Going harder is not the answer
Going hard is not the answer. The great paradox of small business is to ‘let go’ when you feel at your most inundated and overwhelmed, trying desperately to control everything, in order to start getting things under control.
Getting back under control is not about hanging on and ‘doing’ it all, it’s about being honest with yourself that this is not sustainable, and you need help. You cannot hang on forever.
Going hard is not the answer for the longer term.
I’ve been in this nightmarish situation, completely overworked, run-down, running on empty. You feel completely wired with your brain making note of everything you need to remember, follow up on and do. You can’t possibly consider letting go for a second.
But you can. As one of my early mentors used to say to me: “Jenny, no-one is gonna die…” He was Canadian, and he was right.
There are specific structural and operational shifts that need to be made in order to shift out of this situation and move back under control.
However, I think the biggest shift for business owners to start letting go occurs in the mind. We need to shift from telling ourselves we have to remember, cover off, follow up and do everything that’s running around in our head, and give ourselves some different instructions.
I suggest that anyone in overload start here:
- Tell yourself that no-one is going to die if you drop a few balls. Things will continue working. Even if someone else isn’t happy about that, still no-one will die. People under pressure do drop the ball occasionally, do sometimes fall in a heap, and do sometimes get sick and need time out. Key people resign and leave, and still the wheels keep turning. Remind yourself that the business will continue. repeat this point often.
- Tell yourself the only one who has the power to change the situation is you. You have to let go of one thing to address another, more important thing. You are capable of doing it and you know that already.
- Tell yourself to take note of the lessons from others. They made the shift. You will too. Just take one step after the other.
- Tell yourself to breathe in deeply, exhale slowly, repeat. Slow your breathing…Now make a decision to change how you and your business work together.
- Tell yourself to look at the situation from the outside-in. What do you see and what would you advise that person to do? You already have the answers.
A different perspective can make all the difference. Change your environment for an afternoon or a day or an evening. Then get to work to make the shift from holding on to everything, to putting in resources and support so you can let go and pass the baton to others.