Do you have questions that keep you up at night? As hard as you think about them, answers just refuse to come?
Here are troubling questions that keep image consultants awake.
1. Should I be in business for myself or should I partner up with someone else so I look more professional?
2. I don’t have a lot of clients right now. Should I invest in more training?
3. Maybe I should invest a few thousand dollars to redesign my website. Maybe it would bring me more business.
4. Maybe I should create a membership program and make money online instead of from one-on-one clients. Everyone’s doing it, right?
These are all fine questions but when they keep tumbling in your head in an endless spin cycle, it can be distracting, debilitating, and exhausting. In weak moments you may even get fed up with the mental chatter and wonder, “Should I give up and go get a “real” job?”
When you hit that wall, it’s time to put on the brakes.
I wish I could say the idea of giving up never crossed my mind but it did—dozens of times, probably hundreds of times. Let’s face it! It takes courage to start a business and stick with it.
Over the years I’ve gathered a lot of tools to help myself when I’m struggling. Let me share a few with you now—just in case you need one one day.
Tools that bring relief
#1 Hear Me Out
Sometimes the biggest relief I receive when I don’t know what to do next comes from loved ones in my living room. I call this technique Hear Me Out.
My partner Russ is retired so he’s often around when Caitlin, my youngest daughter, shows up on Office Tuesday. I’m one of her clients. She helps lots of solopreneurs. She takes care of all the bookkeeping, bill paying, and financial reports and more.
When I’m grappling with something or have an idea for a new project, I run it by Caitlin and Russ on Office Tuesday. All I ask is that they hear me out. Sometimes I pitch them an idea and they think it’s great. They encourage me. Other times their brows get all wrinkled and they say something like “What were you thinking?” I can usually see what they’re seeing and graciously reply, “Oh, you’re right. Thanks for saving me from myself.” Do you have someone who can hear you out?
#2 Create Mental Space
One thing I do when I catch myself trying to force answers to questions is I see a stovetop in my mind and I slide those questions to the back burner. I tell myself that I don’t need solutions today. I momentarily put it all on the back burner and focus on something else. When I take a mental break the answer often pops into my head when I least expect it.
#3 Finish One Thing
Not long ago when I was faced with a bunch of deadlines (some of them real, some of them not real) I stopped, took a breath and wrote three words on a Post-it and put it on my computer. Finish one thing, it said. By taking one single task and seeing it through, I calmed myself down. I felt expansive. Is there one thing you can finish when your mind is full of clutter?
What do you do to calm your mind when you’re pushing hard for answers?