I got such a lovely email today from one of our loyal subscribers. She shared with me what value she had taken away from one of our monthly newsletter posts, all about finding pennies on the street. (These posts are for our subscribers only, so if you’re currently not subscribed, jump on over here: www.thedaisypatch.co.uk to sign up. We share lots of great insights, tips and resources to keep you living a life you truly love). What I loved about her email was that she had immediately taken action after reading the post. She’d applied whatever story I’d shared about my own personal life and made it make sense for what was going on in her world. And that’s where the power is.
Knowledge is great, however knowledge with action is powerful.
I know that for me the most momentum in my life has come from the times I am focused on action. No matter how big or small. When I learn something new I try to share it with someone else, explain it, put it into action, articulate it in a way that makes sense for me. As a lover of learning, I’ve always been drawn to new book recommendations, personal development workshops, webinar ads on Facebook. I want to experience everything I possibly can so that I can expand myself and live a full life. And yet at times I notice that this also is the thing that can tip me into overwhelm the most.
The trigger for me I’ve noticed is fearing that I’m not doing enough, fast enough, quick enough, to ‘be enough’. It’s often a loop of comparison that kicks in. The self-talk chatter in my head starts: “They’re going to that workshop. Maybe I should go. They’re better than me. They’re a step ahead. I could be so much better. Why can’t I do what they’re doing. They must be some sort of super human and I’m just me. I can’t fit everything in… My life is so much less than theirs…”. I think you get the picture. 😉 The point is without even noticing it, at times the chatter can take over completely, tipping me into a state of overwhelm.
Overwhelm for me can often feel like I’m frozen. I have this complete sense of dread and anxiety stuck in my chest. Like a heavy weight that won’t go. I can’t seem to make any decisions. I’m stuck. The thought of doing the next thing, whatever it may be, feels frustrating, heavy, panic-inducing even at times. There’s no grace. No flow. No ease.
Not exactly a state I want to hang around in!
What I’ve been learning over time is that this state is a choice. Sometimes I can catch it before it ‘takes over’ and I can literally change what I am telling myself. Other times I notice it much further along. That often feels more challenging for me. When I’m completely in the midst of the overwhelm tornado looking up … and I realise … hmm, I wonder what I could tell myself instead? Then it becomes a gentle coaxing. A digging in of my heels and telling my Ego: It’s okay, I’ve got this. I am good enough.
Here are three simple actions that have really helped me get unstuck, keep moving, and release the burden of overwhelm quickly:
- Each time I learn something, I do something. Reading a new book, going to a seminar, or simply learning a cool new fact from a friend will not translate into greater results in your life unless you do something with it. This helps the brain fully absorb the power of the knowledge. One of my favourite ways to do this is simply to teach or tell someone about the cool new thing. I bring it up in conversation, or tell my partner ‘hey, did you know…?’. If I’ve just listened to a podcast about productivity and the tip was to switch your phone off each night – then switch your phone off that same night.
- Noticing when I’m in ‘collecting’ mode. When my list of ‘things to do’ or ‘courses to sign up to’ starts to become a little lengthy, or when I’m constantly tuning in to TED talks and not really making progress on other activities, I realise that I might be stuck in ‘collecting’ mode. Often this can represent something deeper that’s going on, perhaps I’m avoiding a challenge or feeling incapable. These are all crumbs that add up to triggering me into overwhelm. Simply tuning in more to this and noticing when I’m in collecting mode puts me back in control to take action.
- Putting things into action. Coming full swing back to the trigger for this blog post – the beautiful subscriber who immediately took action. It doesn’t have to be big. I take lots of mini actions on days I feel most bogged down, stuck or overwhelmed. The most important thing is that I’m moving. The thing with overwhelm is the more still you stay the stickier it’ll get. So choose anything that will get you moving (physically or mentally!). Even if that means going for a walk around the block for 15 minutes.
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