Overwhelm isn’t a one-off occurrence; it happens to everyone, more than once a year. EVEN marketers!
I’ve been looking into why it happens because I wanted to understand it more, to help myself and every single client I work with and have yet to work with.
How can we overcome it quicker, so we can get traction on our marketing and feel more comfortable doing it?
Before we can understand it and how it affects us individually, we must first know what it is.
The meaning of Overwhelm
– have a strong emotional effect
– to cause someone to feel sudden strong emotion
– defeat completely
– be too strong for…
– overpowering strength or effect
Overwhelm can be physical or emotional.
It can be positive (as in overwhelmed with love and gratitude) but in most cases it’s a negative incident that can debilitate anyone, at any time for any reason.
Overwhelm is the very sense that something (or everything) is too big to manage.
It can cause anxiety, anger or make you become annoyed as well as worry, doubt yourself (including others around you) and make you feel helpless.
It can completely change your physical state and behaviour by causing panic attacks, upset, solitude and in worse cases violence.
Challenge is the pathway to engagement and progress in our lives. But not all challenges are created equal. Some challenges make us feel alive, engaged, connected, and fulfilled. Others simply overwhelm us. Knowing the difference as you set bigger and bolder challenges for yourself is critical to your sanity, success, and satisfaction. – Brendon Burchard
Stress and Anxiety are the biggest causes of overwhelm!
Stress vs Anxiety, how to Tell the Difference: https://www.psycom.net/stress-vs-anxiety-difference
What is overwhelm?
Being overwhelmed is your body’s way of defending and protecting you from crashing. It is telling you something and to be fair, you should listen. However, most people just battle through until they cannot move at all, which can come out in several ways;
- Being even more busy than normal
- Being clumsy and not doing anything well at all
- Or paralyses
Either way, these are not the best modes to be in when wanting to get stuff done!
Why do we get overwhelmed?
It is a normal reaction to what we would deem as a difficult circumstance which is a “future thought“.
Some people get overwhelmed with what you may feel is a small and everyday task (like dealing with finances, speaking to family, just going to work) and others get overwhelmed with tasks so stressful that we cannot comprehend (i.e. landing a rocket on the moon or fixing a fault while in space).
Everyone’s threshold is different because of our experience and exposure to various elements throughout of lives.
A lot of overwhelm happens around things that are completely outside of our control and that we are trapped within the complications of life and business.
Unconsciously, we are happy to relive these negative thoughts and feelings over and over again, until we’ve had enough and sometimes not even then.
We keep putting ourselves through this pain and reliving the experiences, but they somehow get easier to deal with over time. They become our excuses from moving forward, partially some of the stories we keep telling ourselves and the reasoning behind why we are where we are.
Some people don’t work out what their triggers are or have coping methods to help them deal with their overwhelm. They just do whatever they need to do to survive and then once the feeling and thoughts have surpassed, they can try again.
Feeling overwhelmed is a primary emotional symptom of inner passivity, while procrastination is a primary behavioural symptom.
When left un-dealt with, overwhelm can then develop into a darker state where depression, helplessness and not seeing way out. Even thoughts of suicide can take over.
How you get overwhelmed?
Let’s go back to “future thought”.
This is our impression and perspective on our own lives, our current situation and what we must do for ourselves, but more so for others. For some reason, we only look after ourselves when we’ve looked after other people first.
You may be listening to too many people; marketers, gurus, mentors and coaches who are all telling you different things or even the same thing, and you’re unsure how to tackle the situation.
You may not ask the questions you want to ask because you feel you may come across stupid, incompetent to idiotic.
We worry about what other people think, how we will be perceived, what they will say about you and want to be seen as perfect. This isn’t just about you as an individual. It’s about everything; your lifestyle, your business and the messages you are putting out there.
What to do BEFORE you get overwhelmed?
Now you know a little more about what overwhelm is, why we get overwhelmed and a few reasons behind why you may get overwhelmed, how do we stop this from happening?
I’m not sure there is a quick fix for this question, but there are a number of things you could do;
Work out what triggers you
There are two things to look at here:
- What is the trigger – is there a specific type of work, person/people, situation, environment
- How do you know it’s about to happen – you may carry out a specific act or use particular words or have a specific feeling
Overwhelm creeps up on us. All of a sudden, it’s just there, because we haven’t been aware of it. If you can make a conscious effort to be more aware of yourself, your surroundings and situation you will find your trigger.
Keep a journal if you have to but find out what triggers it off.
Stop thinking too far into the future
Future thoughts. I know we set ourselves goals, aspire for something more or bigger, need a plan and need to future proof our businesses but at the time of marketing thinking about what you need to do RIGHT NOW is the most important thought you should have.
There is a book called “The One Thing”, do not busy yourself. Get that one thing done, tick it off your list and then move to the next.
Multitasking can bring on overwhelm!
To do lists are great but they also show us how much we have to do. When you remove the need to do EVERYTHING at once and focus on the one thing, you gain clarity and are then able to move forward.
When looking at your plan or calendar, look at the week and what you need to do for that. If that’s too much, stick with the day. Obviously, depending on your role in the business depends on how much marketing you need to do and how far in advance we need to schedule.
Focusing on one thing and then something else when you have finished allows you to be in the moment but also enables you to do the first thing properly.
Little and often is better than nothing and then everything.
“The Power of Now” is also another great book.
If you need to learn how to do something, plan in a CPD (Continued Professional Development) day so you are able to take the time to learn something and do it properly first-time round.
Create Coping Methods
When overwhelm is just about to set in, you need to have a set of coping methods that you can follow to bring you back down and refocus you.
One of the things I do in the office when overwhelm starts creeping is the process I discovered after I became aware/conscious of it;
How it manifests: I start to clean! Silly but it’s true. My desk, then the office and then…
Coping Method #1: End up leaving the office to move; walking/just get up and move around/stretch/fresh air
Coping Method #2: Get a drink (water not gin) and do something with my hands
Coping Method #3: After 10-20minutes, I come back, find paper and empty my head and I mean everything! Once I feel everything is out, I put in order of priority, so I know what my next task.
There are a few more, but they depend on the severity of the overwhelming feeling I’m having.
Yours will be different. You may add music and dance, speak to a colleague or family member, meditate to control your breathing or something else.
Getting overwhelmed with marketing happens because you believe it is a BIG task or there is so much to do.
You need to break that elephant down into smaller, manageable chunks.
But you know that already, don’t you…
The answer is simple, not easy. Nothing ever is!
The one thing I’d like you to take away from reading this blog is that overwhelm will happen. Not just with marketing. It will happen in life events, relationships, self-development and everything in between.
The main thing to do, is be aware of it so you can deal with it better than you have and quicker than before.
You already have skills in different areas of your life, maybe you just need to bring them into the marketing of the business.
Sometimes you have to stop thinking so much and just go where your heart takes you.
I want you to know you are not alone.
Being overwhelmed can be a lonely place especially if you’re a Business Owner. The buck stops with you and sometimes family and friends just don’t get why you’re feeling the way you do.
You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with… – Jim Rohan
So, my question to you is… Who are your top 5 people?
They are the ones who will lift you up when you are down, understand where you are coming from and not judge you, listen to you without interruption or try to fix things until asked to.
These people are your power team. They don’t necessarily know each other but as a combination they all work well for you!
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- Integrated Marketing Society – www.integratedmarketingsociety.co.uk
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