I work with many small business owners every day, listening to their questions, pushing them to reach their own goals, helping them brainstorm over something challenging, etc. After most of these meetings I feel energized (perhaps easy for me to say!) - excited for them to go out and conquer their next business milestones, heading towards their goal achievement and ultimately business growth.
What I sometimes forget is that my office is a safe place. When my clients are with me, I'm not a customer, nor a stakeholder in their business. I'm not a spouse nor a lender. I am just an advisor offering a safe space where small business owners can freely talk about their challenges, their goals, and where they'd like to go with their business. Sometimes, when our meeting is over, and I watch them walk away, I feel excited for them...but they "freeze".
What sounded good, and possibly even easy, in the confines of our meeting space, suddenly seems big, dark, and murky. It may seem impossible when they sit back down in their own office and get ready to go about doing whatever it was they noted that they wanted to do next.
Calling a customer, creating a new advertising / marketing piece, meeting with a stranger that might be someone they can work with, heading out to a networking event, or writing a job ad that might actually lead to hiring someone are all things that can be overwhelming on your own. Things that could potentially go wrong. Or, in some cases, things that could succeed and propel your business forward (that can sometimes be a scary thought too because it is still the unknown!).
So how do you move forward? As they say when building a new house: one brick at a time! All you can do when you hit that "wall of overwhelm" is make the best plans possible and create steps to follow through on those plans....one step at a time. To use another cliche: take baby steps. If some of the things on your to do list are things you really don't want to do, but you must do in order to move forward, don't freeze! Set aside an hour a day, early in the day, and work on those things. Set a timer if it makes you feel better. Then put those things aside until that hour on the next day and work on the things you enjoy doing. You'll be surprised how quickly that to do list actually gets done and how much less overwhelming it can be when you set limits on it and do it at a set time every day.
Remember that freezing in despair, and letting overwhelm rule, will not help you get anything done and by not doing the things on your own list you will simply feel more and more guilty the longer it grows!