In the past, my default was to do more whenever I felt overwhelmed. To react.
It’s like when you go to the doctor to get your physical; they tap your knee with a little mallet and your reflexes make your leg jump. They’re just testing to make sure everything works okay, and if all is well, that knee-jerk reaction is going to happen.
When a business owner gets overwhelmed, the typical reflexive response is to DO. This is true for anyone who needs to produce results, not just business owners, by the way. The impulse is to just get busy. To start another project, send another email, to produce another webinar, or make another call or another sale.
That has always been the case for me, at least. I always thought, “Hey, I can change this situation that I’m in. I don’t like what I’m feeling right now.” So reflexively, I would just make something happen. What I’ve found most often happened was I would create half-baked products or half-baked services or half-baked blog posts. Everything that came out of that reflex was, to be blunt, complete crap.
I was in this exact situation just the other day. I created something half-baked out of that reflex and it came back to bite me. It wasn’t a good product and people were upset. They had every reason to be upset! My reflex was to make something happen, which can be a good impulse to listen to. But there was zero planning behind my reflexive action. There was no strategy.
Working with the Reflex
Now I’ve switched my impulse. When things don’t go my way and I feel that reflex to do something or make something happen, I don’t ignore it. But I do I listen to it with intention. I let it serve as a guide on what area of the business needs attention, and then I take a step back and assess my thoughts.
I’m not always perfect at this, but funneling that feeling into reflection and strategy has produced way more for me as a person and in terms of results. Once I have pinpointed what that reflex is telling me, I determine one action I can take to get moving. From there I form a strategy from start to finish for implementing the solution.
Basically, when I feel that reflex, I take a step back, breathe, and think through it from start to finish. I will literally chart out the funnel on pen and paper and put little check boxes next to each step. I do that to make sure that the solution I implement is actually fully baked, is actually helpful, and won’t come back to bite me in the behind. Essentially, that it’s thought-through.
Ultimately that is what I’m looking for; a well thought out strategic move based on the reflex that I’m feeling. What I want is results. What I don’t want are half-baked ideas that leave my team and customers in the lurch.
What do you do when you feel overwhelmed? If you find yourself having that proverbial knee-jerk reaction, try slowing down and reflecting on a specific solution or strategy to a specific part of your business.