5 Tips to Overcome Distraction and Anxiety as a Business Owner
By: Kathleen Ries-Jubenville | Read time: 7 minutes
As business owners, if we focus on past regrets or future worries, we enable them to undermine our success. We must focus on what we can do in the present...how we feel about ourselves, how we treat others, and what small actions we can take to create some momentum. We must concentrate on the journey and celebrate each day's accomplishments and believe the results will take care of themselves. Setting long-term goals are great, but they are only helpful when we turn them into daily actionable items. We must take one step at a time on our Fearless Climb to the summit of success!
In this blog post, we will discuss how to turn your long-term goals into daily actionable items so you can concentrate on the journey and celebrate each day's accomplishments!
Are you someone who ruminates on the past? Or perhaps you spend more time worrying about the future? All of us do some of both! Our brains just go there, right? Our thoughts bombard us and vie for our attention. Scientists think we may have over 6,000 thoughts per day! And some days, it feels like most of them are negative. And I believe most negative thoughts are a result of thinking too much about the past or the future. Unless we are in physical danger or distress, our present situation is probably not that bad. This is why a gratitude practice is helpful. We are reminding our brain to focus on all of our present blessings to pause our brain from the constant stream of negativity. You get the same effect by working on a creative project where you are "in the flow" - meaning you are fully present on the task at hand.
Or maybe you disconnect from the real timeline of your life and spend hours watching TV or scrolling on social media? You are not in the past, present, or future, so you are not actively thinking or moving your body. This creates anxiety in us. Our bodies are energy-generating machines. If we are not burning that energy by using our brain or body muscles, we become nervous and jumpy. And those are mildly negative emotions that can build up over time and turn into more serious emotional problems.
Our desire to disconnect from reality is normal. Battling the demons in our past and the unknowns of the future can be exhausting. And that's what the forces of evil want. To wear us out. To distract us from the amazing purpose our Creator gave us; to keep us from bringing light into the world.
So how can we overcome all the fears that are constantly gnawing at us? How can we make progress and build a thriving business when, on some days, we feel so defeated?
Here are 5 tips to overcome distraction and anxiety as a business owner to become a more fully engaged and energized business leader!
1. Periodically disconnect from all social media.
Take regular breaks from scrolling through your social media feeds. This will help you focus on the present and not get lost in comparing your life to others' lives. Remember, what we see on social media is what people want us to see. It's rarely the entire truth of the challenges each person is struggling with in their life. And when we're constantly exposed to social media, it's easy to get caught up in the highlight reel of everyone else's lives and forget about what's happening in our own. Make a point to take some time for yourself each day, even if it's just for five minutes, to be present and appreciate your life as it is. Feel grateful for the people who love you and the things you enjoy. Set limits on the time you are spending scrolling, posting, and commenting. Fill that open space with business-building activities.
2. Permanently discontinue negative media input.
Tune out all the negative attention-seeking news and comments and avoid them at all costs. You can't put horrible ideas and feelings into your heart and expect good to come back out. It can be difficult to avoid all the anger and discontent in the world, but it's imperative for success. If business owners want to focus on the present, they need to protect their mindset from outside forces that would drag them down. This means no more watching the news, reading negative headlines, or listening to people complain. These things will only fill your head with negativity and make it harder to focus. Instead, surround yourself with positive things. Find a few good sources of news and information that focus on the positive. Follow people on social media who inspire you. Listen to podcasts that make you feel good. Read books that teach you something new. If you are a person of faith, read your Bible and engage in prayer. Do whatever you need to do to fill your head with positive things so you can be encouraged, and in turn, encouraging to others.
3. Go outside and pay attention to your surroundings.
Take a break, get some fresh air, and bring your attention to your surroundings. What do you see and hear? What do you smell? What does the air feel like on your skin? Now, bring your attention to your breath. Feel the rise and fall of your chest as you inhale and exhale. Just for a moment, let go of everything else on your mind and focus on being present. It is so important to be mindful and appreciate what is happening right now. Appreciate the beauty around you. Do you hear birds chirping? Are there flowers poking up between the cracks in the sidewalk? Is there the hum of traffic? Enjoy the diversity and activity of the life around you. Think about how amazing it is we are spinning together on this elemental ball flying through space. Remember you are not the only one struggling. Remember you are not the first one - or the last one - to go through your particular kind of challenge. Believe the answer will come. This frustration or hurt will not last forever. You are worthy of happiness. You are worthy of success. Allow yourself to believe it, if only for a moment.
4. Write your feelings in a secret journal.
Write all your feelings out. If you want to "yell" at someone in your journal, it's ok. If you want to express your frustration and cry, it's ok. Permit yourself to be vulnerable and honest with your thoughts. This is a safe space for you to express your feelings. Let go of any shame or embarrassment you might feel about your past choices. We all make mistakes, but it's how we learn and grow from them that counts. Ask God for grace, if needed, and accept His gift of forgiveness. You can also journal about all your worries for the future. This will probably be a list of all the bad outcomes that could happen. Our minds tend to focus on all the things that could go wrong first. This is a built-in self-protection mechanism. But we are not cavemen anymore! Since you are in control of your life, you can be assured that you will create and enjoy some positive outcomes too! So, also write a list of all the potential good outcomes to offset your worries. Not everything will go according to plan, but believe you can rebound and figure out how to solve any problem you encounter.
"I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened." - Mark Twain
5. Take one, small, scary action step each day.
Now it's time to focus on the present to create the business of your dreams. Start by asking yourself what you are trying to achieve. Do you have a plan in place to make it happen? Break down your long-term objectives into smaller, manageable tasks. Commit to taking one small step each day. I suggest you pick one thing that feels a little scary. One of the most important success principles for an entrepreneur is the ability to take risks. So, if you take one small, scary step each day, you are building your courage "muscle" until moving forward - even when you are afraid - gets easier. It doesn't matter how small the action is, as long as it is moving you closer to your goal. The important thing is that you are taking consistent action and making progress. Progress is what matters, not perfection. So don't beat yourself up if you have an off day or two. Just pick yourself up and keep moving forward. Every day is a new opportunity to get closer to your goals. And celebrate each little step you take!
So to overcome distraction and anxiety as a business owner and become a more fully engaged and energized business leader, first, acknowledge your fears and concerns, then practice habits that keep you focused on positive emotions and opportunities. Stay present, take courageous action each day, and celebrate your progress along the way.
Before you know it, you'll be at the top of the mountain, looking back at how far you've come on your Fearless Climb. And it will all have been worth it!
The Fearless Climbers
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