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The Real Reason You're Overwhelmed

Making a career out of the salon & spa industry means you are a true blue caregiver to this world. It means you feel just as fulfilled as your clients do when you can say yes to them. YES, I can help you. YES, I can give to you. YES, I can take care of that.

However, have you checked in with yourself lately to ascertain if you’ve been so busy saying YES that you are now giving away too much of yourself?

As entrepreneurs, I think we all live in a state of consistent over-giving.  Overwhelm.

And as much as it pains me to admit this… I often feel completely overwhelmed with my life & my business.

Too many balls in the air. Too many hats to wear.

I have worked very hard at hiding this part of my life, especially from my clients. They would never know that my head is about to pop off. But I have to pay the piper for this pressure cooker eventually.

Last week, as I was giving a pedicure, my client & I chatted about about overwhelm and how easy it is for caregivers like us (she’s a clinical counselor & developmental psychologist) to slip into a great big bucket of it.

We both agree that we need to say YES to ourselves much more often.

This conversation reminded me of the book ‘The Power of a Positive No’ by William Ury.

Although this book is about negotiating tough situations with other people, during this conversation with my guest, it was a reminder that it was just as applicable to my overwhelmed life. It was a much needed, loving cue:

That just because I am capable of doing something doesn’t mean I need to say YES to it.

That just because I have always said YES to something doesn’t mean I have to keep saying YES.

That just because people have come to expect me to do something doesn’t mean I can’t re-evaluate to make sure it’s still works for me too.

So how do I sort out what is truly a YES for me?

I am very particular with my personal time.

I’m extroverted in my work, but I’m very introverted with my personal life. I don’t socialize much because I know I need LOADS of downtime with my family. I often say NO to going out with the girls because I know if I’m out too much, giving MORE of myself to everyone else, I will not be rested enough to enjoy my family or my work for the upcoming week. Instead, I may meet someone for coffee for an hour, rather than dinner & drinks. Or I suggest a phone conversation rather than meeting in person if I know I’m pressed for time.

I take time to think about requests.

I used to give an automatic YES, but I hit a wall when did that last time; I had a newborn baby, a new spa with 8 staff and foolishly said YES to teach the 3 month Body Module at an esthetics school. By the end of it I was a basket case, my spa was suffering and I was exhausted. Although it takes effort for me to hold back before I answer, I know the value of taking time to think the whole thing through.

I remind myself what my goals are.

If a request is in alignment with my current focus, I will most likely say YES. But if it is the wrong timing or maybe it’s not with quite the right person, I say NO but put it in my MAYBE file for later.

In retrospect, I realize that it is the dark side of my drive and ambition that can sometimes leave me feeling completely overwhelmed; taking too many new roads that land me in the wreckage of personal disappointment & professional conundrums.

I still struggle with this, but for now, my technique for handling overwhelm is to examine the opportunities that are showing up for me and take the time to think critically about them.

Because sometimes saying NO to them means I am saying YES to me.