Ahhh overwhelm. It's that moment in time where you feel stuck. Where there is so much going on you don't know where to start.
The stories that play inside our heads are ones that sound like:
"I have too much to do. I'll do it (the important thing) tomorrow."
"There are no jobs out there."
"I don't have time to develop knowledge about new topics, ideas, and legislation"
"I'm not experienced enough for that role"
"It's faster to do things than to train others to do it"
The problem with overwhelm is that it holds us back from getting what we want, achieving what we can, and doing what we need to do. It stops us in our tracks and bogs us down. In essence, it is self-sabotage. The worst part about it is that it is usually founded in fears that we hold inside. Fears that stem from messages we heard all our lives and God knows where else. And if we don't do the work to understand the underlying fears, we will never truly get past the overwhelm.
You aren't alone. We all feel overwhelm, even the senior most executives that I coach.
The game changer, though, is what do you do when you feel the overwhelm. How do you deal with those thoughts, stories, lies, beliefs, and assumptions?
Here's a tool that can help.
I recently learned it in a Marketing Mastery Program in which I am participating. The tool was introduced to us by our facilitator and mentor Robert Middleton and was developed by Byron Kate (www.thework.com).
It's really a simple 6-step process that starts by telling the truth about your current mindset and then challenging whether it is true or not. You have to be honest or the process will not work.
First choose the story that you tell yourself when you feel overwhelmed. For example:
"I don't have the experience to lead this team."
Next ask yourself the following questions.
1. Is this thought true?
Answer with yes or no. If you answered yes, respond to the second question. If no, go to the third question.
2. Can you absolutely know it's true?
3. How do you react when you believe that thought?
Think about your behaviors, thoughts, and feelings and who you are when you have that thought.
4. Who would you be without that thought?
In other words, if that thought or story was impossible to think, how would you do things differently?
5. Turn that thought around to its opposite.
A turnaround thought would be, "I do have the skills, knowledge, and abilities to be a strong leader."
6. Now ask yourself if the turnaround is as true or more true than the original thought.
The People-first Bottom Line: We all feel overwhelm, but what we do with the overwhelm is what matters.