Problogger, Gina Blitstein, offers up simple, yet effective, solutions to common problems women entrepreneurs face and the stresses they can lead to.
By Gina Blitstein
Recently I read a comment from a woman I follow on Twitter. She’s a cool lady whose blog I was fortunate to discover a couple years ago. I enjoyed her authenticity and her sense of humor. She’s an all-around nice person I’d be happy to know in real life - but only know virtually. She tweets about everything from her children’s adventures and misadventures, her ostensibly wonderful husband, trials at work or rudeness at her local Burger King. Like I said, she has all the appeal of a friend - except, of course, we’ve never actually met.
But anyone who’s chatted with those we meet in online communities like Twitter know that sometimes among the more banal and mundane comments we share in order to connect with one another is once in a while a kernel of wisdom - or at least truth and genuineness. And on September 28th, that’s exactly what I heard from this friend, “C.” Here is her Tweet, verbatim: “All day I’ve been feeling like my life is running me. I want to change that, but … how to be in charge, but not rigid?” “Wow!” I thought…”That’s heavy.” Her comment struck me as a genuine cry for help. C is definitely not alone in feeling this way - we’ve all been there. It just came out of the blue at 7:06 PM and was a call to action. “That’s a great topic for a Work It, Mom article!” I thought. C’s words resonated with me and sparked a plan - I’d research and write on this topic to help solve this dilemma for C and the rest of us who suffer from feeling this way!
The first step to attacking a problem is to identify how it has come to be. Let’s explore some of the possible reasons our lives are leading us around by the nose.
“We have the sense our lives are running us versus our running them because we engage daily in the single most deadly combat known to the professional woman today: Clock combat,” says Christine Louise Hohlbaum, author of ‘The Power of Slow: 101 Ways to Save Time in Our 24/7 World.’ Christine explains, “We race against time with a collective sense of urgency and somehow think by doing so, we are productive. It’s simply not true. We may not be to control time, but we can control what we do in the time we have.”
Christine outlines the misgivings under which we operate that cause us to feel a loss of control over our own lives. Many of us - unfortunately - can relate to these ways of getting through the day.
Problem #1 - We attempt to do too many things at once. Multitasking is a myth. Science shows our brains task-switch. We simply cannot fully focus on more than one thing at a time.
Solution - Slow down and look at the Big Picture. What are you running toward? Take a moment to remember what is truly important, then focus on that ~one thing at a time!
Problem #2 - We say ‘yes’ when we mean ‘no.’ It leads to unnecessary stress as we try to please everyone other than ourselves (including clients, family, friends and colleagues).
Solution - Learn to say ‘no’ with kindness. Remember saying ‘no’ to something is actually saying ‘yes’ to yourself.
Problem #3 - We forget who’s running the ship. Too often we think external circumstances are in control. The reality is we are.
Solution - Remember you are the master of your own ship. How you decide to divvy out the units in your personal bank account of time is entirely up to you.
Certainly these are issues worth taking some effort to think about. Often we are so busy and have so many demands upon our time and energy that we slip into ‘auto pilot’ rather than making the very changes that could put us back in the driver’s seat. No wonder we feel that we’re not in charge…we’re not!
Admittedly, we will rock the proverbial boat by delegating, slowing our pace and simplifying; however that is precisely the type of change we need to implement in order to get a handle on our life. But that’s the thing…it’s our life and we should - and can - be in charge. Now that we’re aware of some of the pitfalls to which we’ve succumbed, let’s climb out - one step at a time - and start making the changes it will take to be the one running the show!
What changes can you make to stop being run by your life?