When you are an entrepreneur, it is easy to get consumed by what I call the anxious underbelly of small business ownership. When you find that you cannot shut off the valve of workaholism, and you cannot stop obsessing about the never ending to-do list, it is time to reassess.
Of course you must provide for your family, and support yourself as well as your dreams. But have you often wondered what it would feel like to loosen your grip, even if only a tiny bit? What if you could decide to shut down the texts and emails for an evening at home with your family? How restorative would that be? What if every six weeks you made it a goal to take a long weekend?
What if your anxiety had more to do with avoidance of tasks that make you feel less than competent, or downright incompetent?
Take marketing for example. This is often an area where therapists in particular panic. (This pot is not calling the kettle black!) I think it is the toughest part of any small business–but that’s just me. Other small business owners are challenged by the accounting aspects. Some really dislike the personnel part of the job. Many struggle with cash flow.
WORKAHOLISM CAN SHOW UP AS AVOIDANCE
Avoidance of the tasks that are the most challenging in favor of those you are good at. Busy, busy, busy, that’s what you are! But recognizing and placing your attention on the idea of avoidance as a stress-causer can free you because you know more accurately what to address. You can examine this idea as a solvable problem instead of simply enduring the anxiety without understanding it. Viewing your weak area as a challenge to be handled, perhaps with some creativity, is actually much easier than avoidance over the long haul.
Your clue as to whether or not you are avoiding is when the dreaded task is still largely undone. Oh you may have nibbled at the edges and given yourself a pass, but you know that your ‘efforts’ have not really produced any real results. This knowledge gives you options! Planning once and planning well is a good coping strategy.
Workaholism is often accompanied by a sense of desperation. The sense that if you don’t keep pushing, pushing, pushing, you will fail. You will fall behind. You won’t measure up to the competition.
Every so often, it helps to pause. Take stock of your goals and how you planned to reach them. And to look at whether or not you are developing habits along the way that detract from your goals and your quality of life. Habits like skipping lunch or the gym. Or working so hard that you are avoiding larger issues in your life that need addressing, like grief.
Maybe you don’t have to push so hard. Maybe you can get done during the work week what needs to be done. It is definitely worth a look.