I knew starting my own business would be challenging, and it has been. There are lots of unknowns, many things I had (and still have) to learn as I go. One of the most unexpected and interesting learnings for me has been about myself.
I honestly didn’t realize how much pressure I put on myself. All the time.
Being a coach puts my analytic powers to good use. I use the tools I learned through training on myself daily, digging in to understand what’s motivating me, what’s holding me back, what is causing me frustration or stress. A lot of the frustration and stress I experience is completely due to the thoughts in my head. While this is somewhat annoying (why do I DO that?), I also know how to change it.
One of the thoughts that is on the frequent playlist in my head is “I’m not doing enough.” This can apply to many areas of my life: triathlon training, housework, family time. (The way we do one thing is the way we do everything.) But I’d like to share how it shows up in my work life. I hope that by sharing this, you may gain some insight and relief in your own work life.
What I’ve realized is that this thought comes up regardless of where I work, who I work for, or what I’m working on. And while it may seem like this is a motivating thought that makes me do more, more, more (and therefore achieve more, more, more), that’s not the case. When I have the thought that I’m not doing enough, it’s demoralizing. I feel overwhelmed and feel like it’s impossible to achieve. And it is. “Enough” must be defined, or it is always an impossible goal.
I’ve learned that the brain always tries to prove itself right. It constantly looks for evidence to support its thinking. So if I’m thinking “I’m not doing enough,” I can find piles of papers that need to be filed, unfinished projects, and of course there’s always the never-ending email inbox. All these pieces of evidence support that faulty thought.
But turn it around. After defining for yourself (understanding that your boss likely has some input) what “enough” is, find evidence for how you ARE doing enough. For me, I set aside a number of hours a day and a week to work on my different projects. I make a list of to-do’s (I get much satisfaction from checking them off!). I set deadlines for myself and meet them. And I focus on what I’ve accomplished instead of what I haven’t yet.
The other key to making my brain work for me instead of against me…reminding myself why I’m doing this. I’m an entrepreneur because I wanted more flexibility. I wanted to do something that helps people. And because coaching makes me happy. So I can ask myself: did I take advantage of the flexibility of my job today? Did I help someone today? Am I happy? And if the answer to those is yes, then I can put my over-active brain at ease: I did enough.
Do you need help identifying where you might be overworking yourself? I help professionals set and achieve goals that really matter to them. I can help you love the job you’re in or make a plan to create a job you’ll love.