Overwhelm can happen at any time and can happen on a large scale (global pandemic), or on a much smaller scale (too much work) and can happen even when you are clear on the goal you have set for yourself (study, accreditation, new job).
When whatever is in front of you becomes too much, procrastination can set in and dropping everything and hiding away can seem like the best thing to do. Your fight/flight/freeze response can be activated when what is ahead of you feels like it’s engulfing you. Then your goal is no longer something exciting that you were working towards, and instead your brain tells you that you are under threat. The result can be putting your goals aside and bingeing everything on Netflix or more seriously, self-sabotaging to the point that you lose a significant opportunity.
So what do you do when things become overwhelming.
The first thing to do is to take a breath. Making a decision when you’re essentially in survival mode can mean that choices you make may feel like a relief in the moment but have negative consequences in the longer term. So stop and breathe.
Then ask for help. When you ask for help you immediately lighten the load. Engaging with someone who is willing to support you will help you see things from a different perspective. It will give you a chance to share what is happening for you. It will clear a pathway for you.
So often we refuse help, both asking for it and accepting it, fearing it will make us seem lacking in skills or ability. Sometimes we just can’t stand the thought of making ourselves vulnerable so instead we lock down and persevere to the point of burn out or give up all together. But as Brene Brown says, when you shut down vulnerability, you shut down opportunity.
I remember several years ago speaking to a friend who is very accomplished in her career. She has had wide recognition for her work and she is good at it. In conversation she mentioned something about the coach she worked with. I was so surprised. My friend is talented and I had made this assumption that she just had this talent and ran with it. But she talked about the help she got to really polish her work and increase her skills and that in no way meant she wasn’t good at what she did. In fact, working with a coach just made her talent shine even brighter.
It was after that conversation I found my own coach and I haven’t looked back. No matter how much experience you have in your chosen profession, there is always going to be someone who has more experience than you or a different perspective on the same situation. That other person can work with you to increase your knowledge and skills in a way that brings you more job satisfaction as well as improving the way in which you work with your clients which in turn, can bring a positive change to the experiences they have with you. You might even find yourself reaching for higher goals and exploring things you always thought were out of reach for you (this has definitely happened for me).
There is help out there, everywhere you look. Rather than running from the overwhelm, see it as an abundance of choice and then engage someone to help you go through those choices, and decide on which opportunity to grab onto first.
If you work in a helping profession, I would love to help you map out a pathway to get you where you want to go. Book HERE for your FREE 15 minute consultation or email email@example.com