To avoid feeling overwhelmed, consider which version of you is showing up. Some days we start out and the you that shows up is the focused, motivated, energized, action-taking you. And some days the you that shows up is the unfocused, unmotivated, lethargic, non-action-taking you.

And when we recognize this in advance, we can do a couple of things. One is to say, okay, I don’t really like the me that showed up today. You know, can I get myself in gear? Can I take some sort of action? Can I get myself motivated? Or will I at least take the next step?

Will I take one small step in the direction of accomplishing what I’ve told myself and others that I intend to do?

David: Hi, and welcome to the podcast. In today’s episode, co-host Jay McFarland and I will be discussing the topic of how to avoid getting overwhelmed. Welcome back, Jay.

Jay: Hey, David. It’s great to be here, and this is such an important topic, especially for the entrepreneur. There are so many different things going on, and you know, oftentimes you have to be the front office, the back office, you have to fulfill the orders.

I mean, there are just so many things, and keeping track of it can be very difficult.

David: It can. And before we even really dive in too much, I just want to point out, first of all, we are not experts in the mental health field at all, right? So if you’re struggling with actual mental health issues, this is not the podcast to listen to.

But if you’re in sales or marketing or business ownership, or just dealing with the day-to-day and occasionally feeling overwhelmed, that’s what we’ll be talking about. If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed or stressed in business, that will be the discussion at hand today. And yeah, as you were saying, Jay, I mean, most of us have this situation at one point or another when you’re in business, particularly when you’re in sales, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed on some days.

It’s like, oh, I don’t feel like making the calls, or I’m struggling with this, or I’m struggling with that. And just that thought alone can stop some people in their tracks and cause ’em to not move forward.

Jay: Yeah. I think first of all, it’s important to tell people it’s okay to feel overwhelmed. I mean, that’s the reality for most people.

But if that feeling becomes a stress paralysis, like I’ve experienced, like there are so many things going on. I don’t know which one I should be focusing on, so I end up doing less instead of more. That can really be damaging to your business.

David: It absolutely is. And what I find is that in a lot of cases, the things that cause us to feel overwhelmed is when we focus on all the different things that we have to do or all the different things that have to be done. And the fact there are too many things coming at us at once. And it’s this habit of looking at everything as opposed to looking at the one thing or the next thing that I can do, which would actually allow us to move forward.

And that I’m sure sounds very simplistic, and to some degree it is. But when we’re struggling with that, a lot of it really becomes about our focus. How tightly can we narrow our focus so that we can actually concentrate on doing just one thing?

What’s the one, tiny, next thing I can do to move forward so I don’t just give up?

Jay: Yeah, and a lot of people I think, sometimes want to give up. But I think it’s really important to do some work in advance here.

If you don’t have a list or a plan that talks about all of those things that need to be done and maybe prioritize them.

If you don’t have that done, then it’s going to be very hard, like you said, to say, what is the one thing I should be doing right now? Because you haven’t taken the time to plan ahead and even know, so, then it becomes “the squeaky wheel gets the grease,” right? And sometimes that squeaky wheel is just the last thing that you should be doing.

David: Yeah, that is exactly true, and it happens to probably all of us at one point or another where there are a lot of things to do, and as you said, whatever’s making the most noise, whatever’s rattling our cage at the moment gets done when in actuality, that might be something that either shouldn’t be done at all, or it should be something that should be prioritized or deprioritized to move down farther on the list.

I think it’s also important to understand that all of us have good days and bad days. And whenever we make life-altering decisions on bad days, it’s usually not a good outcome. So part of it also is just recognizing when we’re having the kind of days where we are feeling overwhelmed when we’re feeling like things are too much, and then maybe just sort of holding off on making big important decisions until we feel like we’re in better control of our thoughts and our direction and our focus.

Jay: So I think what you’re really talking about, this pre-planning and being aware of how you feel, it’s self-awareness. And I think that may be one of the hardest skills to master is understanding at all times how you feel and are you prepared to do something. Often, even that bad day, as you said, is going to send us in a certain direction and the next day we’re going to regret it.

And that’s what we’re trying to avoid. Right?

David: Yeah, because what also happens is that a lot of times when we give into these feelings, if I’m feeling overwhelmed and I say, okay, well I’m just not going to do that. I’m going to bail out on this and I’m going to bail out on that. Right? What we’re doing essentially is we are programming ourselves to be able to do less, to be able to perform less, to be able to tolerate less.

And each time we do that, it can really become a downward spiral because now instead of saying, okay, I’m feeling a little overwhelmed, but what’s the one thing I can do? What’s the one action I can take on this particular project to keep this important thing moving forward? If we just give up on that or any other project that is important to us, we are training ourselves to do that going forward.

Because the more we get used to and the more we create a habit of bailing out on things that make us feel a little uncomfortable, the less likely we are going to be able to do anything like that going forward, which is absolutely harmful if the goal is personal and professional growth.

Jay: Yeah, such a great point.

And for me, one of the tricks I learned, and I learned it from my mom, is sometimes when you feel like you can’t do anything or you’re stressed, just do something very small. I remember when she was really stressed about something and instead of sitting there and just stewing in it, she’s like, I’m going to vacuum.

