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Overcoming Entrepreneurial Overwhelm!

by Karen Lindwall-Bourg

KarenB “There are very few certainties that touch us all in this mortal experience, but one of the absolutes is that we will experience hardship and stress at some point.”
—James Dobson

…BUT why does this stress have to be so exacerbated during the holidays?

I love this time of year! Not only is everything beautifully decorated and oh-so romantic with lights, music, and the smells of the holiday season; it is also a time to look back on the year and evaluate successes and challenges and to look at accomplished goals and places where I fell short of my dreams.

During that self-evaluation process, I am sure not to judge myself too harshly—after all, life does happen, and even with my best intentions things just don’t always come together as planned. Fortunately for us, the Lord directs our steps. Proverbs 16:9 states,

“The heart of man plans his way,
but the Lord establishes his steps.”

God’s answer is the real power that shapes events and enables me to give the right answer and take the right steps.

Another part of my evaluation process involves looking at how I felt while accomplishing my goals. This might not seem relevant, but being frustrated, overwhelmed, or disorganized while trying to make things happen can actually keep them from happening!

One of the reasons I like looking at my goals around Christmas and New Year’s is because this is one of the busiest times of year. Having a lot to do in a little bit of time and the stresses that surround the season may lead to a renewal of those feelings that kept me from achieving my goals. So, when I start to feel that oh-so-familiar overwhelm and frustration, I can focus on solutions for my next set of goals.

When I look at my goals and the never-ending to-do list, I will do a few things differently this time to help soothe that sense of “oh-my-how-will-I-ever-get-this-done” panic.

Let’s work on these together this season!

Let’s Get Organized

Find something that works for you, and stick to it. It doesn’t have to be fancy or complicated. Use a spreadsheet or an online project management tool. Basecamp works for me, but there are many others available. Just keep it simple. Your time-organizing project should not take more time to construct than it takes to complete the items on your to-do list (talking to myself, here!).

Schedule, Schedule, Schedule

This is one of the most underrated and under-observed skills. Create a quarter or a year’s worth of goals and put a realistic timeline on them. You can’t make your life and business dreams come true by wishing. There has to be a concrete plan. Part of that plan includes putting firm deadlines on your goals. Making those timelines and each action step concrete will be a huge help in limiting overwhelm while achieving your goals. After all, it is often procrastination that makes us feel pressure to complete things, which leads to stress, overwhelm, and frustration.

…or…

Work Through & Celebrate Your POWER-HOUR!

Blocking off 15, 30, 45 minutes or an hour to focus on one specific task has worked well for me. Set a time, power through the hour, and see how much you can accomplish!  Celebrate what you have achieved rather than mourning over what you didn’t compete.

Hire Help

While it might seem weird to hire help during the holidays, it will help you keep up continuity in your business while you attend to all your holiday festivities. The absolute best way to achieve your goals is to get help. You can’t do it all by yourself. You need someone who can help shoulder the workload. You can outsource small stuff like research or reports. You can hire experts to manage your social media. You can contract with a freelance writer to keep up your blog posts and other writing. You can hire a virtual assistant to help with almost anything (thank you, Courtenay!). For busy moms, I suggest a housekeeper. You’d be surprised what a load that takes off (thanks, Lorena!).karenA

 

Take some time to think about how you feel during this busy time of year and how those same feelings may carry over into other projects later in the year. Now, as you write your goals for the year, add in solutions for overcoming those difficult spots. Solutions may include:

  • Taking a weekend retreat to pray, plan, and write your goals.
  • Hiring help in the form of a VA, freelance writer, social media expert, or housekeeper.
  • Setting realistic timelines on your goals, especially if you are working with a team.
  • Planning on days off when you unplug and focus on things that are not your business.

Comment below with solutions you will write into your goals this next year to help you avoid overwhelm at the holidays and all year long!

The Lord’s certain purpose and His answers will stand in spite of and in the midst of my plans.

 

Don’t wait until you feel you are at the end of your rope!

Visit our website at rhemacounseling.com.

Call us at 214-491-1991.

For monthly support, join us at the Helping Professionals Alliance webpage and the HPA Facebook page.

At RHEMA, our Licensed or Pastoral Counselors can help you get back on track.

Ask for an “Entrepreneurial Discount” through the end of January 2015!

