Although it feels like it, overwhelm is not mandatory. I don’t feel it in the same way anymore, even though I’m always taking on bigger and better challenges. So in this episode, I’m helping you understand where overwhelm comes from, and showing you how you can take control of it, so you can grow your business without losing sleep for no good reason.
Join me on the podcast this week to discover how you might be making your entrepreneurial journey more overwhelming than it needs to be. I’m sharing questions to ask yourself that will help you process your overwhelm and turn it into something helpful, and I’m going into detail about how we help physicians do this work inside the EntreMD Business School.
Hi docs, welcome to The EntreMD Podcast, where it’s all about helping amazing physicians just like you embrace entrepreneurship so you can have the freedom to live life and practice medicine on your terms. I’m your host, Dr. Una.
Hello, hello, my friends. Welcome to another amazing episode of The EntreMD Podcast, where I have the pleasure of inspiring you and giving you quick action tips you can use to create success in your businesses. Alright, so today, we’re going to be looking at, “Help, I’m overwhelmed.” And this is something I hear so much.
And if you’ve ever felt that way or you feel like you feel like that all the time, well, I’ve got something for you. That was me all the time. When I started my first business, a private practice, I would literally wake up in the morning and my first thought would be, “Oh my god, remember, you have to hire a new MA. Hey, do you remember, that paperwork for TCHN is due? Oh, do you remember, you don’t have enough people on your schedule so you’re going to have to do reminder calls and recall to get people on your schedule. Hey, and by the way, remember, you’re an imposter. You’re not really an entrepreneur. You’re not really the kind of person that can run a private practice. What do you think you’re doing?”
And I may have only been awake for two minutes but I’m thoroughly overwhelmed. I’m having palpitations. It’s insane. Okay, so I didn’t realize that being overwhelmed was not mandatory. I thought that’s what I had to do, okay. But we have choices.
I’m proud to say that I don’t have mornings like that anymore, even though my life is much busier and I’m taking on much bigger things. And I’m going to show you three things that kind of make you feel that way. So that you can take charge of them and you can live with all the overwhelm.
Alright, so why do we feel overwhelmed as entrepreneurs? Why? The first reason is there’s no plan. There’s no plan. When you go to medical school, it is a very complex thing. But there is a framework. There is a roadmap. There is a formula. You go through year one, this is what you do, and year two, this is what you do, this is when you apply for residency. And it’s all spelled out.
So, even though it’s stressful, there’s these containers you can put things in. So, if someone comes and tells you about something that you’re not doing now but you know it’s for third year, you’re not bothered by it because it’s not time for it. So, “I just need to focus on this first-year stuff.” And so, it gives you this sense of control. Very different from, “Oh my god, everything is coming at me.”
Now, with your business, you need to have a plan. You need to have a roadmap. And then, what that roadmap does for you is that it puts you in a position where when big things are coming at you, like you haven’t done this, you haven’t done that, you can literally say, “Oh, it’s not time for that. It’s not time for this. I need to delegate that.” And you feel calmer and you feel in control. And when all that pressure comes, you don’t have to accept it because it’s not time. Like, whatever.
Okay, now, we had a welcome party for the EntreMD Business School students, the last cohort that joined. And Michelle Quirk of Mindful Marathon was one of the people who was a cohost with me for the welcome party. And it’s amazing because we have a whole framework. In the EntreMD Business School we have a framework where, in the beginning, when you come in, stage zero is that you find your profitable business idea because we’re all about focus.
We don’t want you all over the place. So, what is this one business you’re going to focus on? And the second thing is, what is your message? So, who is your ideal client? What are the problems they have? What are the solutions you offer? How do you help them? That’s stage one.
And then, stage two, we start talking about your platform. So, now you have this message, now you have how you help the world, where are you going to announce it from? And this is where we talk about YouTube channels and podcasts and emails and all of those things, blogs for the people who are bloggers, how to do masterclasses, live streams, all of that. So, that’s a phase of it.
And then, we talk about your money-maker. So, what are you going to do? Is it a private practice? Is it a coaching practice? Are you an intrapreneur so it’s your brand really that you’re monetizing? Is it online courses? You’re going to be a paid speaker, what is it? So, that’s a phase.
And they have another phase where you’re building out systems because it’s one thing to work for a horrible boss that makes you work 80 hours a week. It’s another thing to become your own boss and work 80 hours a week. So, how do you build systems and automation so that you can accomplish more by doing less. And not in a lazy sip margaritas on the beach kind of way. But there’s a strategic way to do that.
So, if you look at that sequence, when things are coming at you, you can go like, “Well, it doesn’t fit in this box. This is what I need to do later.” And all that kind of stuff.
So, Michelle, you know, was talking to the doctors and she’s like, “Listen, just follow the success path. Just follow it.” She’s like, “Are you happy with me? Okay, this is the next thing I have to do. This is the next thing I have to do.” And she is having a great time in her business. I mean, it’s amazing. I mean, I’ll probably get her on the podcast and we’ll go through her journey and all of that.
So, you need a roadmap. You need a plan. You need a framework. And once you have that, then you don’t have to embrace all the overwhelm. So, that’s the first thing.
