Coach and Cognitive Hypnotherapist Victoria Ward explores how to deal with overwhelm, impatience and fear on the journey to success
One of the biggest lessons I've had to learn from starting my own business is the need to be patient. It hasn't always been easy though. Whether it was getting my website up and running, signing on those first clients, or researching systems to make my day more efficient, I have often heard that child-like voice inside moaning: "Are we nearly there yet?" and "How much longer will it be?"
Five years in to my business, and that voice is still there. How much longer will it be before I have enough clients paying me enough money that I can take the winter off to lie on a beach somewhere? Am I nearly there yet with all the blogging and marketing and networking so that I can focus more on the stuff I love doing? How much longer until I really believe that I'm good at what I do anyway?
We all have destinations in our life that we want to reach but it feels like forever until we'll get there, if we'll ever get there at all that is. Wouldn't it be great if we could jump into a time machine and fast forward to the moment of our success, without all the hard work and patience required to make the journey?
After all, no-one wants to forgo their favourite foods in order to drop a dress size. And who relishes the late nights necessary to get their own business of the ground while still working their day job? We want the results, and we want them now.
Waiting for something to be different
Part of the problem can be that the task ahead seems so big that you end up frozen with inaction, overwhelmed and giving up before you're really started. Or deeper down, you're scared you'll fail so you don't even begin and you just end up waiting. Waiting for something to happen that will make this time different from every other time you've told yourself you'll do it, yet never have.
Sadly, there is no time machine yet. And without action, that waiting will just go on... forever. Waiting won't make that book you've been planning write itself. It won't make that language you want to learn magically flow from the tip of your tongue. It won't grant you the qualification you need to take your business to the next level, or imprint the chords of Hotel California in your muscle memory.
It takes time to bring our goals into reality, and discipline to keep in check that foot-stomping little child who WANTS IT NOW! Instead, my advice is to slow down. Find the courage to trust things will come together, rather than always having to know exactly how, when or where. Acknowledge that if you're taking steps - no matter how small - towards what you want, you'll get there eventually. It's only when you sit down and sulk at the side of the road, that all progress stops too.
How to deal with overwhelm and fear
If you find yourself facing a task that just seems too enormous in size to overcome, here are some ideas on how to deal with the urge to shrink away from it.
- Look back on things that you have achieved that were once challenging to you. From learning to ride a bike, to understanding your accountancy software. Some things took longer than you expected, some were quicker, but consistent action got you there eventually.
- Remember those times you worried yourself sick, yet it had no effect on the outcome at all. Does it help in any way to spend your time feeling uncomfortable?
- Recall times in the past when you were patient and good things happened. If you'd given up, would you have been so well rewarded?
- Stop waiting to be happy. Look around you and notice what you've already got to be grateful for that you're forgetting to appreciate.
- You might think you can see into the future - but you really can't. Take care of what's going on right now, the future will work itself out.
- Let go of the need to get everything right 'or else'. Make mistakes, fail. It's all just something to learn from and leave behind. Give yourself permission to not be perfect.
- Take action every day towards what you want. Notice what you're putting off doing, and tackle that first.
- Be patient. There's nothing you SHOULD be doing, only what you choose to do. And if you're choosing to do it, then you may as well enjoy the journey.