5 Prompts to Shift Overwhelm

We can be our own worst enemies. STOP IT!  😉

Are you facing big deadlines or big challenges…  followed by even more big deadlines and challenges?  (I hear you, arts colleagues!)

Each day can begin with clarity on how to tackle your to do list, and then… stuff happens.  And, it is all important (at least to someone), and it all needs to be taken care of.

With enough life experience, perhaps having weeks of feeling defeated and overwhelmed feels like a normality of business. For many, leading during COVID has amplified and exacerbated the situation.  

It is understandable to feel defeated in the constant face of changing protocols, having to make decisions and projections without the benefit of trends or relevant experience to draw upon, constant scenario planning, and having to be involved in what feel like details and day to day tasks vs more strategic and big picture thinking. 

Interestingly, none of these external forces, in of themselves, cause our suffering.  Its not our bosses, or our boards, or a difficult team member, or a pandemic.

What is the cause of our suffering? Our thoughts, assumptions, and feelings that we choose in reaction to them.

In addition to the actual situation you encounter, do you hear a voice in your head saying things like:

  • I should be able to figure this out
  • All my deadlines are non-negotiable
  • People are going to think I’m not doing a good job
  • This is just what my industry/role is like
  • If I had more x, y or z, it would be better
  • I don’t want to make mistakes
  • I can’t ask/charge for/do that
  • People don’t value me
  • People don’t have the same work ethic I do
  • I just need to buckle down and power through it
  • If I work hard enough, it will be noticed, and things will change
  • People rely on me to know what to do (and I don’t know).  I feel like an imposter.

If these voices are loud, I guarantee that no matter what time-management system you use, no matter how many massages you get, or power poses you do, or for that matter how many new jobs you take… you’re not going to be able to find the joy and ease – and thus the REAL impact on others you want to have.

The good news:  how we view our situation is a choice. You get to create strategies that will let you move through even the most challenging situation with grace, gratitude and grounded-ness (and often joy).  This is important not only so you feel better, but also so you can have the impact you are meant to have on others.

There’s a big caveat, however.  I don’t mean to bury your head in the sand, or disconnect, or go to the spa when there’s critical work to be done. 

We have to find the self-evidence that a new mindset is truthful, and will have benefit to those who need us. 

The challenges will still be there… and you will be better able to use your inate superpowers to tackle them. To seperate them from yourself, your identity. To enroll and engage others. To find humor and joy. 

At moments when you’re feeling overwhelmed, burnt-out, stressed, worried, etc.  Here are my 5 prompts to help discern where the “pain” is really coming from, so you can begin to mindfully look at your situation with confidence and self-compassion:

  1. What is the emotion I am feeling? 
  2. Where in my body am I feeling it?
  3. Does that feeling feel familiar?  What situation in my past did I feel that same feeling in my body? 
  4. What am I believing or assuming that is leading to that feeling?
  5. How do I KNOW that my belief or assumption is true in the present?  Might there by another possibility? Describe in detail! 

Take some time with this.  When I coach these prompts in person and in The Academy, it can take some playing and stretching to reveal these answers. The more we gain self-knowledge, the better we can create the strategies to move us forward.

As always, I love hearing from you! How you are navigating upcoming deadlines and challenges?

To your success!

Kathryn
Next Chapter Coach
Creator of The Career (Life!) Breakthrough AcademyTM

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