Category: Overwhelm

Are you too busy to grow? Here’s one way to find out…

By , March 14, 2012 4:36 pm

Your capacity to GROW will determine your capacity to lead. If you get too busy with your job to grow, your influence and your leadership will stagnate and ultimately evaporate.”

Ken Blanchard and Mark Miller, Authors

Some people have a static view about their business. They have great ideas and then get lost in the ‘do-do’ of doing the work. This is known as working IN YOUR BUSINESS.

When you only work IN YOUR BUSINESS you become boxed in. You’re so focused on doing the work day after day that you forget something really important:

Your business only evolves and grows if you evolve and grow.

Stagnation destroys a business – Growth is critical for success… But some people have an opposite view and develop a fixed mindset reinforced by their own limiting beliefs: “This is how it is…”

People who work IN THEIR BUSINESS tend to focus on WHAT needs to be done. When they become overwhelmed they try to change WHAT they’re doing, but they are limited because the nature of the work IS the work!

The uncertainty of “not knowing” causes fear and doubt because they want assurance that it’s all going to turn out okay. They have no control over their workloads and are frightened that clients will either all flood in all at once or there will be a drought.

 

Here’s how you know if you’re Working IN YOUR BUSINESS

You’re an order taker. You’re just focusing on doing the work. You’ve forgotten your passion. You may have left the corporate world and set up your business doing what you were doing for an organisation – now you’re doing it for yourself. Here lies a paradox: Some entrepreneurs run their businesses with an employee mindset rather than evolving the mindset of a business owner.

No strategy – just delivery. You have no real clarity or vision for your business. It all centres on your products or services and getting the job done. No strategy or thought goes into it. You work reactively to what seems to be urgent at the time and have no systems, structures or support mechanisms in place to help you.

Not enough hours in the day. You’re already so thinly spread there is hardly enough time in the day to get everything done. You have no one to delegate to, so how could you possibly have any time to step back and grow? You’re too busy doing it all! You have created a limited ceiling and can’t go any further. Your only option is to work harder and you feel that you are reaching your limit.

You don’t invest in your growth. You’re trying to do it all on your own without any support. You’ve not developed your leadership skills to run a business. You take advice from your friends or family who have never been in business!

Leaders with a growth mindset are constantly working  ON their BUSINESS…

 

Here’s how you know if you’re working ON YOUR BUSINESS

You focus on the HOW. If something isn’t working you look at HOW you do things. You don’t fundamentally change the nature of WHAT you’re doing. You focus on HOW you’re currently doing things and create new systems to help the flow. You have processes and practices that streamline your activities and save you time.

You know your high value work. You have clarity, vision and purpose: You know WHY you are in business. You’re moving towards more of what you want rather than moving away from what you don’t want. You’re clear on your High Value Work and focus your time and energy on these activities. Low Value Work is automated, delegated or deleted. You are selective.

You work to a schedule. You know what you’re doing BEFORE you sit down to do it. You have a weekly schedule and work to it. You have standards and boundaries in place so that time doesn’t hemorrhage away. You schedule time for marketing, personal growth and for being creative (your genius work!).

You’re in the business of marketing.You understand the value of marketing and have created CONSISTENT stay-in-touch strategies with your stakeholders, clients/prospective clients. You’re building relationships and networking online and offline. Marketing is EVERYTHING if you want a successful business leader. It’s part of your weekly plan.

You surround yourself with like-minded people. You invest in your own personal growth.  Your learning and growth is a CONSISTENT strategy. You network and mastermind with like-minded business people. You have a coach to help you understand and develop your marketing, leverage, mindset and skills as a leader.

Successful leaders are always growing and changing. Working ON your business gives you a whole new approach to productivity, business and lifestyle. You create a balanced approach to your whole life.

Are you working IN or ON your business?


How to STOP…When You’re Feeling Overwhelmed

By , January 19, 2012 10:49 pm

“My life has a superb cast but I can’t figure out the plot.”

~ Ashleigh Brilliant

There’s so much to do. It’s easy to get swept up in the tide of doing that you never take some time out to be still.

