#31 Pat Flynn – How to Avoid Overwhelm: 5 Steps to Stop Spiraling Out of Control
July 13, 2021
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Pat Flynn is a professional blogger with a best-seller on the Wall Street Journal list, Smart Passive Income. Pat’s path to blogging success was not an easy walk in the park. On the way, he encountered many struggles. A site design change that instantly cost him half his listeners. A cease and desist order demanding he take down his site. A hacker taking his site down for him. It’s important to have a plan, Pat says. But it’s also important to have a reliable way to respond when plans don’t go right, when things feel out of control. Pat has some tips for stress management for entrepreneurs. Let’s take a quick look at Pat’s five steps to stop spiraling out of control. 


Counting Backwards From Five But Starting at Zero?

Pat’s quite the rule breaker, so we will just follow along. Before we begin the five tips at number five and count down, we’ll pass along tip number zero. It’s ok to get frustrated. It’s natural to be upset. There is no sense beating yourself up over having an emotional response. So accept that you are upset, and then move on to managing the situation with these five tactics for stress management. 


Five – Take A Breath and Slow Down

Start by stopping. Whatever you are doing, just stop and take a breath and focus on breathing. Literally take a breath and just think about breathing in and out. This will help you relax and may actually physically lower your heart rate. Controlling the physiological manifestations of stress can help relieve the psychic component of stress. When you slow down and focus on your breath instead of your problem, you allow your body time to realize: hey – I am in no immediate danger. I am going to be ok right now, at least. That’s a better place to be, knowing you have time to think. 


Four – Stop More. More Stopping!

Ok, you took a breath and paused your frantic internal monologue. Good job. Now keep stopping! Walk away. Literally take a walk. Your problem may be the most important thing going on right now, and it is probably important to think about it. But not constantly without pause. You can’t think clearly when you are stressed and obsessed. Take a break. Find something to enjoy. Come back slightly more relaxed with a fresh mindset. 


Three – Get Support

We often feel like our problems are unique, but really, no matter what you are going through and how weird it is, someone else has probably been through a similar struggle. Talking to other people and realizing you are not alone in your problems can help you feel like you can survive this. Pat runs mastermind groups for entrepreneurs. This can be a great option. You can start your own, or join one led by a value-adding expert like Pat. Or you can decide you don’t want a formal group of like minded individuals with similar goals supporting each other. Not everyone has the time or connections. But at the very least, find some people you can talk to about your problems and get some outside perspective. You cannot see what they can see. You may also find relief in helping other people think about their problems instead of thinking about your own for a while. 


Two – Figure Out Your First Steps

Now you have taken a breath, walked away and relaxed, and sought support and advice so you are ready to figure out what to do next. If you had jumped into trying to solve your problem before you allowed yourself to relax a little, you might have made some kind of desperate over-reaction. Our first choices under stress are not always the best. You are not necessarily ready to come up with a complete solution. But you can take the first steps and then decide what you need to do next. For example, when Pat’s website went down, he did not immediately try to recreate the whole thing, he went to his email list and reached out to his community and explained the situation. Whew! Step one, everything is going to be ok. 


One – Learn From What You Went Through

Things do not always go according to plan. Every entrepreneur faces unforeseen challenges and frustrations. It may feel like this only happens to you, but whatever it is, it probably has happened to a lot of people. Failure is a right of passage. It is not as painful to learn by reading, but you can learn a lot by failing. So understand that the problem that is stressing you out is also an opportunity to figure out a way to avoid having the same problem again in the future. Take these five tactics for managing stress and fearlessly fail your way to no-stress success.