In this day and age, is there still anybody who can claim he or she doesn’t get stressed?
Stress is the solopreneur’s middle name. Funny, we appreciate technology advancements that make life and doing business easier, but as tasks become easier to accomplish, we find that more and more things are added to our plate. Today, it is so common to multi-task or to put on many hats — it is almost expected. Ang ending? We expecting too much of each other and of ourselves. Before we know it, we are nursing headaches or allergies or acidic tummies or even falling hair, all brought about by stress.
For instance yesterday, I scheduled to make all my phone calls while driving, stuck in the horrendous Manila mid-day traffic. It should be a bad combination, but not when you’re moving at 5km per hour, and have a great handsfree car kit (btw, despite my very limited experience on cars, I can say that Ford does have the best quality built-in handsfree system of all the cars I have driven). Anyway, I was able to make 5 really productive phone calls, including a pleasant and efficient conversation with a Ford Philippines customer service agent to schedule a maintenance check (hindi naman ako masyadong fan ng Ford no? 😝). But did I feel accomplished? Not really. Not when you have 2 more important calls you were not able to make because suddenly traffic freed up and I got to my destination earlier. And I did not have time to catch up because the moment I parked my car, I geared up for a series of carefully timed tasks once again.
Yeah, and I still wonder why I sometimes feel like a ball of stress waiting to explode.
Of course, what I just described is the kind of mundane stress that bothers most of us solopreneurs on a daily basis. Of course, there are the more serious stuff. Making ends meet while your business is still growing. A difficult client. Doing business in the middle of personal or family crisis. A huge financial obligation. Whatever. A few months back, me and my husband faced the loss of regular income, and helping our team, a multitude with all their various worries and concerns, transition to a new company (a very challenging but very rewarding experience that I will share more about in a future post 😉).
Yesterday in our group bible study, this question came up:
“What do you do when you don’t know what to do?”
What can be more stressful than having a problem and not knowing what to do about it, right? So my answer was what I always do: I calm down and think of a solution.
5 Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
No wonder we feel so lost and stressed — we don’t follow instructions. We are being told to seek God first, to talk to Him, to put Him in charge, and let Him take the lead. But what we usually do (and I am guilty as charged here) is worry and stress ourselves first, then come up with our best-thought solution, and then dive straight to battle. And then when we lose, that’s when we cry for help. By this time, your headaches might have already progressed to full-on migraines, and your occasional hair fall to full-on baldness.
A number of unfinished tasks still faced me at the end of our bible study session, and I felt my breathing began to race again. Stuff to ship. Team members to talk to. Inquiries to reply to. But I tried my newly-learned technique. I lifted everything to Him — even the minutest tasks, the ones I feel I can surely do by myself. I accepted that I may be too close to my problems to see the big picture, that my understanding cannot ever compare to His wisdom. And I felt my breathing slow down, my body relax, my mind calm down. I happily accomplished some more tasks, and let go of those I cannot do trusting that God will give me the strength and time for it the next day. Stress banished — just like that!
Alpha people, I feel you. We are thinkers and doers, and we believe that we have to do our best and God will do the rest. That’s true — but our place in the battle is not at the lead. Someone Else promised to lead it for us, so that victory is assured. So the next time you feel stressed about anything, remember: that battle is already won. You just have to let Him lead you.
Light and love,