Imagine one day, you are peacefully checking your email when you discover that your workload has suddenly become ten times bigger.
At first, you think it must be some kind of mistake, it’s impossible that this could be happening, right?
You doubt it for a little bit, but you can start feeling the overwhelm creeping up on you. Your breathing becomes heavy, and you start feeling insecure. As if you just had stepped into the set of a horror movie.
Your fight or flight response has just exploded, you want to hide under your bed and hope for everything to pass. Maybe it’s just a bad dream, right?
Slowly, but steadily, the idea begins to take hold. This is real, you need to start working right away to meet the deadlines. There is no time to waste.
But, what can you do?
Should you work as many hours as you possibly can?
Can your support systems handle the increased workload?
There is so much work, how can you possibly finish everything?
Your mind starts racing into a hundred different directions trying to find the answer.
Rising to the challenge
Let’s be clear, I’m the first one to rise against the whole idea that hustling is the only way to create a successful business. I’m not saying that you should do as little work as possible, but working until you go crazy is definitely not the answer.
However, there are times when life takes you by surprise and throws at you a new challenge. In my example above, it may be a ton of work, or maybe it’s a family emergency. A ton of things can happen, and they may catch you off guard.
So when life decides to throw you a challenge? What should you do?
There are a ton of different ways to handle these kinds of dilemmas, but there are two somewhat common responses. One is to start working like crazy to meet deadlines and put everything else in the backburner, or, procrastination and panic.
But to beat the odds, you need to go beyond those two primary responses, because both will harm you in the long run.
As Justin Jackson said once: “It’s in the most difficult times when you need to stick to your good habits.”
If you just go into full work mode or total procrastination, you are essentially throwing your personal development away. And let’s be honest, you have worked hard to become better not just in your craft but as a person.
I know this sounds counterintuitive but now challenges like the one above is when your resolve and values are being tested. That’s why your first step should be overcoming feeling overwhelmed.
As long as you are feeling overwhelmed by the challenge, you will react. Your actions won’t come from your true genius, and it will become a downward spiral from there.
Instead, I propose you should realign yourself with your purpose.
Your compass among the chaos: Your big why
Before you start tackling everything head on, it’s essential to cut through the meaningless or non-critical tasks. To do that quickly, you need to check in with your purpose.
Your purpose will give you the energy and help you balance your emotions so you can effectively rise to the occasion.
So ask yourself: Why do started doing this in the first place?
For example, I love to help my clients deliver massive value to their audiences, it’s the way I can help the world become a better place. By helping amazing entrepreneurs and small business owners create a better world, I am also shaping the world into a better place.
That idea helps me regain control of the situation. My purpose is to protect my client’s businesses, so my priorities become clear, I need to tackle the biggest threats first, then we can worry about the details.
Your purpose will do the same for you because it will help you prioritize the critical actions above all the rest.
Shifting into hustling mode
Just like any other to-do list, when you are facing a monumental challenge, if the most critical tasks are solved, the rest will start to fall into place.
With that in mind, it becomes easier to decide which actions need to be changed or suspended. But be careful, as I mentioned above, your good habits must remain a part of your plan.
In my case, if I just go full work mode, I will burn out quickly. My mind becomes sluggish, and I would feel overwhelmed again.
But if I keep exercising, journaling, and attending my inner child and playing a game for 15 minutes; I can keep my energy levels high and be able to tackle the challenge knowing that once the crisis is over, I can go back to my usual routine.
If you have a clear idea of all the things that help you recover your energy, it will be easy to shift into hustling mode without derailing all your life. The key is to make conscious decisions to switch into a different pattern temporarily.
The calm after the storm
Once the crisis is over, you need to realize that you have successfully addressed the problem, so you should reward yourself. This will boost your confidence and help you ease back into a more balanced routine.
It’s also a good practice to take note of any actions that helped you achieve success, and also to learn from those that made the task more challenging. This will help you the next time something like this happens.
And remember to devote a little bit of time to see how your purpose has helped you navigate the challenge. After all, when you are aligned with your purpose, even the biggest difficulties can’t match your genius.
So, tell me, what’s your reason to rise to the challenge?