Go back to the last time you felt completely overwhelmed. It may be when communicating with someone close to you, thinking about your financial situation, work relationships, or even figuring out a routine for yourself. It gives me great delight to share a simple tip that, if practiced, will have a significant impact on every area mentioned above.
The tip is to simplify every situation and problem and go back to what you know works for you. A lot of the clients I am coaching struggle with becoming overwhelmed at whatever they are focusing on. The problem with this is that our mind then carries us away to worst-case scenarios rather than allowing us to focus on what we need to to move one more step forward. Momentum is vital to any activity! If you find you are losing or have lost forward momentum the first thing to do is to stop. Next, you need to begin moving in another direction.
Think about a tug-of-war for a second. I remember being involved in these contests when I was in school. Have you ever watched one of these contests? It is fascinating! One team will have some momentum and everything looks great and the, all of a sudden, they begin losing momentum and you can see it on their faces. Fear begins to set in as they slow down to a stop. The other team now has the momentum and their faces have gone from scared to hopeful. They begin driving their feet more and their faces become confident. This can go back and forth a few times (especially with kids and people simply having fun at a community event). While strength is somewhat important and weight is also important, the most important factor in winning the tug-of-war is to keep moving your feet. The answer is not complex… if each member of the team moves their feet they will most likely win the contest. It is only when fear sets in and people begin focusing on ‘not losing’ by setting their feet in the ground that they start losing even faster. I experienced this in high school when I played american football and rugby. When locking heads with someone or tackling someone I consistently won when I was the one driving my feet… simple!
Overwhelmed at work? It depends what you do, somewhat, but begin focusing on just one thing you need to do for the next 30 minutes or even 5 minutes and you will begin building momentum in the right direction. Before you know it you will have accomplished much more than you thought you would when you were overwhelmed.
Overwhelmed with finances? When was the last time you simply stopped and paid the next bill and worked harder at your job to make sure you are valuable and making money and growing?
Overwhelmed in a relationship? Sit down for even 5 minutes with the individual and listen to their heart. Don’t listen to simply their words, but work to understand the emotions behind the words. I was at a wedding on Saturday and there was some great food. I’m gluten intolerant and when I was about to take a bite of something that obviously had gluten in it my 5 year old son said in a strong voice: “Daddy, that has gluten in it! Don’t eat it!” When he said this he looked angry. My response? I asked him if he was scared and he said ‘yes’. He was concerned that his dad was hurting himself and fear came up that he reacted to with anger. By connecting with him for a few seconds our relationship was put in a great place and we had a fantastic evening.
Frustrated with over eating or not losing weight or getting out of an exercise routine? What is one thing you can do today for your health? Maybe instead of getting back to you insanity max 30 CDs you can go for a walk. While this doesn’t solve all your problems, it begins moving you in the right direction.
Struggling to maintain a routine that will set you up for success each day? Start by simply waking up at the time you want to wake up at for a week. Then add one of the things you want to do, but in a small amount (just after waking I will read a helpful article or focus on my goals for just 2 minutes). You begin building momentum even as soon as you stop to think about this tip and then, before you actually understand what is happening, you are building stronger momentum.
I could give examples for a while, but I want to simply remind you that the key to all this is going back to some basic thing you already know. For my coaching clients it is often as simply as making sure if they do nothing else in a day, at least they are reading and visualizing their goals repeatedly that day. It is often enough to break out of a slump and I practice this consistently with myself.
Finally, I want to encourage you to get in the habit of stopping whatever you are doing when you see yourself off-track. Human beings will typically continue down a path even if it is leading to a terrible place simply because we have momentum in that direction. Remember that you have a choice over your next activity in the day and in life in general. It is always better to stop and begin moving in a direction that will help you, no matter how small the first step, then continue in negative momentum. You have a choice! Make a choice, even this minute, to do something that will build positive momentum and, just as importantly, help build your confidence to do what will give you great results.