3 Forms of Entrepreneurial Overwhelm, Part 1 of 3

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overwhelmed business woman

Entrepreneurial overwhelm is one of the most common reasons for business failure – we don’t list it as “overwhelm” per se, but it’s the underlying cause.

Overwhelm creates paralysis, it results in us searching for a “magic pill” or other quick fix and it takes our focus off what we should be doing.

Before we can begin to manage or overcome our overwhelm, we first need to identify it.  What type of overwhelm are you currently experiencing?  (Note that it may be, and likely is, more than one type.)

  1. Too Much To Do – Everywhere you turn, something or someone is clamoring for your attention and you’re wondering where the steady stream of clients is. You “should” send out that solo email, you “should” follow-up with that promising prospect, you “should” create that new program, you “should” finish your bookkeeping, you “should” be running paid ads, you “should” have a retention plan in place and you “should” update your website. Did someone say article writing and syndication?  The list is never ending.  And, that’s a good thing.  When you’re a business owner, there should be lots to do.  Embrace it.  We’ll talk about how to manage it in a bit.
  2. “Where do I start?” or “What next?” – An offshoot of “Too Much To Do”, “Where do I start?” rears its head when there’s a project looming and there are SO many moving pieces.  Which one do you tackle first?  Which one will give you the greatest feeling of moving forward without taxing your energy?  Which steps do you know how to do and in which order?  Again, it can feel never ending – only here, it’s not a list, it’s more a jumbled mass of wires, something you need to unravel before you can figure out where to start.  Exhausting.  We’ll discuss how to manage it in a bit.
  3. “Do I have a viable business?” – Perhaps the most overwhelming of all the overwhelms is knowing whether or not what you’re doing will “succeed” (you define what that means). Will all your efforts be for naught? Will your business support your desired lifestyle for the long term or is it time to consider getting a job? Will your dreams take wings or will you forever be struggling to get clients and create leveraged and passive revenue streams?

Okay, now that you know the top 3 types of overwhelm, you likely immediately identified with 1, 2 or even all 3 of them.  So what’s next?

The key to overcoming entrepreneurial overwhelm is to understand where your business is in its growth stage AND act accordingly.  Stop acting “as if” and act “as is”.

Understand the attention and tasks which would best serve your business today to ensure a strong tomorrow and take action on those.  And yes, this often means going back and firming up your business foundation or paying attention to some of the basics that you skipped in your enthusiasm to be “as if” rather than “as is”.

Next week, we’ll cover the 3 stages of business growth, how to know where you are within the growth stages and what to focus on to move steadily forward without the overwhelm.

Photo courtesy of Storyblocks.com

Updated on Feb 26, 2020