As someone with anxiety, overwhelm is one of the hardest things I experience in both my personal life and in my work life. Having processes in place to help control the overwhelm is a major step in controlling my anxiety and in keeping panic attacks at bay.
As a business coach myself, I’ve realized that half of what I do to help others manage at work (whether entrepreneurs or those working within organizations) is to help them organize and be in control of (or at least aware of) all the moving pieces.
One of the hardest parts of organization with anxiety (specifically feeling overwhelmed) is feeling like you’re in the circus act that’s spinning plates. But just when you think you can see all the plates and you have them all spinning well, you realize you’ve forgotten some, or some aren’t spinning fast enough, and then it feels like they’re all going to come crashing down, and you aren’t sure which to spin first, faster, or to let fall to the ground.
Oh, and the circus tigers just got loose. And the clowns are taunting you. And the music is blaring. And kids are crying. And the parents are yelling. And the ringmaster has lost all control.
Business coaching isn’t just for entrepreneurs and business managers.
There’s a common misconception that business coaching is just for entrepreneurs or those in ownership or management within larger corporations. But the truth is that business coaching is for anyone who wants to do better, succeed, or needs help in specific areas.
Anxiety is one of those areas. And anxiety is prevalent in every aspect and type of business. Whether you’re a solopreneur, responsible for others’ income, a remote worker, or at the beginning stages of your career, anxiety can be difficult to navigate. And coaching can help in every one of these areas.
As a coach, it’s my job to see the bigger picture, take inventory of the moving pieces, help you with actionable steps, provide resources, cheerlead at times, and be your accountability partner.
How to find a business coach.
There are many ways to find a business coach. You can use Google. You can search social media. You can look at professional associations and networking groups. But just like anything in business, don’t make snap decisions, and do your homework before hiring a coach.
Here are some good ways to connect with coaches, and things to consider when searching.
- Ask for referrals. Do you know successful people? They probably have coaches (even Serena Williams has a tennis coach, right? The most successful people realize that others can often see the big picture better than they can. Why is that? Because you’re emotionally attached to your work, but your coach isn’t. So ask around. Ask people you respect and admire. Ask people in your networking groups. Ask someone successful. Referrals are better than blindly choosing someone from the internet.
- Every coach’s website will tell you they are successful at what they do. They will have testimonials of their success. They will tell you how amazing they are to work with. It’s what advertising is for. They may be 100% accurate, or they may be only telling you about their success stories. Dig deeper. Don’t take any coach on face value of their website. Ask for references. Talk to past and present coaching clients who agree to talk to you.
- Search for the type of coach where you feel you need the most help: business, life, fitness, entrepreneur, management, or otherwise. Some coaches are broad business, and others niche down into more specific types of coaching or for specific audiences like women or certain levels of management.
- When you find a few coaches to consider, make sure to interview them first. A reputable coach will not charge you for a “get to know you” call or meeting. In this meeting make sure to ask broad questions, and not make it sound like you’re trying to get a free session. This meeting is to determine comfort and fit. Find someone you’re comfortable sharing your perceived shortcomings with, someone you’re ok with sharing about your anxiety, and someone you feel will be trustworthy with your information.
- Be prepared to pay for coaching services. Good coaching should reap rewards, but will also be a financial investment. Build a budget for coaching.
If you absolutely cannot afford coaching, all hope is not lost.
There are resources you can still use, but they will require more dedication and self-governance than having an accountability coach.
- Make lists. Check them. Check things off. Check them again. Lists are a great way to keep all the “spinning plates” insight. If the list gets messy, recreate it. Move tasks that weren’t completed to the new list, and keep adding to it.
- Use online task lists like Asana, Todoist, and Trello. There are many more to choose from, so take some time to find the one that makes the most sense to your organizational style. You will need to refer to it daily (even hourly), so make sure it’s one that makes sense to you and that you will use faithfully.
- Take time to do whatever it is that helps you stay grounded: yoga, meditation, prayer, crossword puzzles, scrolling through dog photos on Instagram, or whatever works for you. Do it every day. Give yourself that mental break that helps keep you calm.
- Find an accountability partner. Maybe you have a friend or colleague who also struggles with organization and overwhelm. Help hold each other accountable to the things on your lists. They may not be able to help organize and coach you, but they will be someone who can ask if you’ve completed what’s on your lists – and on time.
- Join Big Orange Heart. Our Life Groups and other peer-to-peer services make for great accountability partners, sounding boards, and safe spaces to share your struggles and victories.
Remember, you’re human.
We all make mistakes. We all experience setbacks. The people I coach don’t hit the mark every week, even with the best coaching and the best intentions. Sometimes life gets in the way. Sometimes it’s one step forward and two steps back. My job is to encourage them in spite of the setbacks and help them move forward with every step. It’s a process, a journey. It’s not perfection; it’s perseverance.
Whatever you find works for you, keep at it. You’re capable. You’re competent. You’re creative. You’re worth the investment in yourself.