I’ve been writing about it for years. I coach clients on this topic every week. I watch colleagues fizzle under its pressure. Business owners are run by it. Everyone reacts to it ungracefully. It’s running rampant in the world.

It’s called overwhelm.

Overwhelm is a perspective, not a thing that comes and gets you out of nowhere. All overwhelm is self-imposed.

Now, overwhelm is no stranger to me.

I’ve experienced it in extreme quantities in my business and my personal life. I went through several coaches who tried to have me implement time management strategies to cope with the overwhelming thoughts of all I had to do to keep my business running.

It didn’t work.

In fact, it made me more stressed. I thought, “I must really be a failure. I’m doing what my coach is telling me and I still feel like I’m going to have a heart attack.”

Guess what? The coaches’ advice only gave me half of the equation to relief.

No strategy in the world was going to kill off the feeling of overwhelm if I didn’t change my beliefs about what “had” to get done. I also had to look inside myself to see what I thought made up my definition of business success.

Some of the beliefs I had to chuck out the window were:

  • Before I leave on a trip, the entire house needs to be cleaned.
  • My success hinges on being able to check off everything on my to do list.
  • I have to have a “perfect” website in order to attract ideal clients and reach my targeted income.
  • I have to attend every networking meeting and follow up on every lead, even if I don’t want to.
  • I must read all of the latest business and personal growth books and attend seminars whenever possible in order be successful.
  • If the big dogs in my industry do something, I must follow their lead, even if it’s uncomfortable.
  • When having a party I have to have a theme, make at least a dozen dishes, have fabulous party favors and really WOW my guests.
  • I HAVE to make several types of cookies, wrap them in elegant packaging and hand deliver to ALL of my friends that I don’t buy gifts for during the holidays.
  • I must buy everyone I love gifts for their birthday and holidays so that they know how much I appreciate them.

Phew! I’m overwhelmed just thinking about all the things I used to believe! No wonder I was having a hard time.

The surefire way to break the habit of overwhelm—and it IS a habit—is to focus on the essence of the desired end result and create strategies for flow. For instance, I used to go to networking meetings to get new clients. The essence of what I wanted was to meet new people and attract clients that I loved. Were there other ways to get that outcome without attending several meetings and cold-calling leads? Of course!

I decided to only attend my favorite meeting and followed up on warm leads only. I loved the networking group I chose and felt no pressure to be a hard sell. I ended up coaching many of the group members over the years as a result. I even threw away a six-inch stack of leads that had been sitting by the phone for months which made me feel like a procrastinating loser.

Then I let go of the belief that networking needed to be my main avenue of attracting clients. Once I did that, they came in by the bucket load from referrals and my website.

Trusting that you’ll get your desired outcome without being attached to a specific process or strategy to make it happen will ease overwhelm in a jiffy.

Investigate what beliefs, actions, and habits are creating your state of overwhelm. Notice what triggers your overwhelm. Then begin creating new rules about what it means to be a success.

If I’m enjoying what I’m doing, with no pressure, I’m a success. Period.

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''If I’m enjoying what I’m doing, with no pressure, I’m a success. Period.'' -Jeanna 💖
Louise Crooks
Thanks for this Jeanna. I feel and do a lot on your list of beliefs! Definitely time to take stock. It’s interesting because when I reflect on this, there are core fear drivers behind those beliefs, so looking at what it means not to do those things is going to be an interesting exploration. Thanks for doing all you do and being all you be Jeanna.
Jeanna Gabellini
Christopher- Well said. I agree 100%. Most of us need to lighten up a wee bit. And then a wee bit more. And more and more. In fun, Jeanna
Heck I'm overwhelmed with love, I get it, love everyone and be sad cause of all the pain an troble they seem to have. Or maybe you can guess my game, there is nothing to it. and nothing can ever be removed from existance or added to it. We fool ourselves an then many times forget that no matter what you get, have, or do it will never stay the same and will always seem to end. I say seem to because that's all it is, just like overwhelm people forget that life is temporary. You will never get everything wrong or right the fun is in the challenge an the day to day amusements, You can find anything you like anywhere you want to find it, if you know what your looking for. Heck I must be magic like people think or something, LOL but then we both know this is not really what it seems to be is it? The only thing wrong is that we think there is something wrong. What if it's perfect, and we can play around all we want to an not worry about anything except how we may feel looking back at our own actions, and nothing will ever really go wrong an no one will ever really get hurt. What if? Won't we feel silly to find that we made it all up?