Reducing stress is critical to running a productive and profitable business.
When Diane approached us for help in her business, I noticed a common theme in my conversation with her – I could easily see the sources of both her excitement and her nervousness.
When I asked her to rate her stress level, she answered “Very high… a level 10 stress – it has been that high for about 5 years now – you must think I am crazy huh?”
I shook my head.
“No.. I think you are being a normal human being“.
This is actually a routine conversation that we have with new clients or people looking to hire us as their business mentors. Most people are looking for a quick easy solution, the knights on white horses, or perhaps something they can pick up on a quick trip to the mall.
I watched and listened intently as she replied to my next statement:
The first thing I noticed was her nervousness and her excitement.
She seemed nervous about managing her cash flow, learning how to sell her services, and other important decisions that she was putting off. She seemed excited about certain ideas about how to market her business – most of which involved some large sums of money.
There seemed to be a common theme for the sources of her nervousness: Important decisions that she was putting off – “I don’t want to really deal with these things… don’t even want to talk about this really” she said. Her subconscious was really fooling her into thinking that “I can get a quick and easy solution to my issues if I just did this…” – but we all know that doesn’t work.
New Habits – The Seamless Way to Reducing Stress – While working with your biology
This is the first thing to understand about your brain; that organ that is responsible for getting you into quandaries and equally responsible for getting you out of them – the brain only rewires itself when faced with new actions and practices. Old actions and practices reinforce old habits. New actions and practices reinforce new habits and literally new circuitry in your brain – over time, the new circuitries will replace the older circuitries that are not being activated by old habits any longer.
Diane looked at me with sudden alertness. I continued. “Your solution may not lie in what you know… but what you don’t know. Part of what you don’t know is the extent to which the old habits are running your business. Trying to change these habits will only lead to more hell. But creating new habits can help you move much faster.”
What are the new habits that will make a difference?
Diane started working with us and we identified specific new habits for her to work on daily. I will cover a few of them here:
Learning to think in terms of outcomes rather than tasks
Most people think in terms of tasks – that is why they tend to work harder becoming worker bees – rather than Queen / King Bees. When they work harder as worker bees, the thinking gravitates towards hours of work or time translated into very unclear outcomes. When they start thinking like a Queen / King bee, they start paying attention more to the outcomes – resulting in potentially less time involved for more productivity. This new habit requires reinforcement daily and requires dialogue with a qualified coach – it is too easy for almost everyone to ‘fall off the wagon’.
Having a longer-term vision and outlook: Planning for the longer term
When you plan for the longer term, you tend to have more of a spread-out calendar – and a longer-term view of your results. The benefits to you are that you will be less thrown off your center when you hit unexpected or expected failures – having a longer-term outlook, helps you overcome the ‘minor bumps on the road to your final destination.’
Prioritizing based on long term joy vs. long term suffering
This is a key distinction to help cure procrastination especially on important things like managing cash flow. I know very few people who will say “I really enjoy managing the numbers in my business and finances”. Most people tolerate or ignore these important matters. It is imperative to start thinking more in terms of long term joy (which involves some short spurts of suffering e.g. learning, habituation, analysis, concentration, focus, making decisions, etc.) rather than long term suffering (which involves short spurts of joy e.g. distractions, addictions, food, sex, TV, internet, etc.)
Creating this habit daily of prioritizing your day based on the principle of long-term joy leads to breakthrough levels of productivity – e.g. productivity generated by energy released due to reducing stress due to clear decisions being made that were put off.
Make clear decisions now (Short term suffering) -> Energy -> Productivity -> Breakthrough Outcomes
Diane more than doubled her income in three months by adopting these habits. She had one good thing on her side: her willingness to learn what she did not know.
Our new book – More Money, More Time, Less Stress, covers more of these new habits in detail. There are about 56 distinctions in about 100 pages with exercises designed to move your brain towards creating more outcomes faster.
Since 1991, I’ve been reflecting on, designing, and implementing methodologies and systems for bringing a transcendent, creative and innovative approach to critical aspects of entrepreneurship.