Stillness feels like you’re not being productive, that you’re being lazy. So you avoid it at all costs and carry on doing instead.

Sometimes STOPPING and STEPPING BACK is exactly the right thing to do.

Recently, I had some big decisions to make about the direction of my business. I knew that in order to continue to expand I needed to make changes to the WHAT and the HOW. To do this I firstly needed to reconnect to my WHY by re-aligning to my original vision and intention and really get clear.

The thought of this scared me and every time I took a step towards it, resistance would come up and I’d avoid it completely. I’d lose myself back in my business: getting on with the doing to keep my mind busy instead.

I learned that avoidance is not the solution to any challenge or uncomfortable situation. You have to work through it. Sometimes working through it involves preparing yourself mentality and physically beforehand.  If you’re tired and overwhelmed then it’s impossible to think clearly or believe that your goals are actually achievable.

Sometimes you have to STOP!

Take a break and step back from the immediate situation recharge your battery and re-connect to your clarity and motivation.

Here’s how…

Just STOP! – Even though my instincts told me to keep working and get on with the job. I decided to take a full weekend off. No email, no working in my business. The theme of this weekend was REST and RESTORE. The laptop and IPhone were powered down. It was tough fighting those old habits but I kept away for two whole days!

Do something you enjoy – I enjoy hiking. Getting outdoors and bathing myself in the beauty and awe of Nature restores my soul and energy. I literally feel my cells refueling themselves. Nature also has a way of grounding and reconnecting you to who you really are. Being outside makes me happy and fills me with joy. Have some fun!

Sleep it off – Go to bed early! I went to bed at 7.15pm that evening and woke up at 7am the next morning! I felt a totally different person. You body talks to you constantly. When you’re tired – go and rest. Seriously! This is one of the best things you can do. Everything looks different when you’re not tired. You can make decisions with clarity and focus.

Stillness speaks – I ALWAYS find the solution when I allow myself some space and time to be quiet and still. The negative voice in my head eventually gives up and is replaced by space. In the silence the shoots of wisdom burst through. Allow your sub-conscious to work on things while you’re relaxing or resting. Give your mind a time-out!

Get some help – I checked in with my mentor who was able to listen and guide me though the resistance I was having. She helped me to re-focus and build the fire within. Challenges are the raw materials for solutions. Talking them through creates a portal for options to be generated and explored.

Take one step towards it – You can only get things done one step at a time. Create the next logical step and take it. If you want to transform something you can’t do it all at once. Step by step. Taking small action starts to build momentum.

Give yourself the gift of stopping and taking a break. It doesn’t have to be a weekend. It might be an hour or two. It can make ALL the difference!

LiveBrilliant Women’s Retreat – Coming Soon!

By , August 14, 2011 6:22 pm

How to Make Space for the New… Stop being a MUST-urbator!

By , April 9, 2011 5:15 pm

“If there’s anything new that you want in your life, you’ve got to make room for it. I mean that pschologically as well as physically.”

Jack Canfield, Author, cocreator of Chicken Soup for the Soul®

I’ve come to realise that learning and growing is not about doing more.

Growing is often about completing things, letting go and creating space for new shoots to emerge.

I was coaching someone this week who began the session describing her cluttered desk. As she spoke she soon realised that she also had a cluttered mind!

She identified several areas of her life where she’d left things uncompleted, half finished and even a personal relationship where she’d failed to get some closure, and important things had been left unsaid.These incompletes were holding her back from moving forward because when you don’t complete the past, you hold on to them. They drain your energy and feel like a heavy chain dragging behind you.

Her conversation was peppered with “I ought to do this… I know I should do that… I must…”

It’s difficult to be fully present and focused when you have unfinished or incomplete projects, tasks and promises that demand your attention.

I gently explained to my client that she was a MUST-urbator!

Dr Albert Ellis,  an American psychologist, used this term to describe people when their lives become full of must’s, ought’s and should’s. Many of us replay a head full of these lists, especially under times of pressure and stress. We put extra demands upon ourselves and bale ourselves out with excuses instead of taking action.

Why don’t we complete things?

