Expecting and preparing ahead of time for the nervous breakdown you’ll have at some point while building your business is just wise. Because it’s going to happen. Maybe not catastrophically but to some degree. There is so much to do, so much to decide, so many emotions to handle… eventually your nervous system will give out.
In this episode, I share some examples of what a nervous breakdown can look like. I also open up about my own experience with working through and moving beyond one. And finally, I offer some suggestions for more support and some self-care as you enter, navigate through, and come out of a nervous breakdown. I hope my advice helps you prepare ahead of time so you’ll know what to do when the time comes. You may even be able to head off a big breakdown and minimize it to a tiny one!
“It really doesn’t matter what you accomplish or don’t. We have to do the work of seeing ourselves – of seeing our value – and really loving the journey along the way.” – Molly Claire
Intro: Welcome to the Masterful Coach Podcast with Molly Claire, where coaches learn skill mastery, business mastery, and life mastery at a whole new level. If you are serious about creating a meaningful coaching business that makes a difference, you are in the right place. And now your host, master life and business coach, Molly Claire.
Molly Claire: Hello, coaches, how are you? I hope you’re enjoying an amazing summer. This summer has been really, really packed for my business. And of course, with the kids coming and going. As I’m recording this, we’re in the midst of having almost all of the eight kids here, keeping everyone busy, and there is just never a dull moment.
All right, are you ready for today’s episode? We’re going to talk about the new coach nervous breakdown or the seasoned coach nervous breakdown, and how to prevent it. And I think this is something that I have not heard talked about. And as I have spent the last nearly eight years in this industry, building my business, being kind of on the inside, this front row seat of watching other coaches start and build their business in training coaches, working with coaches as they build and watching a lot of coaches really go from zero to six figures, zero to seven figures, and also zero to quitting, and “I’m not really cut out for this anymore.”
And I’ve seen the nervous breakdowns, I see them even still, I’ll be on social media and I can just tell when someone has hit this space where their nervous system is giving out. And so I think it’s an important thing to talk about. And I’m going to be sharing with you a few examples of what a nervous breakdown can look like. I’m going to share with you my own personal experience, kind of dip into that a little bit. And I also want to talk with you about some of the things you can do to give yourself more support.
And as I’ve thought about this episode, you know, I’ve been…Pretty soon we’re going to be opening enrollment for the masterful coach collective, and the waitlist is open. And it’s something that’s been in the works for a while, and it really is about building support. And so as I was thinking about all of these things that I see as coaches build their businesses, I feel really grateful to have had the experience that I’ve had, so that I can bring into this experience for my clients, a way to not only help you if you’re approaching the nervous breakdown, but really to prevent it. So, I want to share with you what this looks like a little bit and give you some good tips today as well.
So, I’ve seen coaches coming into the industry and starting to think that the purpose in their coaching business is to get a trophy, or to get on stage or to compete or finally prove their worth. How many of you can relate to this? A few weeks ago, I asked my small group, I said, “How many of you got into coaching to get a trophy?” and they all kind of laughed. But the truth is that many people’s brains go there. I’d certainly had my brain set to, “Wow, how can I achieve more? How can I accomplish this? How can I get something shiny on the shelf to show me that I’m doing a good job?” So, it’s very, very normal. But I want to talk about how I see this playing out.
Let’s talk about nervous breakdown type number one, you’re a coach, who was so excited about coaching, you dove right into it, right? You got certified, you overcame so many doubts as you were working to become a coach and you knew at the end of this road, when you are certified, you would be competent, you would be ready to go, and you would be on your way to building a six-figure business. Well, what actually happened is you got certified and found yourself feeling a little lost in a sea of coaches, not knowing half the skills that you need to build a business, feeling overwhelmed, finding one offer after another for new coaches, do-it- yourself programs that also leave you overwhelmed, stuck in compare and despair and ready to quit. How many of you can relate to some degree of this? I know I certainly relate to different pieces of this.
Let’s talk about nervous breakdown option number two – you finish with certification, and you buy every program in front of you. You spend more money on top of more money on every high-ticket offer, but you’re not really making any traction, you’re kind of scrambling to find that magical answer. You end up with a bit of a pile of debt. And you wonder if you just got into coaching to spend more money. How many of you can relate to this? And I think sometimes the biggest problem with this is coaches who experience this, then go to the opposite side and they freeze, and they don’t want to spend any money at all, which isn’t a good option, either, right, in my opinion. I think it’s inevitable that we’re going to spend money, even significant money as we build a profitable business. But we want to make sure that we’re not spending on everything, and getting into a lot of debt without making traction, and also buying in an effort to appease our own fears, right? So, we want to find that balance.