See also Proverbs 16:1-2, 9; 19:21; 20:24 and Psalm 37:23 and Jeremiah 10:23.

 

Karen Lindwall-Bourg is the Founder of RHEMA Counseling Associates, a Biblical Counseling, KarenLCoaching, and Training Center seeking to honor the Lord by leading others to the Sovereign God and the cross and Life of Jesus Christ, empowered by the Holy Spirit and equipped with the Sufficient Word [Greek: rhema] of God for abundant life and ministry. Karen lives with her husband Fred in North Central Texas, and spends as much time as possible with their 6 children, 5 grandchildren, extended family, and menagerie of ranch animals. www.rhemacounseling.com.

The Gift of Being Present

 

Christmas_bauble_black_and_whiteI used to love the Holidays!

I remember when my husband and I first got married, we shopped very carefully and specifically for the decorations we put in our home. I even remember feeling a little sad that our tree was decorated with store-bought ornaments instead of the handmade treasures that hung on my family tree. I looked forward to future Christmases when our future children would hang their treasured gifts made at school and church.

Flash forward MANY years. . .These days, it seems there’s barely time to put the tree up, let alone sit in front of a roaring fire making family memories like those I see in the faded Polaroids of my childhood. It seems I run from one event to the next—a choir concert here, a band concert there. The Advent activities of our church calendar are penciled in between shopping, preparing, and juggling an assortment of activities that flash by in a frenzy, only to collapse in a heap on New Year’s Day wondering where the time went and promising myself, “Next Year. . .”

Have you found yourself feeling the same?

Give yourself the gift of being present for the things that matter most. Don’t just survive the holidays this year! Enjoy them!

Be determined to slow down and not over-extend yourself. Give the gift of time and joyful experiences together. Choose to do the things that truly matter and release the rest.

Yes, there will be concerts and chaos. But this year, release the “should’s” and “have to’s”. In order to be fully present, we must let go of busyness and only do the things that truly matter.

What activities or routines can you release this year so that you too have the gift of presence?

  • Ask your family what their most favorite traditions are, and only include those. You might be surprised at the things they identify as unimportant that you believed were critical to their happiness!
  • Include your family in the activities you have selected to do—shopping, wrapping, decorating, etc. Don’t do it by yourself in an effort to get more done, quicker.
  • Let things go! Create a schedule that is balanced and not overcrowded! Stop living in the margins of your life, and embrace the true blessings of this amazing season and the true gifts of Christ’s abundance through His birth.

Repeat after me: “This year, I promise to be fully present in the allotted 24 hours a day I’ve been given. Being fully present is the gift I’m giving to myself and to those I love. I will spend time with God in gratitude and Thanksgiving for all that He has brought into my life, and, through the overflow of His Holy Spirit, I will choose the true gifts of Love and Time for my family and friends as we make memories together. I choose to give myself permission to do only the things that matter the most—not what we ‘have always done’ or ‘what we should do.’”

My prayer is that you truly experience the joy of the holidays and the true meaning of Christmas in ways you never believed possible.

 

Shannon Marketing photo 2Shannon Spencer is the Founder and CEO of The Savvy Woman Business Network, Executive Coach, Joy Strategist and Marketplace Minister. A life-long entrepreneur who is passionate about shining the light of Christ through all she does, she has a strong background in retail management and specialized in Mental Health and Wellness. Shannon lives in the wine country of Kennewick, Washington with her amazing husband and talented teenagers, where she teaches and empowers Christian Mom-preneurs to fulfill their missions at home and through their work with joy. Kingdom living is her passion. Find out more about Shannon—and her newest program, Cultivating a CEO Mindset for Savvy Mom-preneurs—at www.TheSavvyWoman.org.

 

8 Ways to Relieve Stress as an Entrepreneur

 

stressed babyHere I am just hours away from a writing deadline. I have a million things to do, and, I confess, I just remembered that my blog on leadership is due. I forgot to put it on my calendar, and one thing I’ve learned is that if it’s not on my calendar, I won’t remember to do it. Now I’m stressed.

Life is full of stressors. As leaders, we must learn to deal with stress in positive ways, so our influence continues to advance in healthy ways. Factors that cause us tension are innumerable to count but can include anything from life changes to job challenges, financial problems to relationship issues, and not to mention our chronic busy lifestyles.

