by Louisa Liska
When I first started the journey of entrepreneurship, I really didn’t know what to expect. I had been working in business for many years so felt confident with a lot of my skills and business knowledge. But as soon as the Google gods recognized I was looking at starting my own blog, a tidal wave of information rushed over me. There was course after course, product after product, best practices and more that all promised the secret to being successful in business. When you don’t know exactly what you are doing, everything seems equally viable and the pressure to “do it all” can be exhausting and debilitating.
About a month in I was feeling extremely overwhelmed. I had listened to a new training and was feeling anxious and paralyzed about what steps to take. Should I follow the advice of the person giving the training? Did I need to incorporate one more thing into my strategy? I was talking over how I was feeling with a friend and they asked me the following question:
“Fast-forward two years and imagine that you have a successful business. How would you feel about the training at that point?”
To which my answer was, “I would probably listen to it, take the information as one piece of input, and then make a decision about what would work best for me”.
That simple shift from “I have to do this or else I am going to fail” to recognizing advice as simply one path to consider completely released the anxiety I had been feeling. With this pressure released, I was able to refocus all my scattered energy onto actions that actually supported the work I was trying to create.
Trainings and education can have an essential role in learning to build a business. But to create something unique and meaningful, access to your own internal wisdom will always be your most strategic asset. When you are trying to do something new, it can be easy to ignore that internal voice in place of outside experts. But the problem with this is that it can often be debilitating and keep you from taking action. And without action, you are not going to get anywhere any time fast.
If you find yourself overwhelmed and hesitant to take action, I encourage you to ask yourself the same question my friend asked me:
“Fast-forward two years and imagine that you have a successful business. How would you feel about [insert whatever is stressing you out] at that point?”
The current version of you doesn’t have all the answers. But future you does. So when you’re not sure what to do, asking your future self can help you see things more clearly and tap into your own internal wisdom. This helps you stay focused on your own path and not get distracted by all of the noise. When you are focused you can direct your energy towards the most important activities for your business. You might not get it right 100% of the time, but by taking action you can keep learning and adapting and ultimately create something that you are proud of.
I hear so many people get trapped in indecision and information overload, and I feel tons of empathy because I have been there myself many times. If you are feeling that way, I encourage you to try this exercise and see how it can help you become unstuck and focused on moving forward.
Louisa is a productivity coach who believes that your value is based on more than just your productivity. Visit her at theactually.com for her free guide to creating an organization system that supports a balanced life in order to avoid burnout and feel more calm and joy. Louisa is a graduate of the Yale School of Drama and the General Manager of a major regional theater.