Three simple secrets that make all the difference

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One of my biggest complaints about being in business for myself is the feeling of overwhelm. It’s not uncommon for me to wake up in the middle of the night thinking about my business.

Just the other night I found myself wide-awake at 2:00 am. I just lay there thinking about my large To Do List.

This got me feeling stuck. Confused. Ashamed.

My old friend “Overwhelm” kicked in – once again.

Fortunately, things looked different the next morning as I rolled over and saw the sun bouncing off the trees outside my window.

At my core I know that most of the overwhelm I experience is made up in my mind.

And I also know I’m not alone. For fun, I did a quick internet search on small business overwhelm and learned that MOST entrepreneurs experience this.

What I know for sure is that it doesn’t matter if you have it all figured out. The vast majority of us don’t. What’s important, though, is to remain in the game when overwhelm creeps in.

The following three tips help me remain focused and on task. And I share them with you in hopes that they will serve.

Flip Chart and Post-It.

These days there are endless online resources for calendars, tracking tools, etc. For me, I prefer to go “old school.”

I track my thoughts and tasks on large flipchart paper. As soon as I do this, it starts to make them real. When I get an idea, or create a specific task, I first write it on a Post-It and then attach it to a flipchart sheet. The end result is a large sheet of paper with a crazy amount of Post-Its attached. It’s a parking lot of sorts, and it helps keep me organized. When a task is completed, I simply remove the Post-It.

I’m such a random personality-type that this method really works for me. My ideas are parked on the sheet so they won’t be forgotten, and I simply scan the Post-Its and focus on whichever one jumps out at me next.

Shake it up.

When things get really bad, I step away from my desk and shake up my environment a bit – and go for a jog. This works wonders for me. And it’s when I tend to think the most clearly, and when most of my creative ideas occur. I make it a habit to jog with my phone so I can record my thoughts as they come to me. Now I’m not suggesting that you take up jogging, but I do suggest that you shake up your environment.

Remember your allies.

You have allies all around you. Lean into them and ask for help. You can’t do it alone. At times, it seems like it takes a village to keep me going (LOL): my business coach, my partner, and my therapist. Get the support you need. For me, it’s quite freeing to know that I can lean into a small group of intimate allies when needed.

You are worthy of a life even greater than you can imagine. Dare to dream it. Dare to live it. Dare to Play Your Bigger Game.

What works for you when you get stressed or overwhelmed? I‘d love to know.




  • Susan gleeson Reply

    Hi Rick, 3am is when I am most likely to wake up and experience overwhelm. I use something called the proprioceptive writing technique, a technique that Christiane Northrop uses, and by the end of the 22 minutes of writing I have always gotten clearer and calmer and was able to get back to sleep.
    If anyone would like to explore this technique it is described in the book Writing the Mind alive by Linda Trichter Metcalf and Tobin Simon.

  • Rev. Andrea Reply

    I listen to an Abraham hicks recording, or I go for a walk, commune with spirit, meditate or take a nap to recalibrate. I love the idea of doing stick it in notes but I need to find notes that actually stick! I guess I need to make a trip down to Staples because most of the ones I have just fall off within a day or two. I’m going to check out the idea of, writing my mind as well.

  • Dean Regan Reply

    First off, thanks for returning to Sunday mornings with your wisdom. I’ve missed you.

    When an idea is represented before my very eyes — like your flip chart with “multi-colored trigger notes” as I like to call them — it makes it more present in my life. EVEN if it sits untouched for more hours than I’d like. Wrapping my self around myself in yoga is the “new environment” that always does it for me (unless I can’t quiet my “stinkin’ thinkin'” and then I have to go for a brisk walk with music playing). The “allies” aspect is tricky for me. Most of my allies love me so much that no matter what I do they will … well … love me and more than that “let” me go on whatever way I like. The “focusing allies” that I find are an important part of the journey. They help me with accountability. Accountability to myself and others is the key aspect that I’m embracing right now.

  • Lynn Young Reply

    Yup, SO know what you’re talking about! Really, it boils down for me to “do SOMETHING.” (Except perhaps eat a pint of Ben and Jerry’s Cherry Garcia). THX for normalizing the overwhelm——cuz I sure can also fall into shame spiral with the best of them——and pointing towards the life force juice of in-the-game living! Kinda like seeing the overwhelm (yup, hurdle sure enough) and then leaping right over it!

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