For many people, stress is so commonplace that it has become a way of life. In small doses, stress isn’t bad and can serve to motivate us to do our best, but when we stay in a constant state of “emergency mode,” it has harmful effects on our minds and bodies, including memory problems, a weakened immune system, high cortisol levels and fatigued adrenal glands, an inability to concentrate, moodiness and irritability, feeling overwhelmed, digestive problems, disturbed sleeping, depression—and these are just to name a few.

Here are eight tips to relieve stress for a happier and healthier life:

  1. Breathe Deep. Breathing oxygenates the brain and body. Just a few deep breaths can help reduce tension, calm us down, reduce blood pressure, and relieve stress.
  1. Practice Visualization. Stop a moment, close your eyes, sit back and relax, and imagine yourself in a peaceful scene or a favorite place, or maybe visualize yourself accomplishing a desired goal. My favorite is to visualize a scripture like Psalm 23:5 or Psalm 27:5.
  1. Make a Positive Declaration. Along with visualization, I like to make a positive declaration of what I’m seeing. This also helps to stop any negative self-talk swirling inside my thoughts. I like to decree words like, “I am full of the joy of God’s presence,” or “I flourish in life through the wisdom that God gives me,” or “God directs my path, and I trust His guidance.” Negative thoughts and words work to reinforce stress; we break their hold on us when we rehearse positive truth.
  1. Pop a Peppermint! Eating and drinking something sweet is soothing because it stems the production of the stress hormone, glucocorticoid. It is why we reach for cookies or ice cream when we are stressed. The gut-brain connection is also called the “gut-brain axis,” and the gut we know is the largest of organ of our immune system. Though peppermint candy has sugar, it does contain peppermint oil that is not only cooling and energizing, but also good for digestion. It’s why restaurants often offer peppermints as an after-dinner treat. I personally enjoy peppermint not only as a treat, but also as an essential oil in my bath, in my diffuser, or externally applied for relieving stress and energizing my mood. It’s great!
  1. Plan to have fun! Put fun activities on your calendar. As entrepreneurs, it is easy to work all the time, but rest and relaxation are critical parts of a healthy life. It means turning off the whirling mind and doing something other than staring at your computer and working on your to-do list. Take time to have an outing or a new adventure with your spouse or a friend. Regularly.
  1. Dance like crazy. Movement is important to rid the body of stress toxins, whether it’s stretching, walking, or aerobics. One of the best ways to move is dancing! Dancing is a fun way to stimulate circulation, oxygenation, and help detoxify the body. It also helps brain stimulation.
  1. Get organized. Disorganization causes stress. Have you ever wasted thirty minutes looking frantically for a document or item that should have only taken you a minute to find if you’d had only been organized? I know the feeling, and it is stressful! One of the National Association of Christian Women Entrepreneur (NACWE) leaders, Paula Tobey, recently wrote a great blog titled, “7 Sanity Savers for Organizing Your Life as a Work-at-Home Entrepreneur.” I recommend her tips to help you organize your at-home business life for an enhanced stress-free lifestyle. Check out this link: https://nacwe.org/7-sanity-savers-organizing-life-work-home-entrepreneur/
  1. Get over yourself. We all are prone to focus too intensely on ourselves, and we all need the reminder to not do that. Instead, give yourself grace! Life isn’t about you, your perfection, or your ability to get everything right and fix every problem. Life is about God and His good purposes. You are simply His child on a learning journey with Him. He will work things out as you give Him every area of your life. Lean on Him for His counsel, wisdom, and understanding in all you do, and let praise carry you through what you don’t get yet.

So, what do you do to de-stress?

 

Nicole-headshotJ. Nicole Williamson is an inspirational speaker, author, and CEO of King’s Lantern International, a motivational ministry. Certified with AACC and a licensed minister with a Bachelor of Theology, she trains in personal development through empowered thinking, authentic identity, and intimacy with God. Her books include The Empowered Woman, Heaven’s Secret of Success, and Freedom in the Light. She and her husband live in the Dallas, Texas area. For more information, see www.kingslantern.com.

 

Leading Through Peace

059209-stress-womanI think most can agree that we live in a world of not only increased technology, but increased stress, too. Peace is often a bliss that escapes us, rather than a constant inward reality.

