That’s right! Famous biologist Benjamin Libet said, “Reality is in the mind of the observer”. Your feeling of being overwhelmed is self imposed.
I am a private pilot. This reminds me of a time I was receiving instruction in the simulator and the instructor said he’s putting a 100 mph tailwind so I could arrive at the approach point for the Santa Barbara Airport from John Wayne.
I noticed that one of my instruments was jumping all over the place. I asked him if he also put a cross wind and he told me, “No, you’re doing that with your feet on the rudder pedals”, wow, self imposed turbulence!
And that’s how it is with feeling overwhelmed, self imposed turbulence!
Let’s examine this more closely.
I had a coaching client tell me that he’s putting in 12 hour days, his kids take up all of his time on the weekends with their sports activities and he has absolutely no time for himself or for his wife. He was overwhelmed.
I did not let him stay in victim land and blame his circumstances. I brought him right back to one of our core principles, “Accountability-I am the source of all that I experience, versus going victim and blaming”.
I use what I call coaching commandments. When a person is not feeling that they are performing at their best then the first place to look at is what coaching commandments are being violated. We start at our very first commandment, “No judgment. It’s not good or bad, it just is.”
Another coaching commandment is “My lifestyle is an asset, not a liability”. Now the commandments kept rolling out as being violated. They included;
I put myself first-be selfish.
What you do speaks so loudly I can’t hear what you say.
Tell the truth faster.
What assumptions are you making?
Then this conversation led to the addition of seven additional commandments. I’ll get to those shortly.
As the conversation continued I asked my client to make a list of the assumptions that he was making. There was one overriding assumption for his business and that was that he has to get things done today. That’s just the way that it is.
We looked at the reality of his personal life and we could clearly see that he was putting his kids first, other volunteer obligations next, his wife third and himself not at all.
He also explained how he was a volunteer as the treasurer for his son’s baseball team and how that took him 3 hours of time on Friday and another 3 hours on Saturday this past week. I think I caught him off guard when I commented that he was being a fraud.
His response was, ok, you’ve got my attention. I explained that if you want to know what someone is committed to look at what they have. If a person is in a miserable relationship then they are committed to being in a miserable relationship. If someone is morbidly overweight then likewise that is what they are committed to. There are no mistakes. We are result machines.
He was fraudulently saying that he wanted to spend time with his wife yet he was involved with all of these other activities. So what is the truth?
So we added these coaching commandments;
- I put myself first-be selfish. Most people live a life of putting their kids first, their spouse second and themselves last. This results in fatigue, a feeling of being overwhelmed and resentment.
I am an advocate of putting yourself first, then your spouse and then your kids. What good can you be for others if you are not feeling good, energized and focused? It’s just like the airlines, put your mask on first and then grab your favorite kid and put their mask on. Continuing…
- Where am I in resignation-believing that I’m doing the best that I can?
- Where in my life am I settling?
Two and three are related to this question; “Do dogs love bones?” The answer is NO, they love meat, they settle for bones. My client was settling for being overwhelmed, making assumptions that this was the best that he could do and then complaining about it.
A big violation of accountability-I am the source of all that I experience! So we added another few commandments;
- What do I need to say no to?
- Because to Be/cause and opportunity is nowhere to opportunity is now/here.
- Where am I being a fraud?
- Be uncomfortable every day.
- If you want to see what someone is committed to look at what they currently have.
Now this is strong stuff. Back to the 12 hour workdays. There is something structurally wrong if you can’t get what you need to get done in normal business hours. It could be this principle, water takes the shape of the container that holds it. In other words, if he gives himself 12 hours to complete his tasks it will take 12 hours.
I’m reminded of being guilty of this as a college football coach. Our staff would come into the office for a 7:00 am staff meeting, then we’d prepare for the day’s practice, have practice, go to dinner, then back into the office until 2:00 am and start all over the next day.
On the other hand, when Terry Donahue was the coach at UCLA his staff would go home after practice, around 6:00 pm. He said that if you weren’t a good enough coach to get your work done before practice then go home to your family and come back rested the next day then maybe you shouldn’t be on his staff! Now that’s cold!
So another coaching commandment comes to the surface, “don’t complain about the dark-light a candle.” Instead of whining about how overwhelmed your are get MAD. Make A Decision.
- What do you need to say no to?
You may need to embrace coaching commandment #7. Be uncomfortable every day because you may need to say no to someone who will try to make you feel guilty for saying no. Will you stand in the face of losing their approval and stick with you no? Or will you avoid to the more comfortable position of continuing to take on the overwhelming tasks and then complaining about how little time you have? It’s a choice!
Be the cause of your life. Don’t respond to others requests and not be able to spend time with your wife because of this and that circumstance. Instead, be the cause of your circumstances. Maybe you need to hire someone else in your business. Maybe someone is incompetent and not doing their job and that is coming back to you in the form of a 12 hour day. Maybe you need to delegate or stop being a perfectionist.
Whatever it is, make a decision and stop worrying about being approved of by other people. Claim your peaceful and healthy state of mind. It really is up to you!
Most of all, tell the truth faster. Maybe you are avoiding spending time with you kids because they aggravate you. Tell the truth and stop complaining!
Now you know!