3 ways small and solo business owners can move from overwhelm to positive action

For us business owners who care about the world and its people, it can be dangerously easy for feelings of overwhelm and hopelessness to take over. And when we’re feeling like that, we won’t likely be creating much of a positive impact in the world.

So instead of sitting in overwhelm, try these 3 ways to move to positive action:

1. Focus on what you can do

Stephen Covey’s circle of influence is a useful tool to help with this.

If you aren’t familiar with it, Covey’s model is made up of two circles. The first is your circle of concern, full of things you care about but don’t have a lot of control over. The second circle, your circle of influence, is smaller and contains things where you’re more likely able to make an impact.

The trick, according to Covey, is to focus on your circle of influence and to take small, consistent actions in that circle. Focusing in this way increases your chances of being effective and also helps to keep negative feelings in check.

2. Find and read stories of positive change

I’m not talking about feel-good fluff or exaggerated tales. Instead, look for stories that critically examine the problems and showcase their meaningful and effective solutions.

Future Crunch, What Could Go Right? and Reasons to be Cheerful are three places I turn to for optimistic news on how people, business and government are making good changes in their circles of influence.

3. Create a ‘good on ya’ list

We all need a little pat on the back from time to time. 

Create a list of the positive impact you’ve made—think business accomplishments, testimonials and kind words from customers or clients, charitable donations, carbon footprint goals—and refer to it when you’re feeling down and hopeless. (This is one reason why setting impact targets and measuring them is so useful.)

Celebrate your good work, and then let’s get back to work—the world needs you and your business!


Build a better business

Better for the environment, better for people and—yup—better for your pocket.

Every week, I put together a collection of practical and thought-provoking resources designed to help us grow our impact as small and solo business owners. 

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