Overwhelmed?: 3 Ways To Get Business Back on Track When Chaos Kicks In

Curvy stairs - Shane GorskiMy basement flooded last week.

There was a series of hellacious storms in our area, with tornadoes and massive rain. And even though my house sits on a small hill and has virtually no history of water problems, this one got me.

Full basement. Standing water.

(And I was out of town.)

Angels in my life came to the rescue, and for that I am (beyond words) grateful. Without them it could have been even worse.

But I still came home to one heck of a mess.

Bookshelves pulled out from the walls. Furniture scattered. Ruined books and papers.
Total chaos as anything and everything I’d ever had in a box or on the floor or tucked into a closet was grabbed and stacked on top of one thing or another.

There were bare concrete floors where once there was carpet, and a hint of mold in the air.

There was chaos in my house.
And chaos in my head, as well.

Between cleaning up the mess in the basement, maintaining my existing businesses and doing the work I’m ready to do to grow – (I’d just spent 3 days with my coach!) – I was completely overwhelmed.

But I didn’t stay there.

How do you get back on track when chaos hits?

You go back to the structure, systems and habits that support you – as an entrepreneur, and as a human being.

Here’s how I teach my clients to turn their chaos back in to calm.

1. Get Back to (Your) Center.

At times like these, our energy is split in so many directions that we can’t think.

So the very first thing to do, is get back to your own center of gravity, in your mind, in your body, and in your spirit.

For myself, that meant getting back to daily practices that I know work for me.

One of those is taking just 10-15 minutes each morning for meditation. Another is doing two fast 15-minute walks a day, one in the morning, the other in the evening.

For you, it may be a practice of Morning Pages or centering prayer.

It may be just a peaceful cup of coffee on the porch before diving into your day.

2. Tackle the Big Uglies with Tiny Times.

There’s nothing new about breaking big goals into small steps, but when I’m overwhelmed, I can take that baby to a whole new level.

I will literally set my timer and spend ten minutes a day – just 10 minutes – tackling The Big Ugly that is staring me in the face.

You’d be surprised what this single, simple step can do for you.

This week, that means I’ve been picking through decades’ worth of volunteer projects, soggy books, and paper mess that has to be tossed.

For you, that might mean 10 minutes researching blog topics, 10 minutes of filing, or 10 minutes reaching out to former clients and customers to say hello.

3. Keep Your Spirits Up.

Ask for encouragement. Yes – ASK! Tell your team that you need some extra help. Tell your mastermind group or your coach that you could use some direction.

I reached out to my accountability partner, who helped me think through what mattered most.

Tell your most supportive friends that you could use some happy distraction in the midst of the work. A little bit of that can be quite healthy, as long as you do it mindfully and within limits.

Last weekend, I took a few hours to go to a matinee in a grand old historic theater with a friend.

Then I got right back to it.

What about you? What’s your favorite go-to strategy for getting back on track?

Share it with us in the comments below.
(You’ve got ideas – we want to hear them.)

And if you often feel like I did last week — when you don’t even know where to start — just hit reply and reach out for a quick consult.

I’d love to help.

Photo Credit: Shane Gorski on Flickr

9 thoughts on “Overwhelmed?: 3 Ways To Get Business Back on Track When Chaos Kicks In

  1. Lisa the Great

    This will sound and little crazy……or maybe a lot. To get back where I need to be I will either take a walk, run or ride my bike. Here’s the clincher. I try to go where there are not too many people around and I pray. Not silently either. I do it out loud. Sometimes hearing myself out loud puts things in perspective but I always walk, run or ride myself back to a more peaceful place. Crazy????

    1. Wendy Pitts Reeves Post author

      Not at all, Lisa – perfect! There are two things about this that strike me in particular. First – doing something physical is so key to getting us back into our bodies and out of our heads. Second – speaking the words we need to hear out loud (in prayer, affirmations, positive self talk, etc.) adds power to those words and our subconscious picks that up even more so. So this is excellent. Thanks! :)

  2. Bonny

    Oh Wendy!

    I read the intro to your newsletter, and I thought yes, it’s definitely been one of those years. Then I flipped over to your post and read about the water and had to laugh, not at your misfortune, but more in a spirit of I know exactly what you mean. I so hated to hear that your finished basement was flooded. I know that is a dreadful thing to deal with. My in-spirit laugh was because I’ve been zapped by the last two weeks of storm rounds. The first week was a flood in my basement while I watched, helpless to do anything about stopping it. My basement is not finished, and I have most of the stuff I can up off of the floor, but still there’s a lot that not. This is not my first time at this rodeo! The second storm held off dumping in my basement, but it knocked out my modem so I didn’t have my landline, my TV and most importantly, my internet, which I use heavily for my work. This was my third storm zap for this year. Then I discovered that for no apparent reason my brand new dehumidifier died. That was like the last straw for me. I screamed at the top of my lungs several times. That really didn’t help because it just gave me a headache. LOL. Once I calmed down, I tried to focus on what I could do. I went and bought a couple more sandbags, and my neighbor put up a gutter on my carport to help drain off the water better. That seemed to do the trick because we haven’t had any more bad storms!

    I haven’t really found any good practices that help me during times like this. I just have to ride it out and hang on until the “storm de jour” passes. And I do have to remind myself that these things pass, and that I’ve fixed the problem before and can fix it again. I also looked at pictures of people’s homes being swept under underpasses in Kentucky and thanked my lucky stars that my house is still standing.

    Your post reminds me that I do need to find better coping mechanisms during the moment of crisis. That’s when I most vulnerable. Afterwards I just plow through.

    I hope you’ve been able to get your mess cleaned up. Let me know if I can help in any way!

    1. Wendy Pitts Reeves Post author

      Thank you, Bonny! It seems to me that this is a lesson that gets repeated until we ‘get it’. And even then, we all need reminders every now and then about what to do, how to get back to what we know. I immediately reached out to my own mastermind group, just as an anchor until I could figure out what to do next. Even when we know what to do, having the right team in place that we can turn to for support can make such a difference.

      I applaud you for the steadfast way you continue to look for the learning in all of this!

  3. Karen

    I am so sorry that your basement flooded, but so thankful that we had cleared out so much of it.

    I really needed to read this. We came back from vacation yesterday to discover that someone whom we love, but must distance ourselves from, had busted the back door and come into the house. A couple of things were missing along with another small piece of my heart.

    Feeling pretty angry as we schedule a new back door installation – complete with armor plate and new locks. Yes I need to get centered don’t I?

    1. Wendy Pitts Reeves Post author

      Oh Karen – I am so sorry to hear about this…. but yes, I really really encourage you to start by getting centered, especially with your energy and your heart. And yes – I am SO SO glad you and I spent a few days together bringing your professional magic to that dang basement – or this would have been considerably worse! (Where would I be without my favorite professional organizer?)

  4. Debra Poole

    I am so sorry to hear about the mess! And it’s so like you to make a life lesson from it and share it with us!

    1. Wendy Pitts Reeves Post author

      Debra – I’m a therapist AND a business coach. I can find a life lesson in almost ANY thing. :))

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