Hello, everybody. And welcome back to another episode of the G.R.I.T. – Give, Recognize, Implement, Time® podcast. I’m your host, Steve Nathenson, CEO and Founder of Strive For More. Today, I want to talk to you about something that I think is quite common, and that’s feeling overwhelmed. And I want to say that if you do feel overwhelmed for whatever reason that may be at the moment, you’re not alone. It’s a common thing that we all face. Whether it’s from the gravity of a situation, whether it’s from the mount of something that we have to do and how much is involved in it, whether it’s the totality of everything that we have on our plate, whether it’s work, whether it’s life.
I’ll give you the example throughout the past year and a half in the working world. We may have had 20 different things on our plate, priorities are ever changing that we’ve got 500 emails we have to deal with, and we have 10 sections that are open. Then I have to figure out how to delegate to my people, excuse me, because there’s too much on my plate, but I don’t feel comfortable doing that and I’ve got so much time that I just don’t have because I’m waking up, going to work and then I feel like I’m going to bed. And then I’m just repeating and there’s no separation or boundaries. All of that. All of that can create this sensation of being overwhelmed.
And there’s a couple other things too. We could feel like we’re inadequate. “I can’t handle this. I’m not capable of doing it. How am I supposed to do this? I don’t even know where to start. I’m lost.” Those are other things that can create this feeling of being overwhelmed. But importantly, again, it’s okay. It’s okay if you feel that way. It’s natural as human beings and you’re not alone in it. When we talk about implementing grit, we talk about implementing small steps. It’s one of the critical things that’s going to help us overcome the sensation of being overwhelmed that we’re going to get to here shortly.
But first, harking back to other parts of grit, there’s one thing I do want. At the heart of whatever’s causing us to feel overwhelmed is us. It’s our perception. Our perception of everything around us creates this sensation of being overwhelmed. And if we can change our perception, we can change the way that we feel and we can overcome being overwhelmed. But I’ll tell you that, that’s easier said than done because we often face this vicious cycle.
When we feel overwhelmed, we can feel down. We can feel frantic. We can feel like we just can’t focus. Everything’s out our control. The world is against us, and it’s not even possible for me to slow down, take a break, do one thing at a time. We get into our own heads and get overwhelmed that drives us and doesn’t allow us to take the steps that are actually going to help us. But the thing is we are capable of doing it, because again, it’s all up here. If we can control our perception, if we can see the value in taking steps that will help us, then we will actually do it.
So what does that look like? What is the solution to this? How do we overcome this sensation of being overwhelmed? One of the ways to do that is to literally slow down. Take that break. I was having this conversation earlier with two friends of mine about this exact point. Is we don’t feel it’s possible to do it, but when we slow down, when we take a step back, we create calmness, stillness, peace. We get the rest that we so desperately need. We actually are going to operate at a more optimal state. We’re going to be at our best. It’s actually going to be easier for us to handle what’s on our plate instead of getting drawn in every single different direction and feeling like we’re frantic and man…
We can actually handle it. We can actually say, “You know what? Yeah, I know how to do this calculation. Or yeah, I can make this bottle for my baby, and maybe I can make five bottles at a time and have them stored.” Instead of, “I can just do it. I have to do it just one at a time. I’ve got to get this snuck in before my meeting, and then I’ve got to get them fed and I’ve got to get them changed. And then say my wife or my husband doesn’t come home until this time and I’m on my own and I just don’t know how to deal with all of this.”
We can get overwhelmed, but if we get the rest, say sleep that we need. If we take a five minute break to walk, to calm down, to get into this peaceful state, it allows our brains to operate more efficiently and more effectively. And it’s then easier to actually do things say in 20 minutes versus say an hour. I’ll use this example that I think is fairly common. If you’ve ever just sat there and felt like you’re writing the exact same sentence for 10 minutes, chances are you’ve experienced that and chances are what helps in that moment is to step away.
To take that break, to go clear your head and then come back to it. Because when you’re in that calmer, more efficient state, you’ll be able to sit down and write that sentence and move on to the next. There is power in slowing down to go faster. So how do we do this? Often it’s up here first, in our heads, because we think again that we can’t take that step back. So if we see the value in taking that break, if we know the importance another way of saying it. It’s easier for us to actually take five minutes out of our day that may save us 30 minutes later. But I know that’s a hard thing for us to do. Knowing the importance. That’s key number one. What is taking this break really going to do and bring for me?
Now what does this break really look like? What brings you peace? That’s the question I want to leave you with today because that can help solve the problem. That can help us slow down. If I need to stop fighting with Microsoft Excel, this is a very real example for me. It may crash on me. It may crash on me five times in a minute and I may just need a break. I know in those moments I have to physically stand up, walk out of my office, and go play with my dogs because that brings me joy. It brings me peace. It helps me calm down and then come back to Excel and do it in a slightly different way that perhaps does not cause Microsoft Excel to crash because I’m trying to make it do too much.
Or another similar example, if I’m trying to figure out how to do a calculation, say in Excel and it’s not just a straightforward formula. I’ve got to figure out different ways of dealing with all the information that I have and the variables and I can’t quite figure it out. Maybe it’s time for that break, and I go run. The benefit for me in running, as I run I get more oxygen to my brain and it actually becomes more efficient and I can think more clearly. So quite often exercise is a good outlet for me that brings peace. And if I go for a 30 minute run, I’m able to think more clearly, come back in a much calmer fashion, knowing the solution. Because I put myself into a much better state that allows me to be more efficient with my time and my thought process.
And literally feed my brain the oxygen it needs to run more effectively. So this looks a little bit different for all of us, but that first step is what is in it for me because when I know that and I see the value, the importance and actually taking the small break, then I’m more likely to do that. The break, what looks like, that’s up to each and every one of us. And that’s where knowing what brings you peace comes into play, where there’s playing with your dogs, whether it’s going for a run, whether it’s just a walk outside and physically getting away from screens.
Whatever it may happen to be for you knowing that will help you clear your head, come back to a calm, relaxed state and be more efficient with your time. And it helps us alleviate this stress and this pressure that we get by feeling overwhelmed because there’s too much to do. And the beauty in all of this is once we get back to what we were doing and we actually become more effective and efficient with it and we get it done quickly, the magic really happens because now you’re physically taking action that gives you the confidence that you can do this.
You are capable of achieving what you need to achieve, and you can actually tackle everything that’s on your plate because you’re starting to make headway and knock out the tasks that you have. So we can take this vicious cycle, and we can overcome it, and we can really create this very efficient, effective cycle that allows you to achieve what you achieve by taking small steps, seeing the value, seeing the importance, knowing what brings you piece to overcome being overwhelmed.
So I hope that you enjoyed today. I hope that this gives you some guidance, some tips, some tidbits to get over what’s really common and that we all face. I literally use these techniques as we’ve discussed in this episode to the best that I can. And the recognition of when I need to take that out is another piece. Whether it’s frustration, whether I need something to eat, whatever triggers it for us that can also let us know. “Okay. Yep. You know what? I need that break. Here’s what’s going to help me today. It’s taking that walk, going for that run, taking a step back, and I know that’s going to be more efficient when I come back.” So until the next time, be the movement in your life.
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