At the end of another jampacked day, do you think about everything you’ve accomplished? Or do you find yourself tossing, turning and stressing over what didn’t get done?
Unfortunately too many of us with an entrepreneurial spirit internalize “You can do anything you put your mind to” to mean you should do everything and do everything perfectly! This mindset only leads to unrealistic expectations which lead to conflict and stress. You give yourself too much to do, run out of time and energy, and then feel guilty that you failed to do the impossible.
Stressing less is not about time management, it’s about you management.
1. Speak Your Truth.
Are you running around pleasing others, putting everyone else’s needs before yours, and agreeing to do things you don’t want to do? It’s time to get honest about what you really want and align your thoughts, words and actions to your truth. Otherwise your mind says one thing as your mouth says another and you wonder why you’re stressed! You’re never going to make everyone happy so stop trying. You’re only setting yourself up to fail. Rather than lecture your child about being honest, start practicing what you preach and match your mouth with your motions. Remember, “No” is a complete sentence.
2. Make a Not To Do List.
No matter how much you delegate, organize, prioritize or simplify you’re never going to have enough time to get it all done. Ask, “Is this in alignment with my core values?” If not, it goes on the not-to-do list. Give yourself permission to take it off your list and plug the mental energy drain. My personal not to do list includes volunteering time (I’ll find another way to show my support), organizing pictures and learning a second language. Let go of the guilt and reallocate your energy towards what you want most.
3. Love is Messy.
Many moons ago I had a beautiful apartment with nothing on the countertops, the pillows fluffed, and vacuum tracks on the carpet. I was also single and alone. Now that I have a family, I realize it’s not about perfection, it’s about connection. A perfectly clean house does not define you, it confines you. You’re never going to achieve your goals if you keep reorganizing the dishwasher! Tell yourself, “everything is not perfect, but I am perfect with everything.” And go connect with those that matter.
Change the way you look at things. For example, is this really going to matter five years from now? Of all the things you need to do, which will have the greatest impact a year from now? My personal mantra is I Am Too Blessed to Be Stressed. Repeating it reminds me that the fastest way to eliminate stress is to refocus my attitude to gratitude. While you’re at it, change your definition of Self-ISH. Balance requires boundaries. I like to say the ISH in selfish stands for I Stay Healthy and I Stay Happy. Make choices that demonstrate kindness and respect to everyone, including you.
5. Dare not to compare.
Stop comparing yourself to others. You are comparing apples and oranges without even realizing it. Your selfesteem plummets when you compare yourself to super achievers or individuals who are in a different place or stage in life. You are probably not seeing the full picture and the truth behind it. No matter how put together someone seems we all have stuff we are dealing with on the inside. Give yourself credit for your efforts, do your best daily, and draw inspiration from others instead of comparisons. And in case you’ve forgotten or don’t realize it, you are an inspiration to someone, even if you don’t know it.
6. More is not better.
Studies show most parents want their children to be happy. Is adding more activities, lessons, and practices to your children’s already overloaded schedule really best for them right now? And you? Do you really need to take on another project or commitment? How many pairs of shoes, clothes in your closet, or items in your home do you really need? That means more stuff to clean, organize, store, and pay for. More usually creates more stress and less freedom.
7. Ask for what you need to succeed.
When you ask, be clear and direct. Your Mom repeatedly calls you during the day: “Mom, I’d love to talk in the evening. Daytime is my time to focus on my business.” Express to your late paying client: In order to move forward on this project, I need to receive payment on my invoice.” Tell the masseuse who won’t stop talking: “Can we talk following the massage? I really appreciate the quiet time.” Put your pride on the side and ask for help and support when you need it. Remember, asking for help is not a sign of weakness; but a healthy way to remain strong.
You’ve probably heard some of these strategies and even gave similar advice. But what’s going to really create long-lasting improvement? The biggest, most impactful change which improved every aspect of my life was mastering speaking my truth. Dig deep, get honest, and be brave. Align your thoughts, words, and actions to what you really want. By applying these seven strategies to my truth, I was finally able to maintain a 50 lb. weight loss, create the business of my dreams, and become the best loving mom I could be. The next time you feel inner conflict, stop the stress cycle. Match your mind, mouth, and motions with love, compassion, and respect for yourself and others. Be passionate, speak your truth, and decide you deserve to live the life YOU want to live.