Thursday, April 23, 2009

Personal Growth & The "O" Word: "Overwhelm."

Have you ever said "I'm so overwhelmed!" I used to say it a lot, and I am sure it was utterly justified, however, this is what I have learned about talking about it:

It actually makes it worse.

One day I was talking to a dear friend about the state of my very justifiable overwhelm, and then I OUTLINED in great detail all the many lists of things I had to do. I have to tell you, afterwards, I just felt depressed. It certainly didn't inspire me to get to what I needed to do. I just wanted to go to sleep. Talk about NOT being fired up!

No question overwhelm is a major energy drainer. But I previously viewed feeling overwhelmed as a time management issue (and some of it is) but I was startled, when she said to me, “Oh, please stop giving me the litany.” Litany? “The long list,” she responded. “If you stopped doing that, you’d feel a lot better, and get more done.”

What! How insensitive of her! Then I thought, "I have been teaching for years that what you focus on expands. Whatever you give your attention to invites it in." Hmmm....that means the more energy you give to being overwhelmed, ..well, the more overwhelming everything becomes!

I began to realize this was beyond Time Management - it was Self Management. I had to start by eliminating talking about my frustrations all the time, giving my problems all this energy and attention.

Since every month of my Mastermind Network is devoted to a specific topic, this was this month's subject. One group made a membership vow to eradicate the word “Overwhelm” from their vocabulary! It has proved to be more challenging than they thought.

What can we say instead? Here are some thoughts:
“I have some challenges.”
“I need to prioritize where to take immediate action.”
“I am making choices.”

In other words, shifts from being a victim of “too much to do,” to being pro-active, prioritizing, and making decisions about what works for you. That’s much more empowering!
Of course, this really is a deeper issue. Overwhelm is also a control issue, but that’s for another day.

Let me hear YOUR experiences with the "O" word!!