Overwhelm is real. So is negative stress.
I have dealt with my share of overwhelming feelings, from the ups and downs of running a boutique consultancy to the throws of high-performance athletics, writing a book and even raising a family.
My clients are no different. They struggle with:
- Feeling like work is taking over everything and leaving little time for family and personal pursuits.
- Fulfilling the expectations of their boss, the board or their clients
- Building a strong executive team
- Achieving their high personal standards
Sometimes, the stress of leadership makes us feel like we are going to have a heart attack.
So what can we do to combat overwhelm?
Here are a few solutions that have worked for me and have worked for my clients:
- Set up a support structure. Can you create regular check-ins with people you trust? Friends, who have your back in thick or thin?
- Start – or restart – a journaling practice. Writing in a private and protected place will get the thoughts out of your head and the dragons out of your chest.
- Hire a coach. An experienced professional can help you marshall your thoughts and give you clarity on the next steps.
- Clarify your values, and make sure you’re living them every day. We are emotional beings, and value judgements are the first steps of logic each of us takes to live in alignment with our beliefs. Live your truth.
- Ruthlessly prioritize. Ask yourself, “What is causing 80% of my unmanageable stress right now?” Often it’s only one or two items. You can then focus on what matters most.
- Set boundaries on your time and workload. If you do not make a plan, then you become the pawn in others’ plans.
- Challenge your need to be perfect. Engage in self-compassion. Ask yourself, “In what ways is my self-talk inaccurate, unreasonable or unhelpful?”
- Exercise. Move your body, and find flow in an activity. You know it’s good for you.
- Self-medicate (to create some space). Alcohol, drugs, sugar, video games can be acceptable medicine to squeeze you through a rough patch. Make sure they do not become your crutch and lead to bigger problems.
- Sauna. Sweat cleans the soul in a way that no shower can.
- Stop multitasking. One thing at a time. Close those browser tabs!
- Get into the now. Meditate. Go into nature. Walk. Breathe. Feel the ground.
- Do. Delegate. Delete. Defer. In two minutes, you can deal with any task on your plate. Can it be done quickly? Do it. Can it be given to someone else? Delegate. Not needed? Delete it. Scheduled for later? Defer.
- Breathe. Focus on your breath, or experiment with a structured breathing program.
Reach out to me if you want to learn more about how a structured executive business coaching relationship will bring peace of mind while also enabling you to achieve extraordinary results.