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Feeling Overwhelmed? Me Too

Today's episode is straight from the heart, I don't have a question that I'm answering. I don't have a well prepared thought through topic to discuss. I just want to have a chat really. I want this episode to be useful for you. But more than anything, this is me kind of needing you guys.

Read on for the full transcription or listen to the podcast episode here

It felt disingenuous of me to try and record an episode today about something business-y or something super practical or something super creative, because the truth is, right now, my mindset is all over the place. I am totally overwhelmed. And I thought, that's what I want to talk about on today's episode. I've always said to you guys, I didn't necessarily want a prescribed format for this podcast and I didn't don't want to put pressure on myself to ever have to talk about a specific thing. Yes, I want you to get value from it and yes, I'm here to help you on your journeys to creating careers and businesses that you love in this particular space but also, I just I really want to build a community of like minded people and this is one of those episodes where it's just me talking to you guys, as if we were here in the room together having a cup of tea.

I'm feeling feeling super overwhelmed at the moment and I think everyone is naturally, we have gone through ridiculously unprecedented times and I feel like no one really knows which way is up and which way is down. I feel like we went through a period of feeling like it was the apocalypse and everyone was gripped to the news, waiting for the next death toll update and never knowing like, what were the end was or was the end ever going to come? What does the world look like now? Will it ever go back to normal? And then a few months later, we're starting to see the world thaw out a little bit, we’re seeing businesses kind of crank back up with their marketing, we're seeing companies pivoting, we're seeing companies go out of business, we're seeing whole industries change, we're seeing the landscape of the world change, shift and priorities moving and things that were in favour or certainly not and things that weren't as popular and you know, like, for example, something so silly, but like I'm seeing so many people talk about home gyms. And you know, people hate the idea of working out at home but now all of a sudden, it's become the norm because even though gyms are starting to reopen around the world, people are just used to working out of home, they realise the cost savings benefit that they've gotten into the routine of, they found online subscriptions or online trainers that they really enjoy. It's so strange to think that our behaviour is being reconditioned throughout this time. And it's going to be fascinating from a sociology point of view to see what our behaviour looks like in a year's time or two.

I think personally where I'm coming from is, I had a really sharp and sudden drop off of work, when the pandemic hit. Every single one of my projects that was due to go into production over the the spring and the summer just either halted or cancelled overnight. And that was that was super scary, as a business owner, as someone who's invested years of my life getting to this point with my business, it was super scary to see that sharp drop off. But it also allowed me this time that I've never really given myself to kind of step back and reevaluate what was important to me and I'm sure that you you guys have had a similar experience. Maybe the reason you're even entertaining the idea of getting into this space or wanting to level up with what you're doing is because this time has afforded you to think about that. But with that, you know, it's interesting, right? Because with that we now have all this perspective and all these ideas about what the next steps are and I'm always preaching about you know, taking those steps - don't wait, just do it. Don't fear failure, that kind of thing but then you get to the point where what happens is, when you are so, so overwhelmed with opportunity and it feels like the world has thawed out and everyone's kind of getting back to normal-ish, the new normal, and all of a sudden there's opportunities left, right and centre and people are needing more online content, they're needing virtual remote solutions for their businesses, people are taking digital content more serious than ever. That's amazing, right? Because now is our time, we have all of this opportunity to go after but then what happens is, when you've gone out fishing and you end up with 10,000 fish trying to peck at your one rod? I don't know fishing, I'm not sure why I went with that analogy but do you know what I mean?

I feel like it's a really strange thing to be thinking about, because this is the nature of business full stop. It is literally feast or famine. It's always the case with business and this is something you should know, if you are looking to go into business for yourself. It's never a lovely constant stream of work. It's always going to be shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, I've got no work, I'm looking for work, I'm gonna, I'm putting feelers out and all of a sudden, it's like - aaaah, now there's too much work, I'm overwhelmed, I've got too much to do, I'm so stressed. I don't know what to say no to, I don't want to say no to anything, I'm going to try and do as much as possible and stress myself out and burn myself out. And it's those cycles, especially when you work either by yourself or with a very small team and obviously, in those moments, you have to decide whether or not to scale up, bring in more people to help or just carry on with what you're doing.

