On New Year’s Day several years ago, I woke up with ideas and wild plans. This was the start of me working for myself, full-time, after years of treating my coaching practice like a side hobby. It going to be the year of big dreams and living on my own terms that I had always wanted.
Instead, it was the hardest year of my life. I cried a lot, that year. (P.S. If you’re doing the same, consider this a good thing–crying is a wonderful way to relieve stress!).
Many years later, having weathered some of those early business lessons, it doesn’t throw me the way it used to when the proverbial you-know-what hits the fan. However–the circumstances of my life/biz are not what makes things easier.
What makes things easier is that I have a concrete plan for handling stress and anxiety.
Part of it: Workflows
The Coaching Blueprint has an entire module on workflows. Why? Because:
If you don’t have a plan for how to handle the work, running a business will bury you.
On any given week, there are client sessions and blog updates, social media updates and responses, email checks and responses, creating something for a collaborative project such as someone’s e-book, guest posts, interviews, writing for monthly websites, preparing my talk for an upcoming marketing seminar series, updating website copy, sending out newsletters, a phone call with my mastermind, sorting out any tech issues or downloading mishaps, proofreading something I’m going to send out, preparing an upcoming rollout of tweetables…
That’s just an average week. I do love it. It’s also a lot to handle.
During a major launch, it’s this workload times five.
(Okay, maybe ten).
So, let me repeat: if you don’t have a plan for handling workflows, running a business will bury you.
But here’s another piece: you can have the best workflows in the world, but if you don’t have a plan for handling anxiety, running a business will STILL bury you.
What’s Your Plan?
Consider: Are you giving yourself the same level of self-care that you’re helping your clients to achieve?
You already know how this works, because you do this work with your own clients: people want to skip past this part, and then they wonder why their lives aren’t working.
So take some time to ask yourself:
Are you prioritizing your health? Are you making it to yoga? Are you taking time just to breathe? Are you cooking real food, or working until all hours and grabbing a quick can of soup, gobbling it down, and getting back to work? Are you getting enough sleep? Do you feel connected to your partner or kids? Do you connect with friends and family?
Please–stop for just a moment and take a realistic inventory of how well you’re doing with self-care practices.
Then ask: on a scale of 1-10, what’s your level of anxiety throughout the day? If 1 is “rarely or never” and 10 is “I’m pretty much thinking of all the things I need to do, all day long,” then:
What needs to change?
The Simplest of Solutions
Again–being a coach (or, I feel I should add, a helper in any capacity, since I know a good number of acupuncturists and people in related fields read this!), you know that you can learn as much from your clients as you might help them to overcome.
You already know that your clients aren’t “bad” people who are “doing it wrong.”
Thus, neither are you.
Sometimes our clients come to us thinking they need a complete overhaul of their lives. Meanwhile, you–with the birds eye view and the skill-set for listening for patterns–know that our clients’ solutions are often far simpler than they initially perceive them to be.
Yep, you and I do this when we’re really overwhelmed, too.
The simplest of solutions for pervasive anxiety? Taking time for self-care (yes, the most over-used word in the coaching lexicon, but for simplicity’s sake, that’s what we’re going to call it).
For some people, that might be taking time to breathe.
For others, it’s time to get your dance groove on–five minutes, in your living room. Simple and free.
For still others, it’s noticing that you haven’t pulled out your camera or your paint set since you started running a business, and it’s time to make a creative date with yourself, every single week–no waffling, no copping out, no exceptions.
What’s Running You?
In The Coaching Blueprint, I ask people: Are you running a business, or is your business running you?
You are your business’s most valuable asset, and if you don’t invest in you, things will grind to a halt.
There are any number of things you can do about that. But, just as with your clients, it’s got to start with a willingness to see that the current way isn’t working, and to try something new (or revisit what has worked, in the past).
My own self-care plan? Regular stillness practice or “meditation,” and a support group of coaches who can help me to not spin out if things get too intense. In the past six months, I’ve also committed to hitting up my local vinyasa studio three times a week, and cooking at home.
How do I make that time? That’s a two part answer. First, I’m big on the workflow practices that I describe in The Coaching Blueprint. Second, making time for the stillness practice helps me to see the illusion of believing that “I don’t have enough time.”
The only time I believe that is when I’m worried and stressed–not when I’m calm and see that there’s a way to meet any challenge that arises.
You can DO THIS!
This week’s exercise to benefit you and your business:
- Treat yourself as you would invite your clients to treat themselves–and don’t just tell yourself that you’re going to do that. Actually whip out your calendar right now, and start doing what Marie Forleo calls “Getting on the NO train!” Start saying “no” to the things that don’t light you up, even if you feel like you “shouldn’t” say no to that particular thing. If it isn’t lighting you up, it’s dead weight.
- Take time to create action steps so that you can implement new practices to replace what hasn’t been working–treating yourself the way you would hope your clients would treat themselves when they work with you.
Kate Swoboda (aka Kate Courageous) is a life coach who teaches people how to work with fear and practice courage. She’s the founder of www.CoachingBlueprint.com and creator of the Coaching Blueprint digital program.