  1. You are unclear
  2. You’ve stalled because you’re faced with an internal or external roadblock.

Here are a few examples:

  • You wanted to say ‘no’ but didn’t want to let the other person down.  
  • It’s difficult or uncomfortable to make a decision – Instead you procrastinate and struggle with the discomfort.
  • You feel guilty for not completing it so you avoid thinking about it and the incompletes continue to pile up.
  • Your wardrobe, closet and even your garage is groaning under the weight of all the clutter that you’ve been collecting – just in case it might come in handy!

Most of us are undisciplined in our approach and it’s easy to become distracted and unfocused. When we’re under pressure we move out of our left brain – logical thinking, into the right brain - emotive thinking. It’s difficult to be rational from this place.

We allow clutter and incompletes into our lives and drown in stacks of papers, old clothes, broken items, things we don’t like or not saying the things we need to say to avoid resentment and misunderstanding.

How to STOP MUST-urbation:

  1. Write down a full list of all your must’s, ought’s and should’s. E.g. “I must get the car serviced.” “I ought to visit my parents in the holidays.” “I should clear out the basement.”
  2. Once you have your list, re-write it rephrasing each sentence with I want to…
  3. While re-writing each statement focus on WHY you WANT to do this and re-decide. You may realise that you don’t want to do this item anymore, and you can let it go.
  4. Choose 3 things on the list and start to complete them.
  5. Write down what will it take to complete each of these three tasks. What is the next step?
  6. Consciously keep these items on your radar by checking in weekly with your list of your incompletes and scheduling dates and times in your planner to GET THEM DONE little and often.
  7. Learn to feel completeness by taking small action steps and making it a habit.

Successful people continually work on their incompletes. Why? Because if you want to show up more fully in the present  you firstly need to complete the past.

6 Ways to Deal with Paperwork!

By , March 20, 2011 6:39 pm

I have to confess that paperwork and administrative stuff isn’t my strength. I think I’m safe to say that it’s not one of my Unique Abilities!

In the past I found any excuse not to have to do it!

The teenage tantrum voice in my head gets a little ‘uppity’ when I’m faced with paperwork because she sees it as BOR-ING! If allowed to get her own way, the paperwork and admin’ stack gets bigger and BIGGER. Enter procrastination and excuses about ‘not having the time’ or ‘I’ll get around to it later!’ or a personal favourite: ‘I’ll do it tomorrow!’

Inevitably… the hord of paperwork  forms a ‘holding pattern’ spilling out from an over-stuffed intray waiting for Paper-Traffic Control to sit down and just sort it out! This happens only when there is no more visible free space left on the desk!

Once a stack of paperwork gets to certain height, then you have a stability problem… the whole thing is in danger of falling over a bit like Jenga bricks! Honestly, in the past, I have been known to start a second stack at this point!

Along with the stacks of paper comes overwhelm, guilt, stress and anxiety that something very important may have been missed. I feel totally out of control.

Are you familiar with any of this?

Seriously…The only thing you should be scared of with paperwork is a paper cut!

Here’s 6 ways to blast through your paperwork and take control back…

  1. Stop Making Excuses – Saying that you are ‘crap at paperwork’ doesn’t solve the paperwork problem. It keeps the issue external to you so you can blame your personality or parents instead! Take 100% responsibility for the situation and change it. Decide to deal with it by focusing your energy on clearing the back log a little at a time in a structured way.
  2. Take time to make time – Paperwork won’t get done unless you schedule some time in advance to specifically deal with it. I schedule a 1 hour paperwork block of time from 8-9 am every Friday morning when I’m working from home. I feel great afterwards because I know that I’ll be starting my weekend from a physically and mentally lighter place. I have taken some control back.
  3. Close everything else down – Turn off the phone, close down your emails (Unless specifically needed for actioning paperwork!) and any other programmes that could distract you. Focus on the stack one thing at a time and nothing else.
  4. Do it First Thing – This is VERY liberating. My expenses are the first action on my schedule every Monday morning. I show up and I get them done! JUST DOING IT makes me feel lighter because I can then concentrate on my High Value Work without being held to ransom by an inner chorus of should’s, must’s or ought to’s. I release the negative energy of having to do and replace it with it’s just what I do.
  5. Batch it – Plan your paperwork by batching it into similar activities. For example, I work on my expenses and invoicing in the same time slot because they are connected. I send workshop PowerPoint slides to delegates as I’m returning course attendance lists to clients. Get clear on what paperwork you are going to work on before you sit down to do it. Start small, do a bit at a time – but little and often. Create a positive habit. The stack will reduce and you’ll start to feel momentum and more in control.
  6. Create a Paperwork System – You may have a process for handling admin’ and paperwork already but if it isn’t working well, step back and explore how you can handle it better. Implement your plan. This may involve automation, using better software, getting a VA (Virtual Assistant) to delegate some of the basic stuff to save you time or deleting processes that no longer serve you. Improve your processes and you’ll improve your productivity.

