by Liesha Petrovich
You think I’m crazy right?
Well you’re not wrong, but hear me out. Stress, in the right amount, really can be your best friend.
Stress is your body’s way of telling us something is wrong. It’s a feeling you don’t like. It’s a feeling that you try to avoid at all cost. It’s the exact opposite of what you want in your life.
Stress isn’t the same as being hectic or busy. It’s the result of a challenge, or a situation you have no control over. But it can be very, very useful in your business.
When stress is calling your name, you need to listen. It’s trying to tell you something like “Hey you. Dealing with this client will kill us someday. Why are we talking to her – again! She’s demanding and insulting – we hate her! We cringe when we see her number on our phone. Why don’t we drop her like a hot potato? I try to tell you this every time…but you’re not listening to me!”
As a business owner and a mom, you’ve got a lot on your plate. Between running your business and managing a family, you’ve got a lot on your plate. So think of stress like this – it’s a girlfriend who would tell you you’ve got spinach in your teeth or that color doesn’t really suit you. It’s the girlfriend who loves you enough to tell you the truth, even if you don’t want to hear it.
The Never-Ending Stress Loop
You know the feeling, I don’t need to describe it to you. Most stress is an action/reaction situation. There is an action, like running late to a meeting because your baby sitter was late – again. The obvious reaction is stress, along with frustration and anger.
But you don’t have time to deal with this today!
You’re already running behind, you barely make it through your meeting, you’ve got 6 phone calls to return, and forget it’s your turn to pick up the kids. Then it’s off to [insert unreasonably demanding sport for a five year old] and then leftover dinner, baths, try to read your kid a book, catch up on emails, dishes, laundry, husband’s looking frisky…and maybe bed before 11pm.
Then you wake up in the morning and you do it all over again. And you’re baby sitter’s late. Again.
When in this incredibly exhausting schedule are you supposed to find time to fix the situation? Isn’t is just easier to deal with the stress. Surely, this too will pass. Right?
You cannot fix everything. But you can control some things, like your morning routine and frequently late baby sitter.
Until you fix the root cause of the stress, you’ll continue in this never-ending stress loop.
Stress is a Wake-Up Call for Your Business
It’s also a wake-up call for your personal life, but hey – I can’t fix everything!
Stress is your body’s way of telling you something is very, very wrong. It’s not a slight annoyance. It’s a check-tightening, can’t sleep, can’t breathe feeling that attacks when you’re least expecting it.
Here’s an easy example. Let’s say you get a phone call…from the most horrible, crazy, insulting, disrespecting client on the planet.
You see the number and your body has an immediate fight-or-flight response and floods your system with adrenaline. You know at some point you’re going to have to listen to the message (because you’ll never answering it willingly), and now you’re swamped with a feeling of complete and utter dread.
Because of a phone call you didn’t even pick up yet.
Do you see how your body is telling you something important? Like “I’d rather eat worms than ever talk to that client again”. It’s telling you – in physical terms – that this situation is not tolerable.
Why aren’t you listening?
Fixing it Isn’t Easy – But Your Business and Health Depends on It
Being a mompreneur is incredibly hard work. You probably feel overwhelmed most of the time, and dealing with added stress makes things extremely difficult.
But let’s take a look at the facts in this one stressful situation:
- The relationship with this horrible client is extremely stressful.
- The stress caused by this client impacts you physically and mentally.
- Your work suffers when you’re stressed to this level.
The entire situation impacts both your work and health, which means you may not be able to accomplish everything you need to do.
The answer is incredibly clear: Remove the stress-inducing client from the equation. It may not be easy, but let me ask you this one question?
Would you work better if you weren’t so stressed out?
Fix the Stress You Can Control
Normally when I speak with fellow mompreneurs about stressful situations, they say something like “But you can’t predict when your kid will get sick or your car will break down. So what’s the point?”
The point isn’t to try controlling every aspect of your life. That’s crazy, futile, and a complete waste of time.
You can’t control emergency situations that slam into your life like a Mack truck. But you can make a plan for emergency situations, regardless of what they are.
You can take a long, hard look at your business and identify what’s really going on with your business. Here’s an example of a common business stress that you can control:
Stress: You need more clients and you hear networking is a great option. But you hate talking to new people. In fact, it makes you want to throw up.
Problem: You’re closest competitor is great at networking. You know you’re losing business.
Solution: Take a class on networking, go to a networking even with a trusted colleague, or find a mentor. Build your confidence until you’re ready to go it alone.
Take Action to Improve Your Life and Business
None of this is easy – and I completely get it.
You’ll have to dig into painful, stressful, frustrating stuff. You have to admit that your current plan isn’t working. You’ll have to find solutions that may be difficult to implement. You’ll have to do the work.
So let me ask you one final question: Would having a less stress improve the success of your business?
I think we both know the answer to that one.
Liesha Petrovich is the creator of Micro Business Essentials, a blog dedicated to helping women balance their business and their crazy life. In her free time, she’s working on a Doctorate in Entrepreneurship. Grab a copy of Preventing Business Fires – a Mompreneur’s Workbook and follow her on Twitter