You know? And to me, getting the vacuuming done provided a sense of forward movement and the feeling of productivity will often feed more productivity. But sitting there doing nothing that’s just going to feed doing nothing.

David: Yeah. And a lot of that I think is about getting out of your head and getting into your body, right? Getting into any kind of movement, taking action is almost always better than just, you used the word stewing, you know, stewing in your own brain and churning stuff over and over again, that’s only going to make you less efficient, less effective, less productive. And we need to avoid that at all costs.

Jay: Yeah, I totally agree. In fact, one of the things that I did, because I realized that I suffer from this kind of stress paralysis, is I made a list of little things that I could do. Because I realized my mood, as you said, really determines what I want to do. So sometimes blocking out your schedule is very important, and I think it depends on your personality, whether or not that works for you.

But for me, I found, well, I’m going to make a list of things that I can work on and my mood kind of dictates the thing that I’m going to focus on in that minute. Now I have the type of work where I can do that, other people don’t. But that has been very helpful to me so that I can just get that moment of productivity in. And then I feel good about myself and now I can go on to other things.

David: Yeah, and I think the whole idea of taking action based on our feelings, that by itself is a privilege that not everybody has. Like you were talking about, if you have a particular job and you are required to do things, then you may not feel like it, you may not be in a great mood, you may feel unmotivated, you may feel overwhelmed, but in order to keep that job, you have to continue to take action and move forward.

And I don’t think that’s a bad thing for people who even aren’t in a situation like that. Those of us who do have a little more control over our schedules should probably not use that ability to take our own power away from us by giving in, by yielding to whatever negative feeling or whatever negative temptation it is that we have, whether it’s the temptation to give up or give in, or eat an entire chocolate cake or whatever your temptation is. Now we’re veering into other territory, but I think that sometimes people look at overwhelm in business as being separate or different than any other type of either not wanting to do something or wanting to do something.

But ultimately it boils down to, you know, what are you committed to? What have you said you are going to do? What are you planning to do? And if you are continuing to take action on that stuff, then you’re honoring your own stated goals. And when you stop taking action on your own stated goals because you feel, whatever, overwhelmed or tired or exhausted, or whatever the words are, you just continue to disempower yourself.

Jay: Yeah, disempower. That’s a great word for it. What comes to mind for me when I’m in these modes is sometimes I tell myself, “fake it until you make it.” You know, just like you said, because if I’ve got something scheduled and I don’t feel up to it, but I’ve got to be there because it’s my responsibility, then fake it until you make it.

And oftentimes you find that because you know, you dreaded it ahead of time, but then when you’re in it, it feels right and you’re making progress and you’re moving your business along, and then afterward you feel good that you did it. So sometimes that philosophy is all you need to move forward.

David: Yeah. And recognizing which you is showing up on any given day. Because some days we start out and the you that shows up is the focused, motivated, energized, action-taking you. And some days the you that shows up is the unfocused, unmotivated, lethargic, non-action-taking you.

And when we recognize this in advance, we can do a couple of things. One is to say, okay, I don’t really like the me that showed up today. You know, can I get myself in gear? Can I take some sort of action? Can I get myself motivated? Or will I at least take the next step?

Will I take one small step in the direction of accomplishing what I’ve told myself and others that I intend to do?

I think I’ve quoted this a number of times on the podcast. I just think it’s such a great one. Dan Sullivan from Strategic Coach said basically, success in life boils down to three things. Show up on time, do what you say you’re going to do, and say please and thank you.

The third one’s nice. The first two, showing up on time and doing what you say you’re going to do is so critical. And very often people will not do the second one.

They won’t do what they said they were going to do because their feelings got in the way. It’s like, well, I don’t feel like it, or I feel overwhelmed that I just can’t. I can’t bring myself to do it.

And again, when we tell ourselves that, and when we yield to it, when we give into it, we’re done.

Jay: Yeah, that’s exactly right. And all progress stops. It’s a great discussion today. How can they find out more?

David: Well, you can go to That’s Schedule a call with my team or myself and we’d be happy to go through this with you.

A lot of people need focus. They need next steps and next steps and next steps because when you have that, it really does eliminate the overwhelm as long as you’re willing to take the next small step.

I had someone who was going through one of our courses and he was struggling with some stuff, and he was saying, well, you know, to be in your course, you know you have to give 110%.

I’m like, no, you don’t. You just have to be willing to take the next step. I said, like, the next lesson that you’re up to in the course is five minutes and 50 seconds long. Right. Go through the video, ask your questions below. That’s it. Just do that. You don’t need 110% motivation to do that. All you need to do is you need to be willing to follow through on your commitments and take the next step.

So if you’re interested in a next step,, we would love to have a call and help you with whatever it is you’re struggling with in your business right now.

Jay: Yeah, it’s great. I think the whole message of this podcast is just take the next step. David. It’s great talking to you.

David: Thanks. You too, Jay.

Are You Ready to Say Goodbye to Overwhelm?

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