It’s only paperwork after all! Claim your power back and blast through it!

Mwahahaha… look out paperwork here I come!

I’m a lean and mean paperwork blasting machine!

Running Out of Time?

By , February 26, 2011 11:56 am

“You don’t have to let yourself be terrorised by other people’s expectations of you.”

Sue Patton Theole, Author – Courage to Be Yourself.

Do you ever feel like Indiana Jones running away from that big round boulder in the movie Raiders of the Lost Ark??

Instead of a big ball of stone chasing you, it’s your workloads, boss, family and friends all wanting a piece of you!

Most people I talk to haven’t got enough time. They are struggling with productivity at work. Unconsciously, they feel compelled to take more work on than they can realistically achieve. It’s a form of self-deception fuelled by the need to impress the boss or because everyone else seems to be doing it. They’re stuck in a rut of reactivity and chaos.

You eventually get home and your partner, kids and even the family dog wants a piece of you! So it doesn’t stop…

Here’s the challenge…

Striving to stay ahead of that rolling ball is exhausting!

  • You don’t want to let anyone down
  • You’re frightened to admit that you can’t do it all

Trying to keep up with all these expectations means that you become thinly spread over a wider surface area.  Your own priorities go unaddressed such as thinking time, rest, quality time with the family. It’s like stretching a rubber band further and further until the tension is so great that it SNAPS…

Are you taking on more that you can comfortably deliver?

Here’s how to get out of the rut:

1. You CAN’T DO it all! To be successful you have to learn how to be selective. The truth is that you can’t DO IT ALL… It’s impossible. For example, Trying to take on the workload of three other people who resigned at work is INSANE and IMPOSSIBLE (I coached someone this week who was trying to do this!!). Selectivity starts by NOT adding more to your already busy schedule – It’s about eliminating things that are of low value and don’t help you in achieving your goals. Then focus on things that give you High Value results.

2. Get clear on your High Value Work (HVW)What is REALLY important to you? What are your dreams and goals? What is going to make you more successful, keep you healthy, increase your income and help you to create and maintain your desired lifestyle? HVW can be anything important to you in your life. HVW includes time for thinking, being creative, relaxing, regenerating, learning and sleeping! You focus your time effort and energy here!

2. Identify your Low Value Work (LVW) – What is distracting you from your goals and dreams? These are tasks, demands, other people’s agendas and time stealers that suck your energy and time but have low or no pay-off. They take us off course because we become distracted and unfocused. Some are old habits and patterns. Look for opportunities to delegate, automate or delete your LVW.

3. Define standards and boundaries – Standards are your own personal policies – what you will do and say ‘Yes’ to. Boundaries are the limits and what you will say ‘No’ to. Setting boundaries and communicating them clearly teaches people how to treat you. It gives others guildelines on ‘how we do things around here.’ Most people respect boundaries once they’ve been communicated. Write a ‘Here’s what I do…’ and a ‘Here’s what I don’t do’ list for yourself. Remember to maintain your boundaries otherwise people will begin to trespass on your time!

4. Get good at saying NO - You have to learn how to step into your power and become the leader of YOU. Saying No and pushing back on other people’s agendas and distractions stops you handing control over to others. Successful people are able to say no without feeling guilty. You’re saying no to others so you can say yes to YOU.