Now, the second thing is new learning. And you might be like, “What?” But hear me out. New learning. Now, learning is good, but learning can be bad if it’s conflicted learning. And I’ll tell you what I mean by that.
So, take a look at how you can market your business. You will see ads, if you’re on Facebook, you would see ads that would say, “Challenges, that is the way to grow your business.” And somebody else comes and says, “Oh, Facebook ads, that is the only way to grow your business.” And someone else says, “Evergreen webinars, this is the way to grow your business.” Another person comes on and they’re like, “Original social media traffic, that is the way to grow your business.”
Now, when you are acquiring new information, new learning, I want to challenge you to acquire learning that will up-level what you’re already doing, learning that is congruent with what you’re doing.
So, let’s say you’ve decided for this year, you know, you know, “I’ve found out that live events, that is my zone of genius, so I’ll do masterclasses and that’s how I’m going to grow my business.”
And while you made that decision, like, “That’s my commitment for 2021, that’s what I’m going to do.” And then you start doing it but then you go enroll in a course for Facebook ads or you go and enroll in a course for challenges. It is conflicting; completely conflicting with what you’re trying to do.
And you might say, “Yeah, but it’s information I may need.” This is true. But the thing is that you’re enrolled in a 12-week course. All they’re going to talk about is challenges and what you’ve decided to do and what you’ve tested and what works for your business is masterclasses.
So, why don’t you get a course that helps you do what you’ve set out to do? Why don’t you do that? So, when you have so many different methods thrown at you – and they all work by the way. That’s the funny thing. They all work – is what are you best suited for? What works best with your personality? What have you had success with? That’s how you choose.
So, you’re trying to build an online course but you’re taking a course on memberships. You know, you’re trying to master Facebook ads but you’re taking a course on organic traffic. Can you learn all those things? Yeah. Maybe you listen to a podcast on it. But your investment should be in making what you want to do better. Otherwise, you have all this conflicting information, which they all work by the way. And now, you’re overwhelmed because you have all this information and you don’t know what to do with it.
So, when it’s time for you to learn, kind of pick something that’s in alignment with what you’re trying to do. That’s’ number one. So, that’s that part of overwhelm, from conflicting information.
Now, there’s another part of overwhelm just because you’re learning new stuff, just because you’re embracing new things, just because you are taking on new big projects, you’re facing a BHAG.
And listen, you walk into a room, the room is dark and you’ve been there for five minutes. And suddenly someone turns on all the lights. Your first reaction is going to be to close your eyes. Why? Because the light is overwhelming.
But do you know what you do after you close your eyes? You open them. So, you may be overwhelmed by new learning because it’s conflicting information. But you may be overwhelmed as well with great new information that you should have for where your business is right then. But it’s just because it’s new and it’s a lot.
So, close your eyes, then open it again. Understand that it’s okay. Think about when you started medical school. Think about your first anatomy class. You’re like, “Pectoralis? Can’t they use regular words? What is this?” It may have been overwhelming, but guess what? You close your eyes, you open it up again, and then you embrace it.
Okay, so you start off and it’s overwhelming. Embrace it. Just understand that it’s part of the process and in no time, you’ll be great at it. Think about your first year as a resident. It must have been overwhelming. It’s just like, “What is this?” The hours, the responsibility, the things you had to do, all things out of your comfort zone. What did you do? You closed your eyes, you open it up, you took a deep breath and you did what you had to do.
So, it can be overwhelming because you’re learning the wrong things. Not wrong things, but not helpful. Because you’re creating conflict within yourself. Or because it’s great information but it’s just so brand new. So, that’s another reason why you might be overwhelmed.
The third reason why you might be overwhelmed is just because of challenges in business. And you know what? To be honest with you, there will always be challenges in business. And the people who thrive as entrepreneurs are people who are problem-solvers. They’re people who can accept pain.
You know, my husband has a way of saying this. He says, “Your growth is tied to how much pain you’re willing to take. The more pain you’re willing to take, the bigger you can grow, the more impact you can have, the more revenue you can generate.” Because there is pain.
And when I say pain, I don’t mean like you’re going around with a horrible miserable existence. For instance, I embrace a lot of pain, but I enjoy my life thoroughly. But there is the pain of, “I have to learn to speak.” There is the pain of, “I’m an introvert but I have to network.” There is the pain of, “I hate selling.” And now, you have to tell people, “Come use my stuff. Come buy my stuff. Sign up for my program. Come be a part of my private practice,” and all of that.
There is the pain of having to build a team. There is the pain of dealing with turnovers. There is the pain of the naysayers and the one-star reviews. There is pain in business. So, when the pain comes, it can be overwhelming. So, a staff member just decides to quit. That can be overwhelming because you’re like, “Oh my gosh, what am I going to do without this person?”
You are trying to launch a program and you got a bad review. That can be overwhelming. You put all your blood, sweat, and tears behind a live event and only five people registered. That can be overwhelming.
Somebody who is a big client who was responsible for a huge chunk of your revenue decides to part ways with you. That can be overwhelming. You have to pay taxes. That can be overwhelming. You have to stand onstage, on a stage that you’ve never stood on before with more people than you’ve ever spoken to before. That can be overwhelming.
