, efficient and productive plan of action.

Let’s break the process down into a bit more detail. . . . 

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The Great Success Hoax: Why You Should Eat Dessert First

dessert before dinner

dessert before dinnerImage credit: The Beautiful Mess via Wow Factor Cakes

Most articles and other well-intentioned tips for business success are focused on productivity and doing more in your business to increase your profits.

While much of this advice is helpful, it often leaves you feeling like you need to continue to do more and to give more to a business that has an endless and all-consuming thirst for more of you, your time and your energy.

In fact, our Western culture glorifies stress, struggle and sacrifice for the good of the business as necessary rites of passage that business owners wear like a badge of courage.

We tend to equate being impossibly busy with being on the road to success and we’re quick to let others know how busy and stressed we are. Yeah, I know I don’t have a life, but you know how it is when you own your own business. . . .

What if I told you that the #1 most important thing you could do for the success of your business is to focus the first 2 hours of every day to caring for yourself?

{sound of screeching brakes} What?! 

The reason this sounds so crazy is because we buy into the “dessert-after-dinner” rule that says you are allowed to do something for yourself only if and when you finish all your work.

Let me ask you this: In the midst of this endlessly thirsty business that you own, when exactly is that going to happen?

Here’s the thing:

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Conscious Uncoupling in Your Business

Keep Calm and Let Go

Keep Calm and Let GoImage courtesy of Randy Heinitz

We’ve all seen the headlines, and no doubt the snarky commentary, about the recent announcement by Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin that they are embarking on a “conscious uncoupling” of their 10-year marriage.

(If you somehow missed this bit of “news” ~ and, good for you for being so unplugged! ~ you can view the announcement by Gwyneth Paltrow on her lifestyle blog here if you are interested.)

This concept of “conscious uncoupling” dovetailed so nicely with my post last week, 3 Questions Your Business Wants You to Ask, that it inspired some thoughts you may find valuable for your business.

The purpose of asking yourself the three questions suggested by your business is to bring more clarity to the path you are on so that you can more clearly see your next best step forward to experiencing your ideal business.

You may have gone through that exercise and gotten crystal clear about someone or something in your business that is not moving you closer to your goals {which means they are driving you further from them}, or that exists only due to inertia rather than a conscious choice, or that you have been tolerating or settling for less than what is possible for you.

Great! Next comes the inevitable question . . . Now what?!

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3 Questions Your Business Wants You to Ask

Waiting for your call

“vintage
Mark J P via Compfight

A funny thing happened on my way to write this blog post. Just as I was wondering what topic would be most valuable to you this week, I got a call.

The call was from your business. The conversation went something like this:

Your Biz: Hey, I have a message for your blog post today that will really help my owner to move forward. You see, she’s really feeling stuck on that hamster wheel again.

Me: Oh really? What specific issue is she having that I can address?

Your Biz: It doesn’t matter. Whether it’s an issue with employees, trading partners, physical environment, pricing, or working too much ~ whatever the issue, this message will help.

Me: Wow, that sounds like a powerful message. I’m all ears.

Your Biz: Great! I want you to suggest that she ask three questions about any issue that is troubling her. They’re really the same question ~ just asked in three different ways.

As you can imagine, it’s not every day you get a call like this. And I’m happy to play the role of messenger.

So, here are the three questions your business wants you to ask . . . .

1. Is this {fill in the blank ~ project, system, person, relationship, behavior pattern} bringing me closer to or leading me further away from my goals and the business results I desire?

This question reminds me of a quote:

If you’re not going forward, you’re going backwards.

Make no mistake. There is very little in your business that is truly neutral. Every person, place, thing and situation in your business is either supportive and uplifting, contributing to and fueling your success, or they are diminishing your energy.

Even those that don’t seem to be overtly negative are holding you back, since they are taking up space and energy that could be filled with people, environments, objects or ways of doing things that do move you closer to your ideal business.

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Put the Power of Intention to Work in Your Business

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pool-balls_flickr-325636352_3560703aa0_zImage courtesy of Ricky Rosario

Intention is an extremely powerful tool that, when done with clarity and focus, can lead to amazing results.

What is Intention?

An intention is your declaration of the outcome you choose from a sea of infinite possibilities.

Think of it like announcing your call shot in a game of pool: “3 ball in the corner pocket.”

Intentions are not timid expressions of hopes or wishes. No . . . intentions are bold, fierce declarations of what you intend to create in your experience.

I’d like to share with you a story that beautifully illustrates this power of intention.

On January 29th, during the Crystal Clear & Fabulously Focused retreat in the mountains of Asheville, North Carolina, we were discussing the practice of setting intentions. I asked the participants: “If we were to meet this time next year, what are the things that Future You would have accomplished that made you happy and proud?”

I then had them make a list of these accomplishments as if reported by their future selves, along with the reason this accomplishment is so awesome.

Kate Strzok, the owner of Broadway Paper in Milwaukee, wrote this in her list: “#40u40 before 30.” Translation: Kate was envisioning being awarded the 40 Under 40 award by the Milwaukee Business Journal, an award that celebrates the best young business minds in the area.

Here’s the kicker: Not only did Kate intend to win the award {a huge achievement in and of itself}, she intended to do it before she turned 30 on February 14th, only two weeks away.

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