As a team of consultants and ex-business owners we know the pain you feel when leading (trying to survive) your business just gets a bit much. When you know you want to run and hide, but the reality is when anyone asks how you are, you say with a smile ‘I’m fine!’ So, assuming you are going with this approach, what can you do to find some equilibrium.
- Focus on the highlights
There is a reason why at the start of coaching sessions we ask, ‘tell me the highlights,’ ‘what have been the positives,’ ‘share one great thing’ – it is to get you focused on the good times, to ensure that you are thinking about the pluses and to promote positivity and an open mind … whilst recognising that challenges do indeed arise often on a minute by minute basis. This really is akin to showing gratitude to what is going well.
- Watch out for those triggers
What is it that sets you off on the downward, negative spiral? Who is it that pushes your buttons? Stop… and think. Understanding your triggers enables you to be more aware, so when they pop up – you know how to deal with them. Identify how to de-escalate your triggers – what do you need to do to stop the ‘negative’ behaviour that may ensue? Is it counting to 10, politely walking away or running around the block? Find your way to silence that trigger?
- Stick to a schedule
Working with CEOs and business leaders I am often amused at the frequency in which I find myself taking them through time management 101. Plan your time – put the big rocks (important stuff – strategic planning, working ‘on’ the business’ ) into your diary and put the pebbles (‘business as usual’ projects) around it. Delegate out the gravel (things you don’t need to do) and get the sand out from between your toes (reading unnecessary emails – stop the cc’s; doing activities that really are not worthy of your time) – they are painful, unnecessary and incessant time wasters.
- Prioritise your time
Focus on your core goals, priorities, KPIs, your health/wellbeing …. first and foremost. Everything else is secondary
- Just say ‘no’
Are you a people pleaser? Do you just want to help? Are you doing this at the expense of your own priorities, health and life outside work? Be kind, and confidently say ‘I would love to, but I can’t.’ These words were taught to me by Mike Ashby at The Breakthrough Co. as part of the Active Management Programme, whenever I use them, I feel nice, but honest (and free). And… no, I don’t give a reason as to why I can’t.
When you say, ‘there is no-one to delegate to’ … please tell me your plan as to how you are planning your talent pipeline recruitment. If there is too much to do – if you aren’t highly inefficient, you are under-resourced.
- Switch off
Because like our wise people say (insert here: husband, friend, mum, advisor) ‘you are no good to anyone if you don’t look after yourself.’ Rest, relax, switch off… because it will be there tomorrow.