Too Hard? Can’t Take it Anymore?

The past two months have been the hardest I’ve had since I left my past jobĀ  and went into business as a window treatment franchisee. Last week I said the words out loud that I’d hoped I would never feel the need to say–

This is way too hard; I can’t take it anymore!

The phones and doorbell were endlessly ringing, there were many customer consultations, there were employee issues, product issues, dog barking issues (in response to the ringing doorbell), family illness and I could feel my stress level climbing.

Before October I’d felt pretty good about the way I was handling things. There were times when it would get busy but I was able to maintain. Now things were different. It was busy, very busy and there were new challenges, new types of installations, interviewing, hiring, and it was all coming down at the same time.

I wasn’t getting personal stuff done like it needed to be. Relatively simple tasks like getting the mail and going to the store became big challenges. Walking the dog was either a block up the street or not at all.

Somewhere toward the end of November the phone rang and it sent a pang through my gut. I felt it along with a longer than average hot flash. I felt warmer and warmer and more anxious until I suddenly thought–that’s it; I’m done.

So then I had to figure out–what was I done with?? The phone? Consultations? Paperwork? The business? I knew I didn’t want to leave a livelihood that I loved but also knew that the way I was conducting business was not working. It wasn’t the phone’s fault, it wasn’t the dog’s fault, it wasn’t the fault of the business. It was me. I needed to figure out a way to work in the business but not let it run me over in the process.

The truth of the matter is that I was able to operate efficiently and effectively in my former job because there was a fantastic office support staff that helped all of us do our jobs.

Now, it was up to me to answer the phones, open the mail, go on consultations, do the paperwork, organize the installs, manage employees etc. And what I realized is that although this is a lot of work, the work isn’t the problem. The problem is doing the work effectively and still taking care of me. I needed to change course.

So, I’m still answering the phones, getting the mail, paying the bills, going on consultations etc. What I’m avoiding is believing that I have to do every single thing, every day. It just won’t happen. It will all get done but it may not get done immediately. It will all eventually get done but it won’t all get done as soon as I want it too. It will all get done but it won’t be perfect every time–mistakes are part of the job.

Life should be a challenge. If it’s too easy, something is missing but if it’s too hard it means there is an idea, a piece of information, a concept, or a tool that is waiting to be discovered–just one tiny missing link is often all it takes and then suddenly, life gets better.

And to quote Bette Davis–The key to life is accepting challenges. Once someone stops doing this, he’s dead.

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