There is a dark side to building a law firm, a pipeline of clients, and a rock star support staff: nonstop stress and overwhelm. It’s a suffocating feeling, like a never-ending loop of problems that need to be solved and fires that need to be doused. Stress and overwhelm are insidious. They creep into other aspects of your life, taking you away from family and friends, and making you emotionally unavailable when you do get the rare opportunity to spend time with loved ones.
Constant stress and overwhelm will leave you to question why you decided to start your own practice in the first place.
For more than 20-years, I’ve been coaching law firm leaders and their teams. When a firm reaches out to us for support, this is what I hear nine out of ten times: law school did not prepare me for the stress and overwhelm of running a business.
No, law school certainly doesn’t prepare you to grow a law firm from the ground-up. So, what ends up happening, is entrepreneurs become their own worst enemy, self-sabotaging themselves in every possible way. They procrastinate on important tasks. They stress out at the office. They don’t spend enough time at home. And exercise, sleep and diet? Forget about it. There is no such thing as self care when you’re carrying the weight of the firm on your back…
In addition to my 20-years of coaching experience, I’ve also helped build four companies. I wish I had words of comfort for you. But truly, the stress never goes away.
There will always be problems to solve and fires to douse.
However, as the business owner, you can choose to reclaim your power. You can change your approach, make the decision to take back control of your life, and stay out of the stress and overwhelm vortex that eats so many entrepreneurs alive.
Here are 4 ways to get your power back:
1. Pay to be held accountable. The biggest expenses for businesses is payroll and rent. But you’re not most businesses. The biggest expense for successful small businesses is coaching. Most successful humans directly attribute their success to the coaches they have invested in. Coaches hold you accountable and keep you organized, on track, and steadily working towards your short- and long-term goals. Without accountability, your goals are more of a wish list…
2. Plan time to be stressed and overwhelmed. Give yourself 15-minutes after lunch every day, or the time it takes you to commute to the office, to let yourself feel stressed and overwhelmed…and then snap out of it and get back to business. Being stressed and overwhelmed doesn’t get the job done, so there’s no use getting worked up and staying worked up.
3. Keep your emotions in check. Compartmentalize your non-business emotions before you get to the office. Stress from home should be left at the front door of your office, and vice versa. If you begin to feel a surge of emotions while at work, take a few deep breaths while counting to ten. Start to track your triggers—are there certain interactions or events that trigger your cortisol levels to skyrocket? Identify and avoid those triggers. And, if you can’t stop your emotions from boiling over and you have an outburst at the office…just apologize afterwards. A simple “I’m sorry” will do the trick, no explanation needed.
4. Start (or join) a creativity circuit. Creativity is scientifically proven to reduce stress! After just 45-minutes of creativity—drawing, coloring, brainstorming…anything!—75% of people will experience reduced cortisol levels. Creativity triggers your imagination to fire, and what is a more constructive and productive use of your brain than that? Through creativity, we can free ourselves from the shackles of stress and overwhelm. We can lower our guard and enter a flow state…
So, no, the stress and overwhelm never go away, but you CAN learn to manage those feelings more productively. If you’re a solopreneur or running a small law firm and are feeling the pain of constant stress and overwhelm, let’s talk! Click the button below to schedule a call with me. You can explain your struggles and I can suggest solutions to help you get past them…without losing your sanity! Running a business can be a beautiful thing—let’s get you back to that side of entrepreneurship!