By Alyssa Gregory

How to Stop Sweating the Small Stuff

By Alyssa Gregory

worryCrying over spilled milk; making mountains out of molehills; worrying that the sky is falling…whichever way you say it, it all comes down to having perspective. And I don’t think anyone has pinpointed that revelation better than Kristine and the late Richard Carlson, authors of the “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff” series of books. Focusing on limiting stress and boosting happiness, the books provide inspirational nuggets that apply to just about every area of life.

So how does this relate to the business owner? There’s a pretty defined correlation, I think, particularly when you factor in the stresses of business, money, time and all of the revolving details that are constantly in the works. When you have big goals and the desire to go for it, it can be easy to get caught up in the details and quickly overwhelmed. I’ve certainly been there, and I know that if you don’t stop this way of thinking early on, you may not only slow your progress, but you can also hurt your potential for success.

I’ve compiled a list of the most effective ways I’ve found to move past the little show-stoppers and keep moving forward.

Embrace the Chaos

Rarely does a day go by in my life that I don’t look around and think, “My gosh, this is a crazy existence I have!” Sure, not everyone has three kids 3 years old and younger, a house full of animals, a full business and lots of side projects, but I suspect most of us feel our own unique version of craziness from time to time. That’s the nature of life; you can’t fight it. In fact, with a little creativity, you can use it to your advantage (using the chaos as material in your writing, for example).

Pick Your Battles

It would be great if everyone just followed your lead, and did what you wanted them to do when you wanted them to do it. It will never happen. Instead of getting caught up trying to fit people into your preferred mold, be willing to accept others for who they are and respect their differences. If you do this, you will begin to let the lesser important battles fade away, and you’ll have the time and energy to tackle the big struggles when they come along.

Take Advice with a Grain of Salt

Many people believe that their way is the best way, and that others facing similar experiences have to follow their path if they’re going to come through challenges victorious. But not all advice is good advice, or good advice for you, so take recommendations at face value and use them as a starting point for exploring your own solutions. And don’t let the naysayers override your own self-confidence and determination.

Save 911 for the Real Emergencies

If you’re anything like me, you tend to go from zero to 60 and into emergency mode before the alarm has even started sounding. I’ve found that it can save me a lot of stress and worry if I stop, take a breath and honestly analyze the situation before letting myself hit the panic button.

Know What You Can’t Control

One of the most important lessons I’ve learned is that you only have control over your own actions, how you perceive the actions of others and how you react. Instead of worrying about what others will think or how they will look at you, focus on honoring your own standards and ideals in everything you do. You just can’t please everyone all the time, so worry about making yourself happy and the rest will fall into place.

How do you keep things in perspective and avoid worrying about the little things?

Image credit: murielle

  • Keeping a sense of perspective is the most important life (and business skill) to acquire if you want to be productive and happy. Focussing only on those things that 1) matter and 2) you can control is the key. I wrote a blog post on this: Microbusiness Entrepreneur.co.uk which you might find interesting.

  • AndrewCooper

    Great article again Alyssa! I agree with all of your points – Especially the Save 911 for the Real Emergencies point. I think if you could just say “Hey, let’s just wait a sec here and think for a minute about the situation and what we could do, ok?” then it would definitely help, rather than jumping the gun.

    On the other hand, personally, I don’t have any problems with sweating the small stuff. I’m a positive thinking, optimistic person whose pretty laid back and down to Earth. I rarely stress out over anything and I’m pretty cool-headed. But that’s just who I am. So I don’t really do anything in particular to get a perspective on a situation or to reduce the amount I worry about things. It’s just how I am naturally, which I guess is lucky really!

    Andrew Cooper

  • hairybob

    Good tips Alyssa! When things start stacking up for me, I like to take some time out for myself… I like to go see a movie and dust a pepperoni pizza with a large chocolate milk shake. Usually, upon my return, I find that I’m no longer sweating and the small stuff appears just as it is….. small. But your methods are probably a lot healthier than mine!!!!

  • anthon

    I like this article, can’t imagine how articulate it is in daily life. Life is just not perfect and dealing it in a calm way does really help.

  • Zoe Feast

    Great article, I find a good old fashioned list puts everything in perspective, and it is so satisfying crossing thing off in a big fat red pen!

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