What if I told you there’s one overlooked but super effective personal development program out there guaranteed to show you exactly what heights you can reach? There is, and it’s owning your own business. There’s nothing so challenging, chaotic, and rewarding as building your career and brand from the bottom up. However, there’s no denying that even the calmest of us will face the weight of stress and anxiety trying to do just that. And yet, too much of that can hinder our growth. So, what can you do?
Hint: The answer is NOT giving up.
The Life of a Modern CEO
It’s not easy owning your own business. You have to be on all the time, your patients or clients and employees have expectations of you, and you have benchmarks you must meet.
This is one of those situations where “fake it until you make it” doesn’t work. Neither do the heroics of overworking yourself.
You must slow down, face the stressors, barriers, and challenges dragging you down, the quicker and sooner you resolve them, the better off everyone in your life and business will be. And, doing so will call on all your leadership competencies to be authentic and engage and inspire others.
This is why I recommend wholeheartedly that people get a coach to improve their own personal psychology about themselves as leaders as well as gain the business skills to run a successful practice. I’m not talking about therapy; I’m talking about understanding how you think and what motivates you.
It takes a combination of psychology, strategy, and tools to make it work for you, it’s a lot to juggle. What makes it really difficult is there isn’t a lot of help out there.
I know because I’ve been consulting with business owners for over 30 years and have weathered their storms and a few of my own squalls, as well.
Stress Relief Tips
- Are you feeling like you’re drowning? Overwhelmed? Overworked? These are tried and true methods to be present in the moment and treat yourself as the most important person in the world – because that’s who you are.
- Stop comparing yourself to others. Comparison is the thief of joy. Although we’re raised in a competitive society, and comparing ourselves to others seems natural, it can be dangerous, too. Focus on yourself and your journey. The shift of energy alone will help you feel freer.
- Don’t worry about others’ opinions. In that same vein, don’t worry about what society thinks or expects of you. You can’t make everyone happy, so this is a waste of time and will only slow you down.
- Accept that you will make mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes. It’s cliché but it’s a universal truth. Cut yourself some slack! Mistakes are opportunities to learn and grow. Embrace your past. So, forget about that perfectionist voice because it’s a cruel task master. Glean the lessons when you make mistakes — the lessons you’ll gain are priceless —and move on.
- Remember your value doesn’t lie in your appearance. This is fundamental! So many things in the world want to distract you from this powerful truth. Sometimes even your own internalized thoughts of inadequacy. Choose this thought and condition it every day — you are enough, you are more than enough, you are valuable because you are you! Be genuinely yourself and feel confident, comfortable, and happy.
- Don’t be afraid to let go of toxic people. Not everybody takes responsibility for the energy they put into the world. If there’s someone who is bringing toxicity into your life and they won’t take responsibility for it, that might mean you need to step away from them. Don’t be afraid —it’s liberating and important, and honors who you are.
- Protect your energy. It’s not rude or wrong to remove yourself from situations or the company of people who are draining you or to say NO
- Process your fears. Feeling afraid is natural and human. Take time to understand them. Interrogating and evaluating your fears helps you to clarify and unmask issues that cause anxiety. Journaling or meditating are two great ways to accomplish this.
- Trust yourself to make good decisions for yourself. We so often doubt ourselves and our ability to do what’s right, when most of the time we do know in our hearts what’s best. Remember that your thoughts are downstream from feelings, and both are valid clues. Follow them on a path to know yourself better and be your best advocate.
- Take the opportunities life presents or create your own. The timing is never going to be perfect. The set-up may not be ideal but step out and reach for your goals and dreams. Seize the moment because it may never come again.
- Put yourself first. Do this guilt-free. Women, especially, can think it’s normal putting others before themselves. Although there’s a time and a place for this, it shouldn’t’ be your default. It can be a habit that costs you your mental, energetic, or emotional well-being.
- Make time to decompress. Without decompressing and recharging you can put serious strain on yourself both mentally and physically. Whether it’s spending the day in bed or outdoors in nature, find what helps you decompress and dedicate time to this.
- Feel pain and joy as fully as you can. Allow yourself to feel things fully. Lean into pain, revel in your joy, and don’t put limitations on your feelings. Like fear, pain and joy are emotions that will help you understand yourself and ultimately realize that you are not your feelings. And all feelings have a message to share. It could even lead you to solutions you’ve been waiting for.
- Speak Your Truth. Speaking your mind exercises boldness like a muscle — it grows with reps. Don’t wait for permission to take a seat at the table. Join the conversation. Contribute your thoughts. Take action and know that your voice is just as important as anyone else’s.
- See beauty in the simple things. Try to notice at least one beautiful, small thing around you every single day. Make note of it and be grateful for it. Gratitude not only gives perspective, it’s also essential to help you find joy when life and work are hectic.
- Be kind to yourself. The world is full of harsh words and critique — don’t add yours to the mix. Speak kindly to yourself. Celebrate yourself. You’ve come so far and grown so much.
Use Your Power – Make a Personal Kanban
Whether you think you are introverted or extroverted, you are powerful beyond your imagination. See? You’ve done this distance, you’ve survived, you’re here, right now, alive, and powerful beyond your knowledge. These strategies reduce chaos, and they are about respecting and honoring yourself, your time, and your energy.
With time, self-love will settle itself into your heart. Yes, you will face challenges, make mistakes, and allow your enthusiasm to over stretch your capacity, but you’ll look back on these moments and see how they were steppingstones on your journey to being the best you.
There are tons of tactical tools to help you manage and reduce the chaos, and here’s my personal favorite: The Personal Kanban.
- square sticky notes
- black, medium point pens
- a wall, window, flip chart paper or a whiteboard
Now, draw 4 columns and split the third column in half and label it like this:
Overarching Goal: ___________________________________________________
|Backlog||Ready||Doing||Done, celebrate, reflect, improve.|
Here’s how you set it up:
- Write a sticky note for all the tasks floating around in your mind. Stop using your energy trying to remember them and park each one of them on its own sticky note. They all go into the BACKLOG
- Write your overarching GOAL for the week.
- Move the sticky note tasks that advance your goal this week into the READY
- Pull the sticky notes 1 at a time into the #1 priority; the #2 priority; and the #3 priority
- Now do the priority tasks in order. Do it the best you can, and do it until it’s done or in WAITING – for the next person to do their thing. Put the date you moved the sticky to WAITING in the bottom left corner so you can track it.
- Pull another sticky from READY when you move a sticky from priorities 1, 2, or 3 whether you complete the task or have to wait on someone to complete your next step.
- Keep these stickies moving throughout the day and every day.
- Add new stickies to the BACKLOG all along, shuffling between BACKLOG and READY until it’s time to prioritize along with the rest of the stickies.
- Once a week, take down all the stickies in the DONE Reflect on each task, celebrate your hard work, and ask yourself how you could make it better. What if you could have automated it, done it more quickly, sooner, or if someone else could do it in the future?
By making it visual, you invite people to double check how you’re thinking, and they help you see things you’re missing. Because teamwork is one of your greatest assets. It promotes transparency and invites engagement. Get it?
If you want to talk about breaking through your business challenges and how you deal with stress, you can click this link to see my calendar and choose a time that works best for you:
I’m an organizational development psychologist and an executive coach and helping others to create healthy change personally and inside businesses is part of my life’s purpose.
It’s also a never-ending journey that starts with you, the CEO.