5 steps from overwhelm to clarity

little_mermaidOverwhelm has plagued me since my first day at my first job. I was a mermaid at Marineland, and I stood in my damp concrete dressing room under the fish tank I called home, and hyperventilated. I had to get that cold wet costume on (those shells there, that tail there), clean my breathing tube, review which creatures to avoid, which I could pet, put in eye drops, make sure the sharks had been fed, and then smile. And wave. I was sixteen and I had my first job and I was overwhelmed. I started my next job, as a trail leader on a dude ranch, and felt the same sensations.

Looking back, I think, I had no clue what real overwhelm is. But it was real. As real as it felt when I walked into my office this morning and saw the piles of files, the impossibly long To-Do list, and my overflowing e-mail inbox. I am overwhelmed! I cried daily.

I've been living my life in overwhelm since my first job and I've about had enough of it.

The Biz Diva heard my wail across the miles. And she has the solution. Really. It's not that complex, but as you may have guessed, she's got a different spin. She's not going to tell you to get these tools, or try that system.

The Biz Diva says, Forget what you're thinking. What are you feeling?

Ready to experience a little clarity?

Step 1: Identify the sensation in your body. Most often when you’re stuck in overwhelm, the feeling that you're having is self-judgment. You’re feeling bad about yourself, not good enough. What you hear from your internal voice is: “If only if I was [smarter, better, your judgment here] I wouldn’t feel this way.”

Once you've identified your judgment, discover curiosity, wonder about that voice—who is it? where did it come from? are the words true? Also, open to the possibility that the outside world does not determine how you feel.

Step 2: Locate the discomfort in your body. Identify it, feel it, stay with it. It's not pleasant, but it's not going to kill you. You must experience it; all those judgments and that sense of overwhelm, all exist to protect you from experiencing this discomfort. You don't need it.

Step 3: Trust your intuition. Let your brain chatter recede to background noise. Stay with your feeling, even if it is difficult or painful. Ride the wave.

Step 4: Ask for help. Asking for help is a great way to come out of isolation, allow yourself to be vulnerable, be real, and to establish meaningful relationships.

Step 5: Look for the "aha" moment when you feel clarity in your body. You have them all the time. Now pay attention!

It's hard to believe, but if you take the time to do this, you can stop the overwhelm in its tracks. And at the same time, you'll learn about that voice that tells you you're not good enough. At first, you'll feel that yucky feeling, and it will be hard to stay with. But then it gets familiar, and you realize it is just a feeling and its not the end of the world.

Since I started using this practice, I haven't had one day stuck in overwhelm.

Ready for your life to change? Need more support than this post? The Biz Diva is the perfect counselor to help you out of overwhelm. One-on-one or attending one of her upcoming courses, you will learn the skills to lead you out of the stress and into clarity. You can call her at (707) 823-1602, or e-mail her at cynthia@bizdiva.biz.

This program was designed by Cynthia Riggs, the Biz Diva, and Roberta Ryan, the Business Coach. (link to her site)