Why quick fixes don’t work
CLOSE TO BREAKDOWN
I remember one defining moment about two months ago, I felt that close to having a breakdown. I had so many thoughts in my head and so many things I felt I needed to do that I was about to cave under the pressure.
I get it, I get why we try quick fixes. I had invested money here and there in various courses, and various aides but the idea of getting through all that was adding to my overwhelm. I knew that it was make or break. I have felt so deeply overwhelmed at times this year that I wanted to chuck it all in and do something more….simple. However, I persevered and instead of giving up, I addressed my processes. Firstly I allowed myself the space to know that under the stresses of a global pandemic everything was going to feel harder. Everything! Friendships, relationships, work, getting work, not being able to travel, not even being able to visit my family.
And of course then this has a knock on effect; worrying about not having enough income creates this fear response in your brain, where you start scrabbling! You think you must do more, give more, be more and it becomes exhausting. Everything feels harder here, in this place. In acknowledging this though, I gave myself some breathing room, I calmed my pace. I became acutely aware that if I continued to run a marathon at a sprints pace then I would not make it out alive.
WHY ARE WE ALL SO BUSY?
We are all so busy, so overwhelmed, all of the time. Even though we live in a time of peace and prosperity, we are anxious all the time. Even when there is no threat of danger, we are still dialled up to 10. People are still struggling to cope, let alone to live their best lives. We have the personal demands of career, finances, family and health and then the bigger forces of an unsettled economy, political uncertainty and environmental concerns. Add to that the overwhelming amount of disruptive technology that’s distracting us at every turn and it’s a recipe for high blood pressure and panic attacks!
Multitasking is the modern response to being overworked but it brings us no relief. A study showed that multitasking is actually comparable to driving drunk and another study found that constant low grade stress can age your brain cells by as much as a decade! We have found a way to cope with our new and exciting way of life but it’s not a healthy one.
We all know we have so much more to do in our businesses. We have so much more we want to achieve in our careers and in life but who has the time let alone the mental capacity to extend ourselves past what we’re currently doing? What we’re doing right now is running around putting out little fires, little fires everywhere…all the time. Out mental and emotional power is taken up by focussing on the immediate threat and dealing with it in the moment. We’ve developed multitasking as a means of coping with the constant onslaught of tasks to be done on a daily basis.
It’s no wonder we buy into the easy quick fixes online, the ones selling instant stories and captions written for you. The apps that promise to organise your life. The courses that will make your life easier, better, perfect! The trouble is that there is no quick fix so these are merely distractions. What’s key is that you stop flapping around like a fish on a hook and regain control of your life.
WHY THESE PERCEIVED LIFELINES DON’T WORK
The trouble is that we cling on to these imagined lifelines because we are so preoccupied with the rest of our to do list that the idea of an easy fix is so appealing to us because it means we don’t have to expend any energy on that extra thing we don’t have time for. But honestly, it’s just a waste of your time, energy and money. What’s needed is a mindset shift.
So let’s look at these plug and play bundles you can get for $27 online! Now you don’t have to ‘do’ your own content right? That’s one little fire out? Right? Yes absolutely, you have now got the 30 posts done for the month. You’ve scheduled your posts and you’re happy that you have fulfilled the requirement to post every day on social media? Right?
Yes this is all true but is it actually effective? I’ve tried it and I know first hand that this content is soulless. It’s unconnected to you and to your ideal client and it doesn’t convey your beautiful authentic self. You get lost behind reams of generic content that was sold to you on the premise that it would give you some time back, and it does, but it doesn’t work;
- It doesn’t connect with your ideal client
- It doesn’t convey your values and your vision
- It doesn’t increase leads and it doesn’t grow your business
However, it is still taking up your time and your money as you invest in trying to make it work. All because it promises a quick and easy fix. I really hate to be the one to take away this one perceived lifeline, but it really doesn’t work. I’ve fallen into this trap myself. I’ve bought the $27 bundles, in the past, that promise instant interaction. I’ve seen others follow the rule of “post something every day and you will eventually get traction”. Nope, It doesn’t work like that.
SO WHAT CAN YOU DO?
There is no quick fix to building relationships online other than to actually interact with people. Posting every day and hoping that people will interact is the equivalent of those double glazing salesmen standing in the street with a handful of leaflets saying absolutely nothing at all. They find it hard enough to sell when they do actually go out and interact with people, but imagine waiting for people to come to you? Madness!
The trouble is two fold. You don’t just have to gain the attention of real humans but you also have to find a way to get good grace with the algorithms too. However, one good thing about the algorithm is that they are set up to serve humans. They’re designed to ‘notice’ when things are of interest. They will then start to show those things to more humans who may also find it valuable. So it really is about keeping the humans happy and getting their attention.
So where am I going with all this? Well I have a few quick tips for you and one really hefty change in mindset…
Number one: Stop posting every day and wondering why no one is interacting!
Instead post maybe 3 times a week but with REALLY great content and do it only when you have the time to respond to the comments afterwards. This is how we do things in real life. You wouldn’t walk up to a bunch of people in real life, tell them a story or ask them a question and then wander off, checking back with them later…maybe? Would you? So why on earth have we gotten ourselves into this mindset online? Instead, immerse yourself in the conversation.
This interaction not only fuels the algorithm to show the post to more people but you also start to make real connections with real humans. And you never know where each of these interactions may lead. You can use the rest of the time saved on getting yourself out there and in front of your ideal client in other ways; interact with other people’s posts in groups, go find your ideal client on instagram and send them a love bomb! Guys there are so many ways you can build your connections
Number two: Stop buying bundles/course and apps that promise an easier life
We are sold the promises of an easier life every day in this consumerist society, but I firmly believe that an easier life starts with you and with your mindset. Everything else is just a smiley face sticker over the problem.
WHERE THE REAL POWER IS AT
Instead, think bigger. Get clarity on your goals, connect with your values, ask yourself is this thing I’m doing right now aligned with my bigger picture / my plan / my goals / my values? Is it getting me any closer to where I want to be? No daily planning app is going to answer that question for you.
Look inwards and stop being dragged along by all the external things that are rushing around you and keeping you from your goals. Regain control. These quick fixes may alleviate the stress in the short term but the rest of your life will still feel in turmoil. And I use the word ‘feel’ intentionally. It will feel in turmoil. It will not be in turmoil. The two are VERY different things because our thoughts and feelings are not facts. They are a complex mixture of evaluations and judgements based on previous life experiences and they are intensified by our emotions.
So the reality of your situation is often less drastic than your perception of it. I suggest we start there. Begin by acknowledging that with some brain power YOU can diminish the size of the stressors in your life. You can do this for yourself. You don’t need an app for that…they don’t make an app for that. It’s internal work.
This just takes a different way of thinking, one where you slow down your thought processes and instead of allowing your primitive brain to engage the problem by reacting (this is when the threat perception is dialled up to 10!), instead you pause and respond (by accessing the second system of thinking which applies more reason to the problem). You just pause………and then you respond.
None of this requires a change in the external factors. Many of these things may actually be outside of your control. But the one thing you will always have control over (even if your freedom was taken away from you) is the how you respond to the situation. In this situation, you are no longer a slave to the external factors, you take control of your feelings. You gently, without judgement, take them from the driving seat and regain control.
So to find the way through the tough times when you feel overwhelmed with all that you must do; start by taking a step back, slowing the pace of your thinking and regaining control of your responses to each of the things that present themselves. All of these things are not ruling your life, they are things you have chosen to engage in so remind yourself that you were always in control.