Summary: Do celebrations and holidays often leave you feeling overwhelmed. Here are ways to stay calm, enjoy all the festivities, and avoid being branded a Debbie/Donny Downer.
Dear Dr. Sylvia,
I get overwhelmed so easily. For example, every time I think of getting ready for a family birthday, anniversary, or the upcoming holidays, you know, the Thanksgiving/Christmas Push, I start to feel a mixture of happy and frustrated.
In the same vein, online and brick-and-mortar stores already feature the orange and black “stuff” for Halloween. And there are even reminders to get Thanksgiving ideas on the “to-do” list.
Top that off with my looming lousy fourth-quarter earnings (definitely frustrated). Thus, I want to find a friendly rock to climb under till, well, maybe till next spring.
Special occasions always make stress worse.
I know you started a Stress Mastery Facebook group, and I will join that. What else can I do to keep a positive attitude?
So that you know, I’m known as a strong male leader. Until now, I could show my reports the best way to solve problems and move on.
I’ve run out of methods to make change happen.
Some days I feel like a fraud, you know, the typical imposter syndrome.
It makes me feel like a wimp (maybe I am) to admit these days; I get overwhelmed so easily.
Need a Break
Don’t give up on yourself when stress his the hot button. Keep going!
Each day, it seems, we are all faced with new challenges. The following are three ways I would suggest looking at stress today and remaining strong as a leader.
It takes determination to stay strong when everything inside says you can’t do more. When you whine to yourself and say internally, “I get overwhelmed so easily,” and I can’t do anymore.
Train your mind just like you train your body.
- Grab a pen and track your behavior: Keep track for 3 days (yes, you can do it). Keep track of the times when you say to yourself “Oops, I messed up again. I disappointed them again. I don’t know what I’m doing.” Do this like a list. One “mess up” per line.
- Write it to Right It: After Day 3 take the list and “write it to right it!” Then, make a short paragraph (maybe around four sentences) about what you did . Then ask yourself why you think it was such a bummer to you and to others. Don’t edit, just write.
- Talk to Yourself So You’ll Really Listen: Pick the top three issues and do a redo. You only need three examples of when you say “I get overwhemed so easily.” Here you can begin to turn things around. You may need an on-line thesaurus to give you fresh words to see what you did from a new perspective.
Face it rather than use fight, flight or freeze when things go negative.
For example, here is a coaching client of mine. Like you, he is a strong and competent executive working in a mid-sized company. However, he, too, is starting to doubt his abilities in guiding his team through these turbulent times. Like you, he wants to be a more effective leader.
In his own words:
It became like the refrain from an old song. It went like this. ‘”You’re too stupid to really do anything right.” It kept going over and over in my head. I couldn’t stop it! That is until you asked me to identify the voice.
Know that YOU are not a fraud.
And after a few minutes of reflection, I realized it was my older brother’s snarky voice. We were so competitive and always putting each other down.
The big problem was, and still is, till just now, my brother. He is three years older, bigger, and always the family favorite.
When I wrote the things down, I realized that what made me feel like a loser was how I felt as a kid. It was not till you said, “Whose voice are you hearing?” that it all made sense.
I saw so clearly what I have been doing by agreeing that my brother was probably right, and I was still playing childhood games in my head.UG!!
CHANGE YOUR THOUGHTS JUST LIKE YOU CHANGE YOUR UNDERWEAR
The third part of the exercise did it!
Now I know what to do when I feel like I’m letting people down. It’s like adjusting my golf swing enough to get the ball to go where I want it to go. I found four of my go-to words. I say them over in my head till my brother’s voice becomes muted.
Then, somehow, I find more ways to solve the problems of the day.
I know you say that we should change our words like we change our underwear! Then we won’t get stuck in outdated ways of thinking. Thanks, and let others know this three-part exercise helps.”
I’m on my way to less stress and more productivity. Finally!
The Dunning-Kruger Effect and Cognitive Bias
Moreover, if you need more science, I’m adding some research that will help get you to get past overwhelm and the imposter syndrome. In psychology, the Dunning-Kruger effect is a type of cognitive bias. People with low ability tend to overestimate their own ability. And people with high ability tend to underestimate their own capabilities.
That is to say, the lack of “metacognition” prevents people from evaluating their own competence or incompetence objectively.
In conclusion, the above exercise combined with the Stress Busters 4-Module online program will help you become “meta-cool and self-aware” so you can stay calm and energized and transition from chaotic thinking to being calm, cool, and collected.
To your success,
P.S. If you need an objective perspective, contact us, and one of our coaches will be available for a free pattern- breakthrough call.