15 May Say Goodbye to Overwhelm in Just 3 Steps
I will never forget the day I decided to ban overwhelm – for good.
It was three years ago. I was deep into building my business, a single Mom, driving the kids home from after school sports, taking in a full day of clients, facing homework, dinner, showers, friends whose calls I needed to return, bills to pay, a house to clean, a garden to water, emails to return and my man – who I wanted to spend time with. My head was racing, my shoulders were up to my ears and the kids started to argue.
I turned into a howler monkey. Screaming like Jack on Will and Grace, wondering what the hell just hit me.
I came face to face with my worst enemy, and we had a face off.
bury or drown beneath a huge mass.
- give too much of a thing to (someone); inundate
I was done trying to “manage” overwhelm. Done letting it take me by surprise. Done trying to make it ok because it’s just “part of life”. I declared in no uncertain terms that Overwhelm was no longer welcome in my house or business. Banned for good.
This bold move has become a hot topic in my coaching practice. I don’t know many people who’ve got a handle on Overwhelm – especially the game changers I work with: big idea people, overachievers, rule-breakers, stressed out entrepreneurs, C-level executives, and creatives who want to make the world better.
I’m a big fan of using your emotions to serve you – to help you get what you need, connect more deeply and enjoy this ride. But I’ve never found a useful place for Overwhelm. It quite simply brings out the worst in people.
So if you’re game, let’s ban it for you too. Here’s how:
1. Ask a better question
Most often, when Overwhelm comes lurking, our brain is thinking, “How can I possibly get this all done?” We look at the big fat to-do list or the business plan and within minutes we’re paralyzed. So the minute everything starts to go into slo mo, make a choice: do you want to be paralyzed or do you want to stay on top of your game?
If your answer is that latter, it’s time to play with one of the coolest tricks I ever learned…consciously change the chatter in your head.
Instead of asking “How?” ask “Who?”
“How am I going to DO this?” will only lead to you feeling small and like the world is on your shoulders. Consciously change the question to:
“Who do I need to BE to make this happen?”
The mind can’t resist a good question. When you ask “Who do I need to BE?”, your brain will start conjuring up heroes and ultimately your Higher Self will be called to the table – s(he) can handle ANYTHING.
2. Put on blinders
Stop multitasking. Seriously. Stop it.
Some of the biggest proponents of high performance push techniques that aim to make us like computers, able to get more done in less time. When truly, we know better – multitasking makes us stressed out and compromises results.
Want to do great work? Want to be an amazing partner? Parent? Friend?
When you start to feel Overwhelm lurking, laser your focus and ask,
“What thing first?”
Look at your big list and choose the next simplest action – the one that would feel good. Do one thing that you have energy for. And if you don’t have a choice about that next thing, then still, ZERO in, become ultimately present, and focus on NOW. Do not look at what’s coming next, do not think about the past, be in the moment like you would be if you were at a birth or the 9th inning of a game in overtime.
Overwhelm simply can’t exist when you focus.
If it’s too hard at first, maybe buy some blinders. Also helpful: headphones, sunglasses, off buttons and closed doors.
3. Choose Your One Thing
If you do nothing else, make this your signature move.
Every morning, we wake up and in the face of the unexpected, all of our desires and of course, to-do lists (which I’ve also banned…more on that another time). Before my feet hit the floor, I choose ONE thing, that if nothing else happens, will make this a good day by the time my head hits the pillow.
You and I both know that we will never get everything done in a day. Never.
So why go to bed focusing on all the things you didn’t do?
Go to bed focused on the ONE thing that mattered. The ONE thing that made this day count.
Just watch, everything pales in comparison.
Some of my One Things:
- Be totally and completely present to the kids when they’re home
- Open myself to channel some serious divine guidance for my clients
- Empty my emails
- Help someone who really needs it
- Find the good reason for everyone’s behavior – even the dude that cuts me off and makes me spill my chai on the drive to school
Just the simple decision to let Overwhelm go, will make your life so much easier. One extra credit move that you can make, is to tell the people you love what you are doing. Tell them you’re over Overwhelm and ask them for what you need so you won’t chance any more run-ins with this state of being. Can you imagine how happy they’ll be to know what they can do to bring out the best in you?
Cause let’s be honest, no one really likes a howler monkey.