It’s a common theme in my inbox this month. I wish I had all the answers. So many are struggling with how to keep going and get through challenges. Some of the challenges are smaller than others. Everything from new opportunities vs current ones, to serious health challenges in the family, to hacked servers and flooded email boxes dealing with the fallout, and more.
(Personally I’m blaming Mercury for being retrograde right now, it’s like the Murphy’s Law of the astrological world.)
But there’s no way around it. Sometimes things all fall apart.
If creating your own entrepreneurial business were easy, everyone would be doing it and everyone would be succeeding. They’re not. We’ve chosen a challenging path.
Is it rewarding? Yes! Is it worth it? Yes! But you’d better believe it’s not always easy.
A million and one things can go wrong from technology and employee/outsourcing issues we have to clean up, to making mistakes ourselves (we ALL make mistakes), to family or health challenges, to plain old overwhelm hitting.
And we’re only human. At some point, we hit a wall.
You can be full steam ahead, giving it your absolute best, and still not hitting the mark you want to hit, not getting everything on your list done, and not happy with yourself.
Ever been there?
Here’s some action steps to help you fix it.
1. Get real with yourself.
Sit down and evaluate where you’re at, what’s gone wrong, and what you need to get done to get back on track.
Getting this list together isn’t always easy but it’s where you’ve got to begin. Just getting things written out will help you start putting things back together.
The sooner you do this, the better.
2. Prioritize and triage.
Go through your list and prioritize. What are the most important commitments and tasks to complete first?
I use A, B, C to prioritize (A = must be done ASAP, C = least important at the moment) and then number tasks in the order they need done (so the list becomes A1, A2, A3, B1, B2, C1, C2, C3, C4).
Block out time on your calendar to work through the tasks and put yourself into that seriously focused mode you know you can to really start knocking things out.
If you’ve got projects or tasks clients are waiting on, just get in touch and give them an update of when you’ll get it done. Most people will be understanding with you if you just stay in contact. Pick up the phone if you need to. Email often gets lost or stuck in spam filters.
3. Keep going even when it’s not easy.
When it’s really tough, step back and refocus on your goals. What’s the “big picture” that you want to accomplish? What motivated you to start your business or the current project? Where is it going?
Take time out to care for yourself, too. Sometimes that lack of time for ourselves is what puts us into the overwhelm and burnout. Even if it’s 15 minutes or half an hour, do something that nurtures YOU and keeps you grounded and able to move forward.
4. Rely on your support.
Where can you bring in help? This can be especially challenging if you help is the reason you’re in a tough spot and you can’t rely on them. So you may need to find someone else to step in. Get recommendations from friends, colleagues or the reliable members of your team.
Share as much of your workload as you can with your support team but make sure it’s the effective parts — go back to your list from step 1. That’s your only focus right now.
And call in your coach or mastermind group to help you. Find someone you trust to talk with.
5. Step back, evaluate, and make changes.
Depending on the degree of “fall apart” you’re dealing with, it can be really tough. It’s hard to show up and say, “Hey, I screwed up, here’s how I’m fixing it…” or “My team screwed up, and that’s ultimately MY responsibility, so here’s what I’m changing to make sure it doesn’t happen again…” But we’ve got to do it.
Take time to evaluate just what caused meltdown.
Do you need to take time away to support family through something? Time for yourself to get healthy? Take a big step back if you need to, keep the minimum going, and then come back full steam when you’re able.
Or is it a crazy event that just triggered an avalanche? What can you do to be more ready for that next time?
If you can’t figure out what needs to change, call in your coach or mastermind group and have them help you identify your blind spots and strategize what smart changes you can make.
What do you do to pull out of the tail spin that sometimes happens in business? Whether it’s too many projects at once, or the lovely ball of stress that happens when your site gets hacked or bad things happen that push you way off schedule… what works for you?