With the start of a new business we think and plan for a variety of scenarios but not until it has a life of its own do we find out what obstacles we will overcome easily and what will prove extremely challenging. About a year into our opening I had my first brown bag moment.
What do I mean?
Well… a year of tackling obstacles and experiencing all sorts of new, self growth moments I felt dumped on and alone in it. On this particular day I had a handful of stressful situations to deal with and then I had an employee unexpectedly quit. Fortunately the weather was great I was able to sneak out the back door. At that point I wished I had a brown bag because it had all added up to be overwhelming and I was close to hyperventilating. The thought of wishing I had a brown bag with me provided a good laugh and broke up the stress.
I try to not let much get to me. To roll with it, and know it is a temporary moment. But on this particular day it piled up, and taking a moment to remove myself from it helped me recenter and refocus on moving forward. It is natural and alright to have moments of doubt. It means I am dealing with the reality and growth of the business. It also means self growth, which can be demanding and takes us to places we don’t anticipate and are out of our comfort zone.
A few techniques I’ve employed for the overwhelming moments…
Repeating a Mantra-mine usually has something to do with “This is a temporary situation and we will see ourselves through this successfully.”
Taking a Few Moments to Myself– By taking a few deep breaths outside or even going to get a cup coffee, I am able to leave the scene and let fresh thoughts provide new energy to the scenario.
Say No When I Need To-I don’t feel bad if the answer needs to be no. Sometimes these are requests of our business by employees or clients that don’t fit in our plan. Or maybe they fit perfectly, but I simply don’t have the time to give right now. Either way, I am better off declining up front.
Remember the Bigger Goals-One of ours is to be in the top 10% producers in our organization. We break it down into monthly, quarterly and annual goals to achieve. When the day is tough I review these and make sure to keep them as my focus and then work on what we can today, in this situation, to hammer away at those.
Have Small Attainable Wins-On the days that it feels like it is all crashing down it is important to make sure to get a win. Pick something you can accomplish that day that will move you in the right direction and do it. While you may not fix the entire situation, you will have moved one step closer and checked something off your list.
At these times I am also relieved that I am in business with my husband, who has been my best friend for the last 20 years. Knowing my business partner so well allows us to help each other through situations. Not only can we talk through tough situations together, but because we know each other so well it is clear when we need to pass the baton for the other to run with for a while.
Fortunately for us, while we can both get worked up about an issue we generally are great balance for each other. So when one of us is freaking out the other one provides a sensible, calm approach to finding a workable solution or recognizing that maybe there doesn’t need to be a solution.
Now I always bring my lunch in a brown paper bag…you know, just in case…