As a business owner, we are all aware of the stress that comes with owning and operating a small to medium business. BTW the bigger you get usually the larger the stress. Most people think that once you get to a certain point in business then that’s it all small sailing, rainbows and butterflies
I wish that were true…
However, I believe there is a bigger culprit at play when it comes to stress. The majority of the time we deal with stress in a reactionary or “ doomsday prep” way. We tend to over exaggerate things mentally and paint pictures that are the worse case, like I mean if I don’t make this sale they will take my house type scenario. Even though this couldn’t be further than the truth in most cases.
So why do we react this way?
Throughout our evolution, we have come to understand that there is an inbuilt mechanism – the fight or flight mode. This, once upon a time helped us identify high stress and dangerous environments where if not acted upon could result in serious harm and or death. But fast forward to today and most of us ( not all ) don’t really have scenarios like that in our life any more. However, the mechanism is still there through hundreds of thousands of years of evolution.
Now today it shows up a lot around the 3 triggers- safety, security and tribal association. Let me paint a scenario…
You have a client that is delayed by a week in paying you for your service or product and several attempts to reach them have resulted in leaving long abusive messages on their phone that is almost stalker-like only to find out that they have been on holidays and haven’t been able to check their message and the day they got back they looked after the account.
Your reaction to that is a sure sign of desperation, your mind has painted a picture of the client skipping the country with your money and never returning, in turn, you have then added to this mental construct that you have to close the doors of the business, the liquidators are moving in, you’ve lost your house and you’ve ended up on the streets homeless. See how all this of stress could have been avoided if you were a little more patient and or simply changed the way you looked at it?
So perhaps you are making yourself stress out needlessly and the energy that you have wasted on the negative mental space could have been much better utilised working out solutions towards that scenario.
Here are 3 tips to use when you’re heading down that path
Stop and pause for a second – Most of the time we write a long email or go on a rant for nothing. If we just checked in with yourself about where this feeling may be coming from and or what’s the true origin of it. (the above scenario isn’t about the money it’s about the fear of loss that usually relates back to an event that may have taken place in early childhood, divorce, parents losing money, poverty, having to move around a lot etc etc) we could have simply understood that no amount of stress is going to change the scenario at hand
Ask yourself the questions- Is this scenario worth stressing about and what can I do to change the outcome of my thinking? A lot of the times we could have a simple answer or a solution of we just thought about it differently. Perhaps you could think about it like “ They haven’t responded perhaps they are holidays let me wait a few days and then try again OR maybe they have lost their phone OR perhaps something may have happened out of the blue that they need to deal with” See there are 1000 reasons why they may have not responded jumping to the worse is just 1.
Deal with it and move on – Now I know stuff around money and relationships especially family is a little tricky to start with however you need to ask yourself “how long will ai be in this level of thinking, how long will I let it occupy my thoughts?” I like to think that dealing with what I call the “stinky thinking” needs to be done a swiftly as you can cause if not you could spend hours or even days preoccupying yourself with needless levels of stress that could have been avoided if you only took a moment of pause.
So the next time you are heading for that act of desperation, try to think about all the other thoughts you could be having that are productive rather than reactive and perhaps giving your attention to the solution would better serve you. I think the tote of the book by Richard Carlson sums it up perfectly “ Don’t sweat the small stuff and it’s all small stuff”
Onwards and UPwards