5. Have some discipline -Most of us are undisciplined. We know what we should be doing or where our focus ought to be. We then allow busy-ness to takeover. Discipline involves you getting good at concentrating your attention away from any distraction and focusing it on your daily priorities and longer term goals. It’s about having focus and reminding yourself daily about what’s important.

You are the source of your time. Stop being a victim of it.


Device Addiction – Are You Hooked?

By , January 23, 2011 5:13 pm

“People who have your cell phone number know they can instantly reach you for help with their immediate needs. E-mails are delivered within minutes – so they expect you to respond equally fast.”

Jack Canfield, Author, Cocreator of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series.

As you know, we are living in the Information or Digital Age. Isn’t our technological world AWESOME?!

I’m so grateful for my laptop, the internet and my Iphone because  I can carry loads of information  with me as I travel the world. I’m always connecting, downloading and learning new things on the move.

What an amazing time we live in and what amazing tools we have.

Technology is relatively cheap and portable – So Yay! For the invention of the microchip! Everyone is connected.

Here’s the challenge…

While I love my DEVICES (IPhone and laptop) –  I also have to regularly check-in with myself to ensure that I’m not becoming obsessed by them!

I’ve coached hundreds of businesspeople and many of them have become unconsciously addicted to their Blackberries. Emails and 24/7 connectability play a huge part in workload overwhelm. They spend at least 3 hours a day answering email to keep up with the surging tide of information flooding into their inboxes. They take their inbox home and work on it while having dinner, watching TV or having quality time with the family! Most of  them are inundated with non-essential email. We have potential information overload at our fingertips!

Here’s how I see it…

Having a Blackberry or Iphone and distributing your email address and phone number is like giving someone implied permission to have a piece of you instantly – any time that suits them. Unless you set some boundaries you can unconsciously lose your power to other people’s agendas, demands and feel out of control.

Device Addiction can cause obsessive behaviour. This is where someone is constantly checking their phone or laptop even when talking to friends, family or colleagues at work. It becomes an unconscious habit. This is often noticeable and frustrating to the person who is on the receiving end of this behaviour (like your partner, children, friends, colleagues and even the dog!).

So here’s a quick test so you can check-in with yourself…And you might like to also ask your partner, a friend or someone who you trust to complete it for you too!

Take the Device Addition Test…

1. Answer the following statements honestly. Read the statement and if this is typical behaviour for you mark it as TRUE if not, mark it as FALSE.

2. What do your answers (and the answers from the other person!) tell you?

3. What are you going to do differently? Try making one or two small changes…

If you feel overwhelmed and out of control consider powering off your cell phone. Check your email only at fixed times during the day. Try being connected to technology a little less and being fully connected and fully present in your life a little more!

Device Addiction Behaviours True/False
1. I spend at least 3 hours a day answering emails (It’s not an essential part of my job/life).
2. If I hear a message alert I HAVE to check it straight away.
3. I constantly check for emails, texts and/or calls.
4. I answer EVERY phone call – Even if it is not important.
5. I check for emails and messages while watching TV.
6. I check for emails and messages while having dinner with friends.
7. I check for emails and messages while in the bath/tub.
8. I for emails and messages while playing with the kids.
9. I check for emails and messages while spending quality time with my partner/spouse.
10. I check for emails and messages while shopping.
11. I check for emails and messages while on holiday/vacation.
12. While I’m with others my phone usually goes off several times.
13. When I sit down my phone is always within arm’s reach.
14. My phone is NEVER powered off.
15. The thought of not having access to my phone/laptop makes me feel very uncomfortable.
16. Friends or family pass snarky comments about my relationship with my device!
17. I check my phone for emails/texts every time I go for a pee!
18. I check my phone for emails/texts while driving or at a STOP light or in traffic queues.
19.My phone is usually the last thing I look at before I go to sleep.
20. If I wake up in the middle of the night I will always check my Blackberry/IPhone/SMART Phone.
20. I lose all concept of time when checking my device.
21. Checking emails for 10 minutes often haemorrhages into several hours!
22. I sleep with my Blackberry/Iphone/Smart phone by the bed.

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