Challenges in business are always going to be there. The sooner you embrace them and realize that it’s part of it, the better for you. So, when you have challenges, what do you do? You ask yourself the question, “What can I do about this? What can I do about this?”
Rather than get overwhelmed and fall apart and have analysis paralysis, what can I do about this? Who can I ask for help? Who has information that can help me turn this around? Who has connections that can help me turn this around?
You ask yourself, “What do I do to prevent this from happening again?” These are all thoughts and questions you will not be asking yourself if you choose to be in overwhelm mode. You do it like a boss.
I mean, dealing with challenges is like building a muscle. And the more you use it, the better you will be at it, the better you will be at it. So, they’re challenges, but you handle them like a boss. So, those are all the questions to ask yourself in business. There’s problems.
So, just accept it. It’s part of business and it’s okay. The question is, what are you going to do about it? Are you going to use it to your advantage? Are you going to make it a learning experience? Are you going to do those reps and build the muscle, or are you going to fall apart?
Okay, so you wake up in the morning, you’re thinking, “Oh my goodness, I’m so overwhelmed. I’m so overwhelmed.” Then, you have questions to ask yourself. Do I have a plan? Am I following a plan? Or am I just doing whatever?
And if you’re doing whatever, then you need a plan. And if you are starting or scaling a business, I will invite you to join the EntreMD Business School. We’re all about plans and frameworks and formula.
Okay, the second question to ask yourself is, “Have I put myself in a position where I’m learning stuff that’s stressing me out? Because that’s the direct opposite of what I’m trying to do. Or am I learning things that will help me get to my next level and I feel like it’s too much?”
And if you’re feeling that, you can say, “Hey, that’s good. I’m just going to blink, and then I’m going to open my eyes. I’m just going to absorb it, and I can take it. I’ve done this before. I did it in med school. I did it in high school. I did it in residency. This is just one more time.”
This is a challenge in business and you recognize that challenge, that’s a part of business and you embrace it. And you can say, “This challenge is going to make me better. It’s going to make me better.”
And in business really, the sooner you accept the unknown – because there’s a lot of unknowns. We’re building things that didn’t exist. There are a lot of unknowns. Once you accept that this is part of the journey, you’re no longer in resistance, it makes the journey so much easier.
So, when I was so overwhelmed when I first started my private practice and all of those things, I didn’t have a roadmap. I didn’t. I was learning a lot of new stuff, but it was a lot because it was a big transition from, “She knows nothing about entrepreneurship,” to all these things about entrepreneurship.
And there are challenges. There are a lot of challenges. And I didn’t recognize it’s part of the process. I was in resistance. I was feeling like this shouldn’t be happening. But it’s business. It will happen.
So, now I’ve changed my approach to all of that and I don’t get overwhelmed. I mean, I have some times when those feelings come, but I’ve learned to handle them because again, it’s like a muscle and you can build that muscle.
So, from today, when this feeling comes, the feeling of overwhelm, when the thought comes, you’re overwhelmed, I want you to recognize, you don’t have to be. You have a choice. And you can evaluate, like, why am I feeling this way? And you can react accordingly.
If it’s no plan, you can get a plan. You can come join us in the EntreMD Business School. You can make your own plan. But have a plan. You can check your learning. And if it’s learning from good learning, great, amazing information, I hope you up-level yourself. You’re like, “Oh, stop trying to make it seem like it’s a bad thing. That’s not a bad thing. I’m just going to blink real quick because of the bright light and I’m going to open my eyes again and we’re going to be straight.”
And if it’s challenges, just recognize it’s the way. So, if there’s someone you need to reach out to for help to show you the way, then reach out. If you need to sit and think “What can I do about this brainstorm with your team?” then do that.
If you need to get information, ask around. But recognize, this is just part of the process and everybody goes through this. Okay, so again, I want you to think, imagine a life free of overwhelm. Imagine a life where you recognize when a feeling comes to be overwhelming, you don’t have to accept it. You don’t have to feel that way. You don’t have to. You have a choice.
Imagine, in the midst of chaos, being calm. Imagine, in the midst of challenges, being calm. Imagine that being your reality. And it can be. And many entrepreneurs just like you are having that same experience.
So, I want to invite you today, don’t accept it anymore. Recognize it for what it is. It’s just a symptom of something. Take a look and then course-correct. And I would love to celebrate your story.
You work this out and someday you’re like, “This used to get me overwhelmed all the time. And today, I won.” I want you to send me a PM. Let me know, “Dr. Una, it works.” I’m looking forward to it.
Okay, so again, this episode, I want you to share it with the doctors in your life. Why? Overwhelm with entrepreneurship is a real thing. It doesn’t have to be. You never know who you’re saving just by sharing. So, share it, and I will see you on the next episode of The EntreMD Podcast.
Hey, if you love listening to The EntreMD Podcast I want to invite you to join EntreMD On Demand. It is my signature subscription program that gives you access to a library of business courses designed to help you do one thing as a physician entrepreneur, and that is to thrive. Just head out to entremd.com/ondemand and I’d love to have you join us. See you on the inside.