Stress, anxiety, chaos, disappointment and fear. As owners and entrepreneurs, we all experience these emotions at one point or another in our business journeys. It may be the fear that a check will bounce or that you won’t make payroll, that your marketing campaign is misdirected, that it will not yield the results you anticipated or that you cannot compete effectively due to rising costs. These are just a few of the seemingly infinite number of things that keep entrepreneurs, business leaders and executives up at night.
When you experience these negative emotions, they can be overwhelming, and unfortunately, this feeling of overwhelm can become debilitating. Ever wonder why you can go from being on a great roll to becoming the world’s best procrastinator? The overwhelm can distract you from looking at how you can accomplish the things you need to get done in the most effective way. Instead, you may find yourself unable to execute effectively, incapable of focusing on tasks that are the most important or pushing yourself in unhealthy and unsustainable ways. You can sense that something is wrong, but you are not exactly clear on what’s not working or why you can’t seem to do what you need to. What is driving these oh-so-common problems is that the emotions around the tasks are so intense and uncomfortable that you don’t even want to look at them.
In this article, I will show you how to navigate through these negative emotions, how to move beyond the feeling of being trapped in a phase of ineffectiveness, how to move past overwhelm and ultimately how to face the reality of your business.
What’s driving you?
While this won’t be an overnight solution, the end result of the process I am sharing with you leads to the possibility of greater success and profit with effective emotional health and peace of mind regardless of the circumstances at hand.
A common response to the stress of having too much to do and too little time to do it in has been to work harder and longer. I am all for hard work, putting your nose to the grindstone and getting shit done. I know from my many years of experience that not only does this get great results, but leaders and their teams are invigorated and energized by the experience. It all depends on what the driving force for all this action is.
I have worked with hundreds of clients and business owners over the years, many of whom have experienced exhaustion or been overwhelmed with the stresses of running their business. Typically, leaders in these situations place impossible demands on themselves and, either knowingly or inadvertently, on their teams too. This only fuels chaos, leads to employee dissatisfaction and creates an untenable business dynamic.
When you keep pushing yourself without taking the time for self-love and self-care, you often find that there is a diminishing return on your actions. That voice inside says “you need to work harder…you’re not going fast enough…you need to do more…your business is going to fail…etc.” Determined to succeed and win, you push yourself beyond healthy limits and into territory that is destructive and unsustainable.
What happens when you add love?
When you flip this dynamic and start from a place of self-love and self-care, you raise your love quotient (LQ), and in so doing you begin to see things open up for you in an entirely different way. When you approach yourself and your business with love, you make more conscious choices. You can continue to work hard, pursue growth and improve profitability while being kind to yourself and others. You feel more fulfilled as a leader (LQ Leadership), you have happier employees (LQ Culture) and you end up with more satisfied customers too. What’s more is that you create a situation and a culture that is sustainable in the long term.
How do you raise your love quotient?
Love quotient refers to your ability, propensity or capacity to be kind and loving to yourself and others. There are two aspects to raising your love quotient. The first is to expand your understanding of love and what it means to be kind and loving to yourself and others, and the second is the practice of self-care and self-love.
Self-care is an aspect of self-love. Eating nutritious food, exercising, getting enough sleep and taking a break from time to time are some examples of self-care. From the simplest standpoint, taking a walk or making time to eat, not staying at your desk or in front of a computer screen the entire day, are all ways to take care of yourself. In the fast-paced world in which we live, these things are not always as easy to achieve as they sound, but they are critically important.
Self-care also includes the many seemingly insignificant things you do each day to take care of yourself: things like wearing comfortable shoes, creating an ergonomic workspace or even brushing your teeth. Self-care is a function of self-love, and it starts by realizing that many of the things you are already doing are actually a form of self-love.
One of the ways you can raise your love quotient is by taking care of your physical body, your outer world and your relationships with others. So often, I find that people in leadership positions feel guilty about anything that can be thought of as ‘personal time.’ The prevailing culture amongst alpha males and females is that in order to be at the top of your game, you need to be all about the job twenty-four-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week. However, when you give yourself the freedom to do the things you find fulfilling, those things become acts of self-love. Whether it is spending time with your family, cooking a wholesome meal or playing golf, these are all things that can fill up your internal love supply.
Self-care is also a reflection of how deeply you have loved yourself. One of the simplest and most effective ways to love yourself is through the ‘I love you’ practice.
The ‘I love you’ practice
Not only have I personally found the ‘I love you’ practice to be the most powerful way to love myself and to raise my love quotient, but as a business coach, I help my clients use this method to move past fear and anxiety in their business.
Raising your love quotient through the ‘I love you’ practice is really simple. You begin by saying to your inner child who is scared, sad or overwhelmed, ‘I love you’. In this way, you love yourself through your fear, sadness, anxiety and insecurity. When you focus on saying the words ‘I love you’ to your inner child, you often find that all kinds of emotions begin to surface. As this happens, it becomes important to stay with yourself and to keep on loving yourself through all the feelings that come up.
One of the best times to initiate this inner dialogue with your inner child is when feelings of overwhelm, sadness, fear or any emotion that you are having trouble feeling through is present.
Anything that nourishes your inner child is tremendously beneficial. Even if it’s just taking the time to check in with yourself or having a conversation with your inner child saying “how are you?” or “I am sorry this has happened” is cultivating your relationship with your inner child. To me, that is the nucleus of raising your LQ.
Fear, Anxiety and Overwhelm – How to Move Past Negative Emotions and Lead with Love
When you don’t feel safe in your body, you turn away from difficult emotions and experiences because they’re too scary or uncomfortable to face. You just keep plowing through and you end up with this residual weight of negative emotion that you are carrying around. You end up having to put more force into doing the same things because you’re carrying all this previously unprocessed emotional weight.
However, as you develop your relationship with your inner child, it enables you to feel safer in your body. You then have a greater capacity to feel through and past these negative emotions that are coming up in business. This allows you to move through challenging situations in a much more healthy way so that the negative emotions don’t get stuck in your body.
When you begin to raise your love quotient through self-love and self-care, you are creating a greater space for you to take the actions that you need to take without being weighed down by the emotion and without having to exert force or to beat yourself up.
LQ Leaders create high LQ cultures
High LQ cultures arise from high LQ leadership, which is a leadership made up of individuals who have deeply loved themselves and who have a great relationship with their inner child. It all begins with loving yourself. When you have filled up your internal love supply, that love extends to all parts of your life including your career and businesses. Having deeply loved yourself, you can confront any problems or issues that you are facing with level-headedness and clarity. When you approach yourself in how you run your business from a place of love, you begin to think and act more consciously and strategically and you inspire your teams. When your teams are motivated and provided with direction, they can ensure that the right actions are taken at the right time. When all parties are aligned towards a common purpose, this will increase revenue and profitability for long-term growth and a thriving company culture.