Ep 83 – Overwhelm is a Bad Habit Coaches Need to Break Now

I’m tired of overwhelm. Aren’t you?

Nothing sucks the joy out of your coaching business like that over-burdened feeling:

  • An endless to do list
  • The overflowing inbox
  • Too many learning curves to climb

I know overwhelm. I remember what it feels like to launch. It’s a project with so many moving parts and you can easily get ahead of yourself.

The truth is, most often overwhelm is a bad habit wanting to be broken. Whatever your reasons, some part of you is choosing to feel overwhelmed. It’s a choice. But it’s not a conscious choice.

Like in the story of the boy who cried “wolf”, your brain and body has been trained to perceive challenges as emergencies.

You’re actually OK, but you don’t believe that you are OK.

Now is your opportunity to teach yourself how to be conscious and not choose overwhelm.

There are 4 main reasons overwhelm occurs:

  1. Non-stop stimulation
  2. Chronic disorganization
  3. Scarcity consciousness
  4. Lack of inner resources

And, as this episode is coming out during the 2020 pandemic and the uprising after George Floyd’s murder, there’s so much pain and sorrow, fear and hope about what has and what could happen. That takes energy.

It actually means you can’t do as much as before.

Sure, you can push through but there are consequences to that and it won’t help the sense of overwhelm.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I do encourage you to keep moving forward on your business as you can. Be gentle with yourself.

These days I feel done with my day by 2:00pm. It means I’m getting less done than I used to. And with the rest of my day I need to do more to re-source.

Coach, Turn Off the Firehouse of Information

There’s so much coming into our psychic space all the time — we’re rarely without connection to global media (much of it anxiety-ridden especially right now).

So first, to rehabilitate your brain and overwhelm habit, consider a media diet a few times each week. Thoughtfully control what you watch, read and listen to.

You need mental downtime to get ready to effectively learn and grow.

Think of your brain like a basin. Information coming in is like the flow coming from a faucet. If you leave the flow on full, your brain is soon overflowing and you’re in overwhelm.

Do you find yourself signing up on lists, attending lots of free courses, purchasing too many programs?

It’s tempting, I know. But most likely it’s increasing not decreasing overwhelm.

How often are you actually implementing what’s taught in those emails, posts and programs? Most coaches cannot possibly take action on the amount of how-to information they access daily.

There’s this other habit that drives us to think it’s easier to go get more information than to implement what we’ve got in front of us already. Taking in information is passive and seems risk-free. Taking action requires taking risk.

But taking action is like the drain of the basin. It’s what makes the space for more useful information, like allowing learning to be integrated and leveraged.

Turn off your info-jones:

  • Develop the habit of mining your own wisdom, experience and knowledge first.
  • Reach only for information you need right now to inspire or take the next immediate step.
  • Integrate and implement what you learn. Commit to doing this before reaching for more information.

Taking action is also the key to beating those twin progress killers – disorganization and procrastination.

Get Your Coaching Business Organized

The key to a disorganized mind or process is so simple … focus on only one step at a time. Clear the decks. Block out your time.

Procrastination is mostly a reluctance to make decisions and take risk. There may be a place for delaying a decision in your personal life, but when you are faced with a decision in your coaching business, it’s usually best to make it quickly.

Postponing decisions creates a bottleneck which brings on overwhelm.

Here’s a confession. I make half-baked decisions in my business all the time. Mistakes, too.

It can be embarrassing, but train yourself to blow off embarrassment. You deserve to make mistakes. And in the end, the mistakes teach you something you couldn’t have learned any other way.

Is Scarcity Driving You, Coach?

Taoists say that wherever your attention goes, that’s where your life energy goes. Whatever you focus on expands.

Modern life trains us to focus on what is missing, what is not going right. Building a business redoubles that training, demanding that we fill the gaps and fix the problems in order to get results.

But if you allow your mind to become fixated on what is wrong, then overwhelm has you in its grip. Maybe you don’t believe you are enough (not good enough, not up to it). Maybe you believe you don’t have enough knowledge.

My favorite version of scarcity is “It will take so much time to do this.”

If you find yourself running this racket, the most important thing is to catch yourself in these thoughts, and consciously choose the beliefs you want to hold. No one is the master of their thoughts all the time, so be willing to repeat this process over and over. Often it helps to write it down:

  • the old tape you’re running, and
  • the powerful statement you are choosing in its place.

Then (again), move into action – one deliberate step at a time. When overwhelm starts brewing, take a five minute break from whatever you’re doing, and move away from as many sources of stimulation as you can. Do nothing else but move and breathe.

You’ll quickly come back to center, refreshed and resourced.

In the Next Episode: Are You Afraid to Ask Coaching Clients to Pay You?