Your Overwhelm is a Gift

Sitting down to write this article, I asked myself if I really had time for this today. Of course, the answer I landed on was “yes” because I’m a writer, and that’s the most important thing I do each day.

Nevertheless, I admit the thought of skipping crossed my mind; I’m overwhelmed right now with a number of important things to work on. I’m organizing a sale for the Guerrilla Influence Formula (more on that below), master planning Risk Free Business—my next big project, organizing a mountain climb for twelve people, putting the final touches on a month-long trip to Africa and Europe, and helping Chris Guillebeau get ready for the greatest conference to ever come to Portland.

If I sit down and think about it too much, I start to feel really stressed out and nervous, which makes me want to get back in bed and avoid dealing with any of it.

Then, I think about how lucky I am to have the opportunity to work on so many amazing and personally fulfilling things. I remember just how many other amazing things I’ve said no to in order to focus on this short list of overwhelming but exciting projects.

Next, I think of all the people who are overwhelmed by things they despise. I remember myself just a year ago sitting down at a desk in the suburbs at 7:00 AM to listen to phone messages I didn’t want to hear, go to meetings with people I didn’t want to talk to, and write reports that meant nothing to me and very little to anyone who read them.

I was overwhelmed in the worst of ways, and it was leading to my deterioration. Now, the same stress energizes and motivates me to find a way to get it all done and enjoy the process.

My overwhelm is a gift, and I’ve never been more grateful for the work I have ahead of me. I can complain about how much I have to do, but it’s not long before I realize just how silly that is and get back to work.

If you woke up this morning feeling overwhelmed, I recommend trying this outlook on for size. Whether you’re already doing what you love or you’re still working up to that, think of your overwhelm as a testament to the number of choices you have about how to spend your day. Think of the circumstances that brought you to such a state and all of the options you have to transform it into productive, meaningful work.

Little by little with conscious choices, you can turn work you dread into work that energizes you.  Your overwhelm is a gift, and it’s yours to do with as you please, but remember that it’s up to you. Think carefully, make the right choice, and most importantly, get to work!

Otherwise, risk spinning your wheels for an eternity.

What are you doing with your gift of overwhelm? Let me know in the comments.


Important note about next week:
On Tuesday, May 10th, Guerrilla Influence Formula—the guide that teaches writers with a world changing message how to spread their influence—will go on sale for 48 hours. Everyone will get a great deal, but for those who act quickly, the price will be extremely good (i.e., practically free).

Sign up for the newsletter to get first crack at the best price. This is a test, and I probably won’t ever do it again. If you’re interested, watch this space on Tuesday for more details about the sale.


This article was inspired by Jonathan Mead of Illuminated Mind. Image by: andres.thor