All right, let’s talk about nervous breakdown number three – this typically applies to those coaches, who get what most people would call further along in their journey, because they’re making the money that you’re supposedly supposed to make. This is the coach who hustles struggles, stays the course, makes financial progress, but it doesn’t seem to be enough. And in fact, maybe you’re spending so much that even though your numbers look good, there’s not nearly enough in the bank, I relate to feeling this way. If you’re a nervous breakdown, category three, you’re making money, but now you need to make a higher six figure number, or the only thing that will satisfy you is hitting the million-dollar mark and beyond. What was a dream is now not good enough, you find yourself having the life and the earnings that would have been amazing? And now that it’s here, it’s not; you’re overworked, less grounded in yourself and your nervous system is on alert from the hustle. You break down either because you can’t take the hustle anymore, or you are completely depleted from trying to prove yourself.
Now, this is a pretty grim outlook from the beginning of this podcast. But it’s important to talk about because it happens. I’ve seen it happen time and again and I’ve experienced pieces of this for myself. And what I want to offer you is that you cannot let this be you. And if this is already describing some version of you, don’t worry, you’re in good company, and you’re in good hands.
So, I want to talk with you about this last year, when we scaled our business just past the seven-figure mark, and I got an award that brought me to tears. And the reason why, is when I was walking up on stage, I remembered all the moments along the way, the doubt, the major limiting beliefs I thought would never go away, and I couldn’t believe this was happening. And while that was an amazing moment for me, I want to tell you what else happened during my time building a business and also at that magical event when I got that award not so long ago.
So first, in the midst of building my business, I did have a nervous breakdown of sorts. I was spreading myself so thin to try to prioritize my family and my business, and it was too much. Because I was trying to take on too much. I wasn’t just prioritizing my family and my business. But I was trying to prioritize everything. I was expecting way too much of myself. And for much of the time building my business, I had what I would call some extraordinary challenges going on in my personal life. And the lesson that I’ve learned over and over again, is to allow myself to stop, take on less and remember that I am human and you listening, you are human too. I think especially as women, we expect ourselves to do everything to be everything to take it all on. And I teach all of you this in my teachings, to let go of things and to allow yourself to be human. And it’s always at the forefront of my work because I have learned so much with my own struggle with chronic fatigue, building a six-figure business as a single mom, and moving to that next level in my business while blending a family of 10. And by the way, discovering all of the trauma that came up for me in a new relationship. Yikes, right?
But I know so many experienced this, and I think it’s important to talk about. And yes, I still keep learning all of this. And it feels like a gift for me to be able to share all of this with you. This time in my business meant a break time away, really connecting with myself and taking care of my needs. So, if any of you relate to any degree of this, whether you’re on the verge of that nervous breakdown, or as I’m talking, you’re seeing that this could happen to you, don’t wait, take a break now, disconnect for a few days from everything. Remind yourself of why you became a coach, remind yourself of who you are and learn who you are. Self-care will always pay off.
Okay, now let’s fast forward from that break down to this magical event. So here I was getting this award, I couldn’t believe it, the Two Comma Award. And it was terrifying and exciting at the same time. I felt like a fraud, I started to justify why everyone else’s accomplishment was much more deserved than mine. I had to do the mental work in that moment to feel like I actually belonged with these other women. And I want to take a minute to have you stop for a minute. And think about how you do this to yourself even now. When you get a client, is it lucky or a fluke, when you achieve a great accomplishment? Does the goal you didn’t meet overshadow the good? Do you minimize your own success while seeing others as so very impressive? Notice these patterns for you, you can change them, and awareness is the first step.
So, this leads me to my next moment I want to share with you about that event and receiving the award. I remember Rachel Hart standing on stage pregnant, she was full of genuine energy and connection with the audience. And she was sharing how others saw her success as so impressive. She had a seven-figure business, a podcast, a book, a family. On and on, she went with these amazing accomplishments that she admittedly minimized, sharing with us how important it was to stop putting ourselves down, to stop minimizing all of it. And as she was speaking, in my mind, I thought, “Wow, she is amazing.”
And suddenly, thankfully, I have this moment that I realized almost every single thing she had mentioned she had accomplished, I had accomplished too. And I say this not because the accomplishment mattered, but I was doing the very thing she was talking about. I was minimizing myself and putting her on a pedestal. I had scaled to seven figures, I have my podcast, my bestselling book, my clients, not to mention blending a large family. I had done the same thing she had done. But when I saw her, and I experienced what it was like to be in my inner world, I saw her as above me, and I thought I needed to be more. It really doesn’t matter what you accomplish or don’t. We have to do the work of seeing ourselves, of seeing our value, and really loving the journey along the way. And we hear this all the time, right? But it’s really true. And I don’t think we can say it enough times. And the truth is that as you’re listening, you may have debt in your business, you may be making 20k or 100k, or well beyond. And we all have a similar version of the same thoughts, unless we do the work to connect with ourselves and heal.
