Secret business stresses

I just need to get this all out, mostly business related. Secret because I don’t share this much with anyone, it’s my private struggles as I imagine it’s too boring for other people to hear and its boring for me to talk about. But here I am once again and want to chat it through here. I am wondering if this mood is to do that I reduced taking in sugar by about 95% a week or two ago. The body just kept saying no, and this could be withdrawals.

I know happiness is in here somewhere but I’m not feeling it right now, at moment it’s swamped by fear and I’m worried. Awoke feeling anxious….and two hours later now I have a tightened throat and hollow empty feeling in the chest. Hello feelings. I hear you. And my hair is literally falling out from the stress and I don’t feel very well. Maybe I’m just too emotional to run a business.

I am judging myself too. And then judging myself for judging myself. I feel a sense of shame that I am so easily subject to the changes in business conditions. It’s just outer events. I’m safe, I’ll be fine. I know that. But part of me is feeling threatened. I need to have a conversation with that part. It’s pretty loud just now.

When the business is struggling, I struggle, when it’s flying along I fly. Not always, but when it’s sustained financial difficulty it starts to get to me. Throw in the odd unpleasant client interaction….guys needing lines drawn, adverse weather….My resilience buckles a bit.

Then in spring it starts flowing smoothly again and I feel better and chastise myself again for how easily moved I am by outer events, even the positive ones. It’s a loop of self recrimination!

I am not being the unmovable, steady and stoic human I’d like to be. Instead I feel afraid.

Baaaaaad! The inner critic announces loudly.

The uncertainty and lack of security gets to that scared inner child part of me, wriggles in with whispers of impending doom, and I lose my equilibrium. The responsibility. The lack of support. It’s all up to me and I feel lonely at times. And that’s what fear does, makes us feel alllllll alone in the world. It’s not true though.

This is the winter struggle of having a landscape business when freezing temperatures and rain regularly interfere with work.

You should be used to this by now after 15 years! The inner critic yells.

I gave them yesterday afternoon off, too cold and not practical to try to do work in frozen ground. Then the work progresses more slowly, the job takes longer. They have to be paid for not working and yet there no money to pay them, I’m struggling to pay tax and supplier bills. But it’s the law, and so I borrow money to make sure they have continuity. Even the two self employed ones I’m not obliged to pay. Of course they need to pay their own increasing bills and they regularly communicate how much they are struggling and I feel their pain.

I don’t know how they manage on a wage from that sort of job. Or why they would settle for such a job I sometimes wonder. Not me. Who in their right mind would be a construction labourer. I do get it actually. I’m being insulting. There are those who want to be outdoors, who benefit from using their bodies to the max, and who didn’t get the early education or encouragement to aim higher in life. I want to make that situation as good as I can. Given that I’m barely interested in the whole business now. I just hope my boredom and indifference isn’t communicated to them.

Then I want to complain about the government for their decisions and that isn’t a happy wormhole to go down. The people are being squeezed. That lockdown was an idiotic move that we are all paying for.

The dog comes over for a pat and we engage in mutual love. I relax and remember to breathe. Thank you Elsa.

I do my best to be a decent employer but it’s a stressful relationship set up for me. It is so hierarchical. I have more power and I handle it with kid gloves and use it as little as possible. I love to be generous with it wherever possible. Then get irritated when I’m pushed into saying ‘no’. The couple of the employees, all but two actually, seem want the parent child version and seem to want demonstrations of boundaries from me. Does that make them feel secure? Perhaps. So they go over the line and I, with some irritation, draw the line. Urghhh. Just take responsibility for yourselves! I have to hold back from yelling at times. My personality type isn’t very authority happy or decisive, so it’s an area of great discomfort. And just to add, they do a great job and are very nice people.

Oddly it is often those more socialist inclined around me who make snarky comments about them taking advantage, or insinuate that I’m even plain gullible. Esp my mum. You’re too soft, you spoil them. That jars me. A lot. I wonder at times if they are more entrenched in the conditioning of the hierarchical structure they appear to object to. The parental style employer relationship. Perhaps they are just more pragmatic about the structure of the existing set up.

Though I’m aware of the payoffs, I experience much difficulty being on my own running a construction business. And all the variables that throws in my lap. Keeping them in work, finding new clients, doing the designs, the costings, dealing with client complaints, managing jobs, paying the bills, being short of money, managing the money. It’s a lot for one person. And well done to me for managing to do it. I encourage myself constantly. I’ve got to watch I’m not going into ‘victim’ mode here.

The current job has another week to go and the next one hasn’t even got the design finalised yet. The guys really need to start it next week for me not to have to borrow money to keep it all going. I’m already in debt. It was all ready but the client changed the design of it, so I had to redo the design and I’m waiting for drawings from the cad technician. Money is tight in just now and I’m unable to pay things on time, and there’s a prospect of it running out and not being able to meet expenses. That’s already happened and I negotiate with suppliers about bills.

It is triggering a surge of fear. I am not feeling myself because of that. That scarcity. I sink into that sense of scarcity. And I criticise myself. ‘ you should know better, you’ve been here many times’, the inner critic says. ‘You’re fine, you will be fine. It will work out’, another part says. Ping pong.

Got the survey through for another project so will start designing that today. I know this anxiety is temporary but for now I feel stuck in it. I chastise myself for being effected by outside events so easily. Why can’t I instead be a rock, rooted in deep peace and equanimity no matter what is going on. Which I’ve experienced many times for long stretches and know the address of. I’m not at that address just now. And because I’m stressed other things evoke an irritated response. Like the floorboards above. I even write to the council again to ask them to fix them. I’m back to turning the radio up when they come into the room above so I don’t hear it. I chastise myself for that. It’s a failure to practice taking the pain.

I don’t know if writing this down is doing me any good, but the dam is bursting out on to the page. These are the conditions and activities I have chosen, with the lessons I need. I accept responsibility for it all. I just wish I could be more nonchalant about it all.

I have no therapy clients today which is why this is all coming out. It’s grey and a bit wet outside. It’s warm in here, fire at my feet a warm cup of tea. These small comforts are appreciated.

What to do? Remove those activities which cause stress or learn to deal with the stress. I’ve been choosing the latter for a long time now. And I’m still getting stressed. I chastise myself for the failure of that. Lot of self criticism here I notice.

Some inner needs are not being taken care of, the need for safety, certainty and control in the earthly realm. I have long sacrificed those for adventure, spontaneity and freedom. And yet they remain and jump up screaming when threatened. They do not like my ‘trust the universe’ approach.

Conflicting inner goals. No wonder I feel stressed.

‘Playing victim when you have put yourself in a situation you knew wasn’t right for you.

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