I was thinking about this idea of overwhelm and I was thinking about how, of course, we're all feeling overwhelmed, because there's so much going on, and the landscape is shifting constantly. We're having to really keep an eye on everything and I started to think about how is best to deal with overwhelm, what's the best way to deal with it? I need this advice for myself, because I'm going through a particularly overwhelming time, at the moment, just because of the kind of stuff I'm trying to juggle, whilst also prioritise things like health and mental health and the welfare of my family and my friends and wanting to continue to put out content that's helpful and helps people throughout this time but how is best to kind of organise that overwhelm in your head? Because overwhelm is just basically, I mean - the way I think about it is just allowing multiple conversations to be happening in your head at the same time, when really, you just need to kind of shut it all out and think of the priority.

So I started thinking that if someone said to me - “Alex, I'm feeling overwhelmed. What should I do?” What would be the advice that I would give you, if you were asking that question? You listening, if you asked that what would I say?

I started thinking about this is brilliant chapter in the Four Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss, where he basically poses this one question and he says - “you should ask this question to yourself every single day, if this task is the only thing I accomplished today, will I be satisfied with my day?”

So if this is the only thing I accomplished today, will I be satisfied with my day? This comes down to having that big picture in mind, what is the goal? If you know what the goal is, you know, the direction in which you need to travel and if you know the direction that you need to travel, you know the steps to get there. And then it's about looking at all of the things that are buzzing around in your head, looking at all those tasks, all of those conversations, all of those thoughts you're having, and boiling them down to - okay, which one of these things is the priority, so that if I completed this one thing today, it would be a step in the right direction towards that goal. And when I start to think of it like that, then the overwhelm starts to quiet down, even just talking this out loud, honestly, you're probably even noticing my effect, I'm just, I'm even calming myself down talking about this.

When you start to think about what is the priority, what is that big goal that I'm wanting to go towards? I'm feeling overwhelmed. But actually, I see the big picture. What is the step? What is the one task that I could do today, that's going to get me closer to that goal?

And if you do one of those a day, eventually you'll get to that goal, you'll be treading in the right direction, and not letting overwhelm in and kind of thinking about too many things or trying to take on too much at once. Letting overwhelm in, is sometimes like trying to take four different paths to the same location. You'll just end up running around in circles, you just end up kind of coming back on yourself. You won't ever make traction, you won't fully commit to going towards that goal. Does that make sense?

So yeah, I just wanted to talk about there is no real conclusion to this right? There is no solid advice, because I just wanted to talk about the fact that I was feeling really overwhelmed today. And it felt right to do an episode talking about that because I also don't ever want to be the kind of person that puts out content that gives you some kind of illusion that I'm like, Superwoman, or something. And I do all these, these big projects and crazy things and never feel overwhelmed by it, because absolutely, I do and it's something that I'm constantly having to keep in check. My friends tell me I overthink everything and I should try and quieten those voices sometimes and I think some of that is down to again, just resetting that priority in your own head. But also not judging yourself. That's the other big component of this. Recognising that sometimes you will go through periods and you will make mistakes, and you will say yes to the wrong things, and no to the wrong things. Ultimately, you can't judge yourself, because you are only making decisions as best you can, given the circumstances, especially during these weird times, especially during times of uncertainty. You just need to take steps in the right direction as best as you can. But also always make sure that you know what the priority is. Usually the priority is yourself, your health, your mental health, the people around you that you love, making sure that they're okay. When it comes to your business thinking about well, what is the ultimate goal? And how will this thing, get me one step closer to that?

So I hope this helped some of you, maybe this was just really helpful for me to talk about. So thank you so much for listening. Genuinely, I feel like this has been a much needed therapy episode. But I hope this helps some of you out there maybe feeling the same way. And, as always, I'm always open to conversations, I would love to hear from you and to hear how you're doing and I hope you know, hopefully we can kind of build a little support network for each other.

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