Recently, I was meeting with a regular client — an entrepreneur and really successful business woman who was experiencing, through circumstances beyond her control, a situation that forced her to slow down her usually active pace. She was a woman who was used to being constantly on the go: sometimes struggling with finding a healthy work/life balance and unable to make the time and space to slow down on her own. She and I had been working together for months, and yet she was still unable to slow down until a shift in her environment forced her to do so. But instead of feeling relief from this newfound slower pace, she was actually experiencing a lot of anxiety — worried about the decreased income that might result from her taking a break, and concerned over whether or not she’d be able to later re-generate the income she’d previously had.
Later, I met with another client — another badass boss lady experiencing similar feelings of anxiety. But this time, her feelings were coming from an opportunity to increase her pace and workload. Instead of fearing what would happen if she was forced to slow down, she was worried over what could happen if she were to pick up the pace — afraid she might not be able to maintain a healthy work/life balance, that she might lose some of the freedom her current schedule allowed, or that once she joined the hectic rat race, she might never be able to stop striving for more.
Two women, both extremely talented and very successful, struggling with the same feelings of worry and anxiety, but for two completely different reasons. So that got me thinking…
Entrepreneurship — building, running, and growing your businesses — is just like driving a car.
Do I sound crazy? Let me explain.
Chances are if you’re over 16-years-old and don’t live in a city that runs on public transportation, you know how to drive a car. You’ve probably been driving for years. So, you understand that the purpose of driving is to get you from Point A to Point B. You also understand that when you drive, you have full control of the speed at which you travel.
I’ll repeat that: as the driver of your car, you have full control over the speed at which you travel.
Makes sense, right? As the driver of your car, you can choose your speed. Maybe you’re riding the freeway and can kick it up to 75 mph. Or, maybe you’re cruising down a quiet, residential street and prefer to keep the speedometer hovering around 20 mph. Maybe you’re driving along somewhere in the middle, with your favorite song playing on the radio. Whatever the case may be, you’re the driver. When you want to speed up, you press down on the gas pedal. When you’re ready to slow down, you pump the breaks a few times. If you’ve reached a speed you want to maintain for the next 150 miles, you kick back into cruise control and enjoy the steady rhythm of the road. In the driver’s seat, it’s all up to you.
So why don’t we allow ourselves to follow this same logic in our business lives?
Often, for high performing business women, there is a belief that once we slow down, we’ll never be able to accelerate back to the pace we were maintaining before. There’s strong resistance to slowing down and taking breaks — fueled by the idea that if we’re not constantly on the go and always in the hustle, we’re never going to be able to speed up again. But this is crazy! The mindset that we’re not in control of our speed is a limiting belief. Just like driving a car, if you’re able to slow down, you’ll also be able to accelerate right back up — and both options are always available to you, as long as you’re in the driver’s seat.
But what about things that happen that are out of our control?
Sometimes these things come up when we’re on the road, right? Sometimes our car breaks down, sometimes there’s an accident or traffic that forces us to slow down, sometimes the road we’re traveling on is closed and we have to take a detour, sometimes we’re even in the accident. Sometimes, for better or for worse, the unexpected happens.
But do we quit driving all of a sudden just because we’ve hit a roadblock (sometimes, literally)? No, we don’t. What we do is problem solve: we accept the delay, we pull a map out of the glove compartment, we fix the car, we might even have to replace the car — but one way or another, we keep on driving.
We should treat our business lives in the exact same way: by problem solving, doing what needs to be done, repairing what needs to be repaired, and replacing what needs to be replaced. We stay in the driver’s seat of our business. We figure it out. We make it from Point A to Point B. We don’t let fear of the unknown, fear of failure, or fear of our own pace prevent us from getting in the car and driving.
But I’ll admit, sometimes that’s easier said than done. So here are some tips to keep you on the road and driving — in the driver’s seat, at your own pace:
Whenever you start to feel stuck in your business, struggling with feelings of fear, anxiety, or stress — and believe me, it happens to all of us — tell yourself that running your business is just like driving your car. You already know everything you need to know to be successful, you just have to do it. You can speed up, slow down, stop, change direction, take a detour, or pull into the service garage for a little tune up. Whatever you do in your driver’s seat is fully in your control. Even when the unexpected happens, keep both hands steady on the wheel and know that you’ve got this. You know how to drive, you know how to get where you’re going, and your destination is bound to be great.
For more advice on taking control of your life and business, be sure to watch the video that accompanies this blog post and check out my Facebook group Alpha Female Sisterhood. There you’ll find tons of tips, advice, empowerment, and support for high-performing women, just like you!
Meet Seo Kelleher, an intuitive coach for life and business, committed to empowering women. "I am passionate about helping women find the courage to transform their lives by embracing their vulnerability and taking the responsibility."