Nevertheless, whether we are business leaders, ministry leaders, or parents, our peace level is critical to our leadership and influence. Inner chaos or chronic stress not only impacts our ability to think clearly or respond appropriately, but it impacts those around us. Scientific studies have now actually given this a name—it’s called “secondhand stress.”

As leaders, we often look for peace through positive partnerships, harmonious interactions, and smooth transactions. However, conflict is a part of this world, sometimes to an extreme. While the definition of peace includes “freedom from disturbance or oppressive thoughts, harmony, and calm,” learning to keep in peace isn’t always an easy thing. Unchecked levels of personal stress not only wear us out mentally, emotionally, and physically, they can easily perpetuate a state of chaos in those we lead.

I recently took a Critical Incident Stress Management course and was impacted by one simple fact: when conflict or chaos happens, the first thing people seek is safety and stabilization—we seek peace. We look for what will bring us back to a sense of “norm.” And if we can’t find it, we may look to unhealthy ways of self-comforting. The truth is that God created us to function from a place of peace. It is no wonder that the Redeemer He sent to restore us is called the Prince of Peace.

So, how can we both live and lead in peace in the midst of a chaotic world? Here are seven helpful tips:

  1. Seek solutions, not control—We like to control life (and people) around us. And when we can’t, we get stressed and out of peace. Learning to find solutions and implement helpful changes where we can, as well as accepting what we can’t change, is important for abiding in peace. Seek out wisdom from trustworthy voices on ways to ease any conflict that is troubling you.
  1. Practice positivity—Perspective is key! Practice looking at situations from a different perspective and positive outlook. Address any mindsets that are sabotaging your peace, as well as where that mindset came in; hold them up to the clarifying light of God’s truth. Also, take time to do something you enjoy. Laugh as often as you can! Laughter is like emotional aerobics that flings away disturbances of the soul.
  1. Forgive—Bitterness and resentment war against your peace. They wreak havoc in your mind and body, elevating cortisol levels, increasing blood pressures, straining adrenals, and keeping you imprisoned in negative emotions. Forgiveness isn’t approving another’s wrong or sweeping things under the rug. It means that you don’t allow the offense to dominate you or implant a bitter root inside you. Forgiveness means to send the offense away as you commit the situation to God and look to Him for His counsel. He is able to bring about good out of something bad.
  1. Love how God made you—Celebrate who you are and the gifts you have. Don’t compare yourselves to others. 2 Corinthians 10:12 calls comparing ourselves with others as “unwise.” You are unique—celebrate it! Doing so overthrows the voices that want to oppress you with words of unworthiness or lack of value. These war against peace. Your uniqueness is a beautiful facet of His image that He wants to shine.
  1. Practice self-care—Eat healthy and exercise. Choose healthy foods that nourish brain and body activities, rather than junk food that may taste good but actually works against healthy brain and body functions and thus against inner harmony. You may be tempted to reach for an unhealthy “comfort” food when stressed, but healthy food is critical for restoring taxed adrenals. Begin to make those lifestyle changes so that eating healthy is a “norm.” Worry and stress create toxins; these wear you down at the cellular level. Another way to get rid of them is through exercise. Make a habit of 15-30 minutes a day to exercise and release those toxins from your body.
  1. Get organized—Disorder is another factor that creates stress. Set aside a day to put things in order. If you need to, hire someone to help you get organized. Peace is a by-product of order.
  1. Trust God in the uncomfortable—Practice rehearsing God’s promises, as well as past experiences where you have seen God come through for you. Exercise confidence with expectation that He who is faithful will bring you through to an expected end. And remember, the God of Peace will crush Satan under your feet…shortly (Rom. 16:20).

How about you? What do you find helpful to keep your soul in a place of inner peace?

Nicole-headshotJ. Nicole Williamson is an inspirational speaker, author, and CEO of King’s Lantern International, a motivational ministry. Certified with AACC and a licensed minister with a Bachelor of Theology, she trains in personal development through empowered thinking, authentic identity, and intimacy with God. Her books include The Empowered Woman, Heaven’s Secret of Success, and Freedom in the Light. She and her husband live in the Dallas, Texas area. For more information, see www.kingslantern.com.