Do you ever feel overwhelmed with the sheer number of tasks required to run your business? Or your life?
This was a recent hot seat discussion in one of my mastermind groups. Everyone was dealing with this!!
We agreed it all boils down to work/life balance, and, business systems!
In order to do the work we love; serving customers, creating products, delivering services and solving our customers problems, we need to implement effective business systems to generate and nurture qualified leads and convert them into raving fans – i.e. paying customers. Having systems to reduce the overwhelm creates a business that is easy, fun and fulfilling.
And it takes time.
So while we are working to create those systems – how do we maintain a life filled with family, friends, love, movement, meditation, spiritual and personal growth, travel, recreation, and ___________(fill in the blank)?!
This is a true “question of the ages”. One that every human being seeks an answer to.
There are many practical strategies to deal with the question of balance. (Our mastermind members shared some very creative tactics and we all left the session with several new nuggets!)
As with all challenges life throws our way, I believe combining mindset and strategy is the best approach.
With that in mind, I would like to share a story that has helped me virtually eliminate overwhelm. Really.
The Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration.
The year was 1910. The South Pole was one of last unexplored areas on earth, and two great explorers were each determined to be the first to set foot on the bottom of the earth.
Robert Scott, an Englishman, wanted to plant the flag at the Pole for his country, while Roald Amundsen wanted to claim the victory for Norway.
Historians have compared these heroic journeys for over a century and found many distinctions between the two.
Among them is the fact that Roald Amundsen and his team of five men skied and sledged for 5-6 hours and went an average of 20 nautical miles a day. Day in and day out. No matter how horrible the weather or how wicked the terrain. 20 miles a day was the goal.
Scott took a different approach. On days when the weather and terrain were in his favor, he and his men might go 40 miles. When the weather was foul, his team might not leave their tents at all.
The result? One leader led his team to victory, and one led his team to defeat. Can you guess who succeeded and who, tragically failed?
Amundsen planted his flag for Norway and returned safely, exactly as planned. Scott and his men did reach the South Pole, and all of them died on their return voyage from exhaustion, starvation and exposure.
Both were great men and courageous leaders. One had a detailed and thoroughly executed plan that include daily progress. The other took a different approach, one heavily influenced by reactions to daily conditions.
In what has come to be known as the 20 Mile March, Amundsen achieved his goal by setting a steady pace and sticking to his plan. No matter what.
Scott, on the other hand, pushed his men so hard on the good days, there was nothing left in reserve to continue the journey when the going was tough.
This powerful story makes me think of my business like my own 20 mile march. I remember that each day I have to:
- Set a goal, have a plan, and stick to it.
- Keep moving forward.
- Set a steady pace.
One thing that really resonated with me was finding the balance between full throttle and burnout.
On days when you are super stoked about your business and are on fire (!) – remember to hold back – because this can lead to burnout and exhaustion.
On days when you hate your business (!) keep moving forward anyway – because it is the nitty-gritty-daily-unsexy stuff that will mean the difference between success and failure.
When you start to feel overwhelmed, it is a sign that you are working too hard. It sounds like a paradox. It feels like you should work harder. I think what you should do is breathe. Consider your goals in business and life, and choose the best action for the moment that will move you steadily in the right direction.
This is how success happens. One day at a time. Slow and steady – like the turtle and hare – or Amundsen and Scott on the race to the South Pole.
How do you pace yourself? What works for you?