There are three main areas that determine how successful we are at running our businesses and our lives: our brains, our beliefs, and our brawn (habits). Here, I’d like to address beliefs, and more specifically, the hidden beliefs that keep right brain entrepreneurs and executives overwhelmed and overcommitted.
Whether we like to admit it or not, our beliefs really do drive our behavior, which in turn creates our habits, which in the end, determines our experience and success.
The problem is that some of the most powerful beliefs are hidden. They might be truly hidden from us in that we aren’t even aware of them consciously. And they can also be beliefs we are aware of but keep hidden. We keep some of our beliefs hidden out of embarrassment or shame (“What would people think of me if they knew I believed that?”), and sometimes we hide them because we don’t want to admit how powerful they are.
A prime example of how beliefs end up creating a chronically overwhelmed entrepreneur was a client of mine we’ll refer to as Marcus.
Marcus is smart, talented, influential, and has a tremendous amount of potential. Like many of you.
Marcus says “Yes” to nearly every opportunity he is presented with, commits to helping every person who asks for it, and has a to-do list a mile long.
He’s 40 years old and has been overwhelmed for at least the last 20. He has a reputation of being a great guy who was dependable and you knew would always help you out. But his effectiveness has started waning over time. Being overwhelmed started to wear him out, and when he called me, he was constantly stressed, worked 7 days a week, felt like he could never catch up, and had started losing clients.
In our very first coaching session, I taught Marcus how his brain worked. This was eye-opening for him. He realized that because he doesn’t store sufficient detail, and because he wasn’t writing down what he had committed to doing for other people, he was forgetting his action items and was disappointing his clients and his family, as well as himself.
Understanding how his brain worked was just part of the picture. Uncovering hidden beliefs that were holding him back was the next step.
Clearly, the way he was working wasn’t working anymore. Yet he had built a reputation on how he worked, so he felt even more trapped.
Within a few sessions, we were able to shift the beliefs that were contributing to overwhelm, implemented a system for capturing everything he committed to, including details, and a way to comfortably say “No” and requests for help that he knew he couldn’t fulfill.
That was Marcus’s specific situation, but it is by no means unique. In fact, it is a remarkably common experience for right-brain entrepreneurs and executives.
I’ve been working with right-brainers for 15+ years, and I’ve discovered that there are commonly held beliefs that most right brain executives and entrepreneurs have that contribute to their chronic overwhelm.
Here are Marcus’s hidden beliefs that kept him overwhelmed:
- I am trapped
- I am a martyr
- I can do more than most people.
- I can’t find good people.
- I disappoint others.
- I have to do it all myself.
We changed these beliefs using a shamanic energy medicine technique and Marcus reported much less stress and overwhelm thus allowing for him to break his bad habits.
Yet, many of us wear these beliefs as badges of honor. We take pride in our ability to do more than most people. This may work extremely well when you are bootstrapping a business or in startup mode, but it severely limits your ability to grow and expand when you can no longer do it all.
We become so accustomed to stress that most of us think overwhelm is a natural and normal state. Or even if we don’t think it’s natural and normal, we think it is a necessary part of being in business.
Overwhelm is a signal that you are stressed. Stress limits your field of vision and it prevents you from being strategic, even though you think you are.
Eventually it prevents you from remaining competitive and relevant, which leads you to work even harder, resulting in becoming even more overwhelmed. It’s a vicious cycle – but it’s one that can be broken and realigned.
If you expect to be overwhelmed as a business owner, you are setting up yourself and your business for failure. Isn’t it time to change the beliefs that are creating your reality?