Managing overwhelm

One of the reasons so (relatively) few people succeed in business is that it's complicated. Business is not just one thing - it's the integration of hundreds of little things, that all need to be done just so, in harmony.

You've got to have a great product. You've got to market it. You must close the sales. You must have good customer service. You must continue to nurture your relationship with your customers. You must continue to improve your product. You must balance the books and make sure there's enough money to pay the bills. You must hire really great people. You must serve and lead those people. Oh, and you must make sure that you get enough sleep, exercise, and that you also have time for leisure. You must build your network. You must continue to learn and grow.

It's a lot of stuff, and it's easy to feel overwhelmed. Like you're standing below it all, trying to hold everything together, like it's an inverted pyramid on top of you, and you're trying to keep everything in balance just so.

In the beginning, I figured that it was just a matter of reaching a certain size. That it would be easier as the company grew. But that's not true. As the company grows, there are more things to keep track of, more things that can go wrong, the fall if things break can be a lot harder, and you can't be as on top of everything as you could when you were just starting out.

So what's the solution?

The solution is to realize that you're not in charge. That a power higher than yourself has this all figured out.

A while back, I saw this written on a blackboard in chalk:

"No, God did not go on vacation and leave you in charge!"

I think the key to surviving this madness is trust. Trust in other people - both your customers, your employees, your suppliers and other vendors. But also trust in a higher power. The Universe. God. Whatever you want to call that power.

When you were an embryo, you weren't googling for a course or a book on how to divide the cells. You weren't stressing over whether you were celldividing and growing new limbs and organs at the right pace. It all happened automatically.

We can't solve the feeling of overwhelm at the level from which it originates. That doesn't mean we won't try. We'll create systems. We'll ensure we have a financial buffer. We'll worry about what could go wrong and try and protect against it. But none of this really works. It helps for a little bit, but it doesn't address the deeper fallacy, which is believing that if we don't hold it all together, it's going to fall apart and break.

I don't believe in a Christian god or any other religious god. But I do believe there's a higher intelligence at work, a universal consciousness of which we're all a part, that makes trees grow, dolphins sing, and wounds heal.

The more we can surrender our worries and our overwhelm to that higher power, the more expanded and relaxed and resourceful we'll be, and the more energy we'll have to actually do the things we feel called to do, in a focused and powerful way.

So whenever you catch yourself being overwhelm, allow yourself to feel it, rather than trying to numb it out with coffee or sugar, and then surrender it to whatever that higher power is to you.

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