When the weight of work gets in the way of love…

As the mother of a beautiful and bubbly toddler, I mostly feel awed and inspired to have my daughter in my life.

But sometimes, when she’s testing my boundaries, pushing my buttons, or just being two… I can get to feeling like she’s just too much. And for a moment, I just want her “away”!

And I have to admit, it’s never a totally comfortable place to be – feeling grumpy, annoyed or disconnected from someone I love so much.

If you love your business – and I think you do – it can be hard to admit that you’re feeling restricted or burdened by it.

…But it sometimes happens, right?

When there’s too much work, not enough time, too  many demands, not enough money, or things just aren’t going the way you expected… It’s easy to start feeling frustrated or burdened, wishing it could all just disappear.

Even if you started this business because you love this work, this is the time where you secretly think… “Maybe I should be doing something else…”

The problem is not what you think it is.

Whether it’s a business or a toddler that you struggle with, the problem is rarely as simple as “she’s not doing what I tell her” or “I’m not getting enough clients”.

Let’s try shifting the perspective a bit:

There are a lot of different ways to make a business work. If you’re like most small business owners, you move forward in your business according to a system or structure.

(By the way, if that you are the kind of person who has an allergic reaction to the words ‘system’ and ‘structure’, don’t freak out yet! Keep reading…  🙂 ).

Your business ‘systems’ are the basis for what you do, day-to-day:

…They might be based on something you learned in some kind of formal business training (anything from a government pamphlet on “how to run a small business” to a private homestudy course on “how to create a heart-centred website”).

…Or they might be based on something you figured out by watching business mentors, or other people in your field.

…Or they might be things you’ve developed based on your past experience.

Either way, you have – either conscious or not – some kind of pictures about what will make your business work, or not. These pictures inform and guide your actions. In that sense, they are a part of your structure and systems.

What’s important is: Your expectations for yourself today, this week, this month, this year… are likely to be based around these pictures.

The problems really start when these pictures run the show.

It’s not really a problem that my two year old sometimes gives me the you-know-whats. (Actually, it’s quite normal and even healthy.) But if I look closely, the real problem starts a few moments after that. My heart starts to sink when the guilt trip starts… because I’m not living up to my pictures of being the “perfect parent”.

Meantime, your own unique passion, joy and spontaneity can start to groan under the weight of the system that is meant to be supporting it.

Your business systems can support you to do what you love.

But struggling to “get the system right” can leave you feeling burdened or overwhelmed.

So, how do you get your systems to support you, without feeling like you’re adding weight to your load?

The pictures of how you should be moving forward – no matter how brilliant the course you did, or how successful your mentors are – are still just that. Pictures. Based on the past. Or on other people’s experiences. Or on the mistakes that you made, that you never want to make again.

Your business, on the other hand, is a living, breathing entity…

Your business is unique. It is unlike any other business on the planet. And it’s based in the present.

And don’t worry, I’m not about to say you should throw away the wisdom of your teachers and mentors and past experience… That stuff is valuable.

I’m simply saying that if you’re feeling burdened, it’s time to stop and reassess your relationship to the systems you are following. Because it’s one good way to make space for the joy and the love that you feel.

How to unburden yourself so you can love your work again:

  1. First up, you’re allowed to feel this way. You’re human: Stop what you are doing for a minute or an hour, and start to make space for all the yucky feelings you have about it… Heavy, burdened, overwhelmed, frustrated… The feeling you get when the “great strategy” to make more money and do less wowrk turns out to – at least initially – be a lot more work than you thought… Make space for that.
  2. Trust in the bigger picture and open to the possibilities: Because our systems are our “security”, really facing our questions and fears about them can sometimes involve a big ‘let go’. It means we have to trust something bigger than the little system or plan we are following to take care of us. So take a deep breath, call a friend, or pray… do whatever you need to do to open your heart to TRUST in the bigger picture…. It’s time to open to the possibility that there is a way forward that won’t weigh quite so heavy on your heart.
  3. Finally, a pow-wow with your business: Now imagine you could invite the Soul of your Business to sit down for a campfire chat, or a kitchen table conversation… It’s time to fess up… You can tell it that you’ve been feeling burdened. Share your hopes and fears. Then together you can take all the tasks that have been weighing on you, all the procedures you’ve been trying to “get right”, all the expectations of what you should be doing… And put them down on the ground. These are not obligations, they are choices. Now you and your business can work it out together – What would support you most right now? And what would inspire your joy?

So, that’s it… My little one two three back to business joy…

Does this resonate with you?

Or do you have a different approach?

I’m looking forward to hearing from you…

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