Staying Calm In The Chaos: How To Take Control Of Your Emotions In Business

By Kimberley Borgens

Have you ever thought about how you respond during those chaotic moments in your business? They happen to everyone, no matter how much planning we go through to try to avoid them. Believe it or not, how you respond makes a difference. As leaders, our actions and words should build faith in our staff and clients as we portray company values.

These situations have a way of bringing out intense emotions in us. And it makes sense; not only is this a stressful situation, but it may feel like the very business you have built is under attack. But to move through any stressful moment as quickly and efficiently as possible, you must find calm in the chaos. And that’s what I will show you how to do.

Acknowledging the stressful nature of entrepreneurship

Sometimes, I feel like we can get so focused on running a business that we forget to acknowledge just how stressful entrepreneurship can be. Unless you keep a realistic view of your role as a business owner, you risk martyring yourself and, eventually, burnout. Think of everything you are responsible for: managing staff and finances, staying compliant, and keeping clients happy. With the weight of everything we face every day, it can be challenging to fight imposter syndrome, knowing your company’s success rests on your shoulders.

Even when the circumstances of our business may feel chaotic, there are times when we need to find calm in the chaos of our minds. This is why I encourage you to approach the pressures of entrepreneurship with self-compassion. Since so much depends on us, a lot of our internal stress comes from constantly striving for perfection. Whether intentional or not, many business owners believe that mistakes are not an option.

When you free yourself from the idea that you are not allowed to make mistakes, you reduce your stress, open yourself up to help, and enjoy your journey a little more.

How do business owners stay calm in the chaos?

For most of us, managing and growing a company can feel like we are running a mile a minute! Even in a season where everything is on point, outside forces can throw a wrench in your system and send your world spinning. An employee can make a mistake that causes a ripple effect, a vendor might fall behind on payments, or a product recall may leave your reputation vulnerable.

Even though these events may not be the direct result of your actions, they still require your attention. So, how should you proceed in the middle of a storm to maintain your dignity? Here’s what I’ve learned from living through my own chaos and coming through to see the other side.

Keep your emotions calm and take a look at the facts

If there’s one thing I’ve learned that I would love to pass on to you is that your business does not have emotions, you do. Anything that happens in your business is an event. The emotion surrounding it is brought into your business by you and the people you work with. What does this mean? Whatever happens that we label as chaos only compounds as we allow our feelings to get involved.

Think of the last stressful situation you encountered at work that you instinctually became emotionally charged over. How did the circumstances change? Did other people respond the same way you did? When we are ramped up about anything happening, this usually creates more problems in your business than necessary.

Let’s go back to the stress of entrepreneurship for a moment. While you’re managing all of your responsibilities, it’s understandable that your first instinct is to have an emotional response to something unexpected. But to address the situation well, stop and take a breath. Notice what is going on as an observer. Once you have taken a moment to gather the facts, decide what you can do to reduce the chaos and stay calm as a leader. Instead of responding emotionally, others will follow your example by responding with their calm, too.

Determine the sense of urgency

Once you’ve assessed the situation, you’ll need to decide what kind of action it calls for. There will be times when you must act fast, doing whatever it takes right now based on the chaos around you. Some situations may pose an immediate threat, such as a medical emergency, natural disaster, security breach, system crash, or lawsuit. In this case, you will need to follow an action plan as quickly and seamlessly as possible.

Each situation will require a different response. This is why, even in chaos, you must determine the correct course of action. What needs to happen right now? Who do you need help from? You may need help from a medical professional, law enforcement, or even a lawyer. Making this determination early on will reduce the chaos for your business and your team.

Take action in what you can control

One of the most important things to remember is that you can’t control everything! You can’t control other people and their emotions, but you can control yours. So, the most productive thing you can do during the storm is to take action on what you can control. Even though you may want to help anyone who has become upset or scared, this is really your emotions taking over again. Until the chaos passes, your job is to get busy solving the problem that caused the mess in the first place.

Anytime you stop to take a breath, you can take small and large actionable steps toward solving the problem. And remember, not all chaos is as destructive for you or your business as you might think. These challenges can bring tremendous growth, learning opportunities, and valuable experience for future resolution. 

Tips For Managing Stress

Keeping your cool is not always easy. If you are used to letting your emotional side drive your reactions and decision-making, you may find it hard to switch off when faced with a crisis. But that doesn’t mean you can’t train yourself to become less emotionally reactive. The best way to do this is through ongoing stress management.

Stress management doesn’t have to be time-consuming or difficult. It should, however, resonate with you to be effective. The best way for entrepreneurs to lower stress is to prioritize their mental health the way they would their business. Using these simple tips, you will manage stress and your emotions.

Keep track of your wins

Far too often, we find it easy to focus on what’s going wrong when we should focus on what’s going right! Recognizing your wins keeps you motivated and gives you a feeling of accomplishment. Then, when you are faced with chaotic situations, you will feel more confident in your abilities to navigate through them and keep your emotions under control.

Prioritize what needs to get done

One of the main stressors entrepreneurs face is the sheer amount of stuff that has to get done. A never-ending to-do list will keep you stressed if you haven’t brought some order to it. One of the best gifts you can give yourself is taking the time to sit down and organize your to-do list according to urgency and importance. Pro tip: as you go through this list, identify items you can delegate to lighten your load!

Take up the habit of journaling

I know many people have mixed feelings about journaling. But this habit doesn’t have to be complicated or poetic. The purpose behind journaling is to get all of our jumbled thoughts on paper to reduce our mental clutter. Even a practice lasting 10 minutes a day can offer enormous stress-relieving benefits. Spending a few minutes writing any racing thoughts about your day, business ideas, or life, in general, will give your mind the relief it so desperately needs.

Take regular breaks

I know the hectic life of being a business owner. But if you constantly run yourself as you run your business, you wear yourself out and never teach your mind and body how to rest. Learning how to calm yourself will become valuable during chaotic times. It allows you to turn away from your default emotional responses and move into decision-making with a level head.

Staying Calm In The Chaos

This might sound contradictory, but try not to view chaos as a bad thing. Instead, practice putting your emotions aside as you look at the facts to determine the sense of urgency and take action on what you can control. Remaining calm when faced with chaotic situations will not only benefit your mental health, but it will benefit your business and those you work with, too.

Kimberley Borgens

About the author

Kimberley Borgens was married at 18, a mother at 19, and divorced at 20, she has journeyed from being a single mom on welfare to recognizing her strengths, fighting for what she believes in, and successfully building 5 thriving businesses with hundreds of employees and million-dollar budgets. Kimberley is a speaker, business mentor, and coaches her clients to transform their small business into a thriving business. Kimberley is living her own legacy as she inspires and motivates women to be fearless, become more like a CEO of their business and life, and enjoy the freedom they've dreamed of. She knows what it's like to start from nothing and build a strong solid business and she can help you too.

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