As I write this, our company is going through a lot of growing pains.
We’re consolidating all of our company’s divisions into one CRM, we’re adding new team members, and we’re setting the stage for continued growth of one of our software products (more about this specific software will come at a later time). I have a 5 yr old, 3yr old, 1 yr old, and my wife is due with our 4th child in a month.
It’s overwhelming, and there’s a constant fight over where I should focus my attention.
So, today is perfect time to talk about managing the frenzy that comes with running a business and life.
Don’t panic, it’s business as usual.
It’s a lot of work. It’s stressful.
Sometimes I feel like I don’t have enough time to even think about all the things that deserve my attention. Many of the things I need to focus on are items that involve planning and foresight and one can not simple check them off a list. However, they take attention and the more time I spend on them, the better the quality is.
There just isn’t enough time to spend on these things as I’d like.
I’m currently treading water, trying to keep my head up and stay on top of everything.
In business, we constantly have challenges that arise, or opportunities not working out like we anticipated. In these times, I’ve learned to keep my emotions in check and reactions as flat-lined and calm as possible. I try not to get on too much of an emotional high when things are going well, and conversely try not to get too low when things are going bad.
I’ve had to really learn to manage my stress levels, and not freak out over every little thing that doesn’t go my way.
In a previous blog I talked about balancing work and family. In it, I talked about life as a moving pendulum, where you are continually shifting back and forth with your priorities. It’s similar with business, in order to avoid moments of panic, you need to take the highs lows with a grain of salt. You have to keep going and focus on the positives. Don’t freak out when it appears there’s too much to do.
Embrace the chaos, and keep pushing forward.
As an entrepreneur, there’s always going to be some sort of chaos.
I’ve learned to counteract this by balancing my time and embracing the chaos that comes with a growing company. I prepare myself for it.
When I’m in the midst of this chaos, I’ve found the best way to handle the stress is to keep an even temper and keep moving forward. Prioritize what has to be done and the level of importance and then go to work. Have realistic expectations for what you can/will accomplish and stop worrying about what will have to wait until later. Of course, this is way easier said than done.
This hectic pace will produce positive things. Things like change. Don’t fear change that comes as a result of the chaos and stress of owning your own company. The challenge to do things differently is going to make you a better business owner.
You have to understand that good things can come from the stress and organized chaos inside your business. Change is a good result. Learning to compete against new competitors is a positive. Learning to leverage new technology in order to better communicate and operate are things you’ll learn from the frenzy of being in business.
What your clients expect from the chaos.
Your clients demand you be on top of industry changes.
By being aware of industry trends, you can let them know how these trends will effect their businesses.
A recent example for us was the EMV liability shift for the credit card industry. In the payment world, our clients wanted advice on what steps they needed to take, and how the shift was going to affect them.
You need to embrace changes like this from within your industry if you want to provide the best possible service for your clients.
This expectation from your clients, often times, only comes from the chaotic nature of growing your company.
Your stress affects those around you.
I needed to learn how to control stress early on when I saw how it affected my partners and team members around me.
My business partner Tyler made me aware of how I made others react. If I would come to work grumpy or mad, people would be concerned and it would affect their work.
Everyone in our workplace becomes stressed if their boss is in a foul mood. It’s not good for the health of the company for me to come to the office and make everyone else insecure about their jobs and futures. If my attitude sucks because I’m stressed, it’s going to put people off.
It’s crazy, but you can set the mood for the whole company based on body language. If I’m too high or low, people will pick up on it.
To combat these extreme moods, it’s important to keep an even temper like I talked about earlier. When things are good, smile but know it won’t last. When things are bad, understand it’s just for a season.
Finding that elusive balance.
The best way to control your highs and lows in business is to find balance by managing your expectations.
You have to realize that you can’t worry about things that you can’t control. I will worry about things up to a point. When problems arise, I work on changing them. If it’s something I can’t change and it won’t change, I refuse to be upset about it. I accept it, and move on to things I can impact.
Like worrying about how the weather will affect a certain event. You can’t control the weather. Did you make alternative plans if it does rain or snow. What’s plan B? Have that set up? You do? Perfect. Move on to the next thing. Too many people worry about things they can’t control. Focus on what you can do, not what you can’t.
Sometimes I can come across to people that I don’t care about a certain thing or event. I have to explain that it’s not that I don’t care, but I can’t/won’t worry about something that I can’t control or change. I don’t lose sleep over who is going to be the next president. I’ll make my vote and what’s going to happen is going to happen. I’ll deal with the outcome just like everyone else.
In my efforts to find balance, I avoid complaining. I’m not a complainer. For me, if you’re going to complain about something, do something about it. Change it. If you’re not going to change it, stop complaining about it. If you can’t change it, then make the decision to move on.
I don’t find the balance I’m looking for if I start complaining. It negatively affects me. Complaining gives me a bad attitude, and it’s not a good mindset for a business owner to be in. Being in this mindset will only bring you down.
Being grateful also helps me avoid these negative attitudes and find the harmony I’ve worked hard to accomplish. It’s a trait I had to develop over time. Because it’s so important to me, we made grateful one of our company values. Being happy, being positive, and being grateful for what you do have, and not focusing on the negative is what has brought balance to the chaos of being a business owner.
I really believe work stress can be balanced by having a healthy outlook on life.
You can always find things that will make you miserable. I know plenty of people with negative outlooks on life. There are lots of bad things that have happened to them. But you can also affect how you get out of it by your attitude.
Stress isn’t healthy, especially if it’s rooted in negativity. It’s good to care about things, but be aware of your stress levels and keep them in check.
I’ve learned, in business, that things don’t work out 100% of the time. Managing your expectations and taking steps to streamline your stress will help you in the long run.
Business will never fit perfectly in a little box of what you want to happen. It’s just not that easy. I’m always going to be running around doing various activities, and I’m never going to have enough time to do everything I’d like to do.
Life is chaos.
Your outlook is critical. You need to embrace it. Love it. Own it. Because it’s not going to change. I believe this is a good thing. I believe that if someone took all of my tasks today and removed them. I would have myself completely buried in new work by the end of the day. It’s the way I’m wired, as most entrepreneurs are. It’s what makes us who we are.
Instead, learn to ride the ups and downs of business, while adjusting your outlook.