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Overcoming Overwhelm In Your Life and Business

Overcoming Overwhelm In Your Life and Business

If I could sum up every day of the first year of building and running my start-up, I would condense it into one word: overwhelmed.

Maybe you can relate. Some women experience frequent chest pains, nausea, hair loss, dizziness and other symptoms just from being engaged in stressful work.

Building a thriving business, transitioning into leadership for the first time and leaving an old job for a new career can all lead to these high levels of anxiety and overwhelm, especially if you are a perfectionist.  There are ways to eliminate this feeling from your life so that you can lead from a place of peace, joy and calm.

If you are not taking care of yourself there is no way that you can take care of anyone else, be it clients, students, family, friends and customers. 

[Related: What I've Learned as an Entrepreneur (and Didn't Know as a Corporate Exec)]

Thankfully, there are ways to get through the storm.

1. Get out of the weeds and delegate what you can.

The art of delegation is a necessary for every kind of leader. You cannot do it all, and quite frankly when done right “leading” is a job unto itself. 

Small tasks that take up massive amounts of time should be assigned to your support team so that you can focus on high level areas, partnerships, organizational growth, leadership and strategy. Getting caught in the details when you have capable people around you is not the best use of your time. Make a list of everything for the day that needs to get done and highlight the things that your team can take care of. (If you don’t have a team yet, this is the perfect time to bring on an hourly Virtual Assistant (VA) to help.

Another strategy is to look at your list and ask yourself “What are the key decisions that I can make today that will either make everything on this list irrelevant or no longer my immediate concern?" A high level analysis of your to-do’s will keep you focused on looking at the bigger, strategic picture. 

2. Build your support team

Having a coach or mentor is part of your own self care. We all need someone, and human connection with someone who is there just for us is what takes ordinary leaders from ordinary to phenomenal and highly effective leaders. Start to grow your support system and use a part of your coaching sessions for a clearing – a time for you to really get some things off of your chest. It works wonders.

[Related: Why You Should NOT Leave Your Job To Become An Entrepreneur]

3. Exercise Daily

There is something about moving that just makes everything better. Don’t believe me – do some research. It has now been proven that exercise is a natural stress reliever. The blood pumping quickly through your body in a workout can increase your clarity, help you let off some necessary “steam” and improves your breathing.

4. Meditate, Reflect or Pray Daily

The power of journaling, reflecting, strengthening your spirituality and meditating on a daily basis cannot be understated. This work helps you to become more self aware of your actions resulting in greater opportunities to generate positive relationships with those that you interact with in your daily work. It is not easy to get into this routine and stick with it, but scheduling it first thing in the morning or right before bed will ensure that you start your day strong and in a positive light.

5. Change your mindset

Look for the positive in what you are faced with on a daily basis. If your website crashed, look at it as an opportunity to redesign better. If you lost your job, look at it as an opportunity to finally build your business.

[Related: Give Yourself 2 Minutes – Meditate Your Way to Calm]


Safiyah Satterwhite, a self care advocate, is trained by Columbia University Business School as an Executive Leadership Coach. Throughout her career she has served in the roles of Board Member, Founder & CEO of a multi-million dollar high performing school, United States Department of Education Office of Innovation Consultant New York City Leadership and School Quality Consultant, and Executive Leadership Coach for Columbia University

Have more questions? Follow up with the expert herself.


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Community Discussion
Kristi Duvall

This article is so appreciated and SO true!

June 19, 2015