Now, I’m thankful for all the self-work and healing I’ve done. And because of that, at this event, even though these thoughts came up, they didn’t overtake me, they didn’t become center stage for me. And I was able to easily see what was going on. And so while I’m acknowledging this, I also want you to know that it’s possible to have a much different experience of these thoughts. So, for the rest of this podcast, I’d like to give you some of my best tips. And I’m actually going more in depth on a webinar coming up in August, so make sure you are on my list to be there. But for today, let’s talk about the things you need to succeed financially and personally, in a deep and meaningful way.
First, a combination of great experts and do-it-yourself. You have to learn from experts who know what they are doing. I can help my clients with a lot of things. I’m a business coach. I’m a life coach, but I don’t know everything. And there is expertise in certain areas that are important. I’ve seen too many coaches believe they can buy a do-it-yourself course that only ends up overwhelming them. They think they should manage their mind better and do it on their own because they should be so empowered. Coaches, you have to have experts, you have to have support as you build your business. Do not sell yourself short. This doesn’t mean you need to pile up extensive debt. But please do not expect yourself to do everything on your own.
And I want to mention along with not going into a lot of debt, there are a lot of things you can and should do on your own. When I work with my coaches, we talk about the what and the how and the strategy. And they also have to take ownership and initiative in their business. Because if you rely on experts and overspend on help, you will end up buried and helpless to really build your own business. And if you seek no help or expertise, you will likely end up burned out, or certainly not making the progress that you want.
All right, let’s talk about the next tip I’ve got for you – have a coach and mentor and a support system who believes in you. Your coach must believe in you. Your coach must value your mission more than they value your monetary success, and how that benefits them as a coach for testimonials. Your coach should not push your nervous system, or be a mean and critical voice in your head. Your coach should allow you a space of self-connection and the room to know who you are, so you can align with your powerful mission.
Next tip – continued education with coaching skills. In my opinion, a business built on integrity is one where your coaching skills and ability to help your clients leads the way. You can make money as a coach if you are great at marketing, even if you aren’t a great coach. But as we raise the bar in the coaching industry, I hope that more coaches can see the value in continuing education, just like so many professionals that require it in the best interest of clients and consumers. Not only will coaching mastery bring you confidence and true solid confidence. But you will be keeping the power of coaching at the heart of your mission. And this is vital if we are going to stay out of this fraud complex where we feel the sense of cognitive dissonance and we start to feel that nervous system overload.
Next up – a repeatable process for planning in your business. A planning system that is repeatable is valuable when you build a business because there is so much uncertainty and unknown as an entrepreneur, isn’t there? It’s different than clocking in and clocking out and knowing what’s coming on a weekly basis. And when you can enjoy a system that works, and you have support built in, it is everything. Because there’s always something to figure out. There’s always something new going on, right? There’s really nothing about building a business that is certain, other than the energy you bring, and the processes you put in place to keep you on track. So don’t allow all of this that you have to figure out to overwhelm you, tune into processes that help you stay the course, failure after failure, success after success until the ultimate success is achieved.
Finally, Coach, please listen, you have to have support in your personal life as well, including business and personal life balance. Life and life business balance are one thing, and you and your personal well-being is distinct and unique. Both of these have to be supported, as well as getting support in your business. A business program without personal life support, I think it’s like driving a car with a donut tire, you know, you get a flat, you put the doughnut on, and you’re going very slowly, you kind of have this limit, it’s not very smooth, and you’re a little bit anxious the whole time, right? You have this angst, is this going to work? Is it not? What’s going on around me? And I think it’s the same way it is such a detriment to you to not have that personal support. You need to attend to the fears coming up for you as you build your business. You need to create that emotional support system, nervous system regulation, downtime and TLC for you.
You also need to help as you manage the to-dos of life, including the people in your life who count on you. You deserve to have guidance and support with planning in your life, managing house or family, taking care of loved ones, checking off all of those to-dos and the busyness of life. You do so much in your life, probably more than you realize. Don’t make the mistake of overloading yourself in your life or your business. Get the support so you can have a business and really create the quality of life you want.
Coach, if you have been teetering on burnout, it’s time to take a pause and get the support you need. In eight years of watching coaches up close and personal build their businesses, I have seen it, I have experienced it. Don’t sell yourself short, your family, your life, or your business. Take care of you and build in what you need.
All right, coaches, that’s what I’ve got for you. We are opening enrollment for the Masterful Coach Collective in just a couple of weeks. Make sure that you check out the show notes, sign up for the waitlist. I’ve got amazing experts for you. Total support as you build your business. And I look forward to partnering with many of you and helping you to create that business and life you really want. I’ll talk to you next week.
Outro: Thanks for listening to the Masterful Coach Podcast. If you’re ready for complete support as you build your coaching business, check out Molly’s collaborative community, the Masterful Coach Collective. It’s a place where you’ll have access to the best experts in the biz, community support, and guidance as you build your perfect business 90 days at a time. Visit www.mollyclaire.com for details.