Coach Carlene

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When we are stressed and anxious we usually fall into one or more behavior traps that keep us stuck. We repeat these things over and over. Most of the time we don’t even know we are doing these things. They have become our habit and our way of protecting ourselves.

These are the most common go-to behaviors when our anxiety is triggered and what you can do instead.

1. PROCRASTINATION

Procrastination is a way of avoiding the thing that is stressful for you. This keeps you from doing the things you want and need to do and you likely beat yourself up for procrastinating. 

What to do instead:

When your procrastination has been triggered, ask yourself, “What am I avoiding? Can I avoid it forever or will I have to do it eventually?”

Most likely, you’re going to have to do it at some point.  You get to choose if you step into this zone of being uncomfortable now or later. Choose now so you can get it over with and you can stop thinking and stressing about it.  

If you are second-guessing yourself and you’re not sure what your first or next step is, talk it out with a friend or co-worker. The fear of “I don’t know what to do” can be solved quickly.

Now go do the darn thing! You got this!

2. WORRYING 

When you feel anxious, you think about everything that can go wrong. You stay stuck in the worry and cannot take action. 99.9% of the things you are worrying about will never happen. It feels so huge in your head though. Worrying creates stress in your body and leads to full blown anxiety. Do you wake in the middle of the night worrying about things? It’s so frustrating, isn’t it? 

The fact is, that never, ever, ever has a problem been solved by worrying.  

Here’s how to break the worry cycle:

Ask yourself, “What do I have control over?” Then decide what action you can take in that space of control. Worrying is NOT an action. 

Once you see there is something you can do, go do it! There is nothing more powerful over our minds than taking action and proving all our worry thoughts wrong. 

3. PERFECTIONISM 

Did you know that perfectionism is the greatest form of procrastination? It helps us avoid the things that make us anxious. Perfect does NOT exist, which means you will never finish that thing you’re working on. You may never even get started.

Perfectionism is a trap, fooling us into thinking that we have such high standards for ourselves and that’s a good thing. Wrong! It holds us back from learning and growing. If you’ve ever heard of the growth mindset, you know what I’m talking about. When you adopt a growth mindset you don’t think about getting it all right. You think about what is this “try” going to teach me, so the next time I “try” I’ll be smarter. 

Here’s what you can do:

When you find yourself trying to get it perfect, ask yourself “What’s the worst thing that will happen if this is B+ work instead of A+ work? Will anyone but me really notice?” Probably not. Approach each thing you are avoiding as an opportunity to learn something new. If this mindset is foreign to you, check out Carol Dweck’s book Mindset – The New Psychology of Success.

4. STRESS EATING 

When you’re feeling anxious food comforts you. Well, it comforts you in the moment. But later you most likely regret that emotional eating. We all have our comfort foods. The biggest problem with this behavior is it is such an auto-pilot response we don’t even notice it. 

Here’s what you can do:

Before you grab something and put it in your mouth ask yourself, “Am I hungry?” If not, exit the kitchen and go get busy for 10 minutes. Your desire to comfort yourself with food will most likely go away.  Try some deep breathing.

And this next one is the most powerful…get up and move! Anxiety isn’t just an emotion. It sits in our body as muscle aches, a racing heart, a heavy heart, sweaty palms etc. When you move, you help the anxiety move through and out of your body. Give it a try.

If you’re not sure which of the above behaviors is your default, go take this quick 5 question quiz to find out.

Most of us dream our dreams and leave this world never having lived those dreams. I don’t know about you, but this year has taught me there is no time to waste in actively pursuing our dreams. 

Pursuing our dreams can be scary. It means we most likely have to go out of our comfort zone. It takes courage. 

What do you think courage is? 

When I ask this question, I get answers like; “It means being brave or fearless.” 

Here’s the truth about courage. 

Courage does not mean that you are NOT afraid. Quite the opposite. It’s the ability to take action when you feel afraid or uncertain. It’s taking action even when you are afraid. Courage is what will make you say yes to things in spite of your feelings about it. Confidence says, I know what I’m doing. Courage says, I don’t know what I’m doing, but I’ll try anyway. 

As I was watching a video from Mel Robbins, it hit me why our dreams are never lived, left sitting quietly on the horizon. 

The dream is free and EASY. But the goals you need to achieve in order to live those dreams come at a cost; time, effort, money. Goals are HARD. We need courage to do hard things.

So what’s the difference between dreams and goals. 

Dreams: 

  1. Are really big, inspiring and motivating.
  2. Should be made public. You should talk about them. Research shows that when you talk about your dreams, you feel more inspired to go after them.
  3. Never have a timeline or an expiration date. None of this, “by the time I’m 30” stuff.
  4. Are EASY
    E- Energized: You should feel it in your body
    A-Aspirational: A dream is a hope or ambition that makes you feel bigger. You know? That you’re up to something bigger than the small stuff in your everyday life. 
    S-Spacious: When you think about this dream, there is something that expands. It could be in your spirituality, your physicality, your consciousness, your purpose or the impact you’re making, 
    Y-Yours:  Your dreams don’t have to make sense to anyone else. Dreams are easy because they are yours. Not someone else’s expectations. 

Goals: 

  1. Need to be made small so you can take action.
  2. Should be kept private. When you talk about your goals, you’ve tricked your brain into thinking you’ve already achieved something, which makes you less likely to work at it. This is new to me. But there’s science behind it. 
  3. Needs to have a deadline and be measured for completion. It creates urgency and importance in your mind in terms of getting them done. 
  4. Are HARD
    H – Habit: Something you’re going to do over and over until you achieve the goal.
    A-Action: Just thinking about the darn thing isn’t going to make it happen. Goals require focus and consistent action. 
    R- Reachable: Goals have to be realistic. You can’t lose 100 lbs in a week, but you could lose 3 lbs in a week. You have to believe it in order to go for it. 
    D- Do it anyway: Yes, even if it’s hard. You have to stay in action. 

We know a dream without a goal is just a dream. 

We also know, goals without a dream are not just HARD but EXTRAORDINARILY HARD! We need the motivation and inspiration of the dream to propel us forward.

If your dream isn’t motivation enough, you need to understand why this dream is important to you.

What are you afraid of in pursuit of this dream?

Fear of failure? Fear of rejection?

Fear of success?

What is so amazing about living this dream that is so much greater than your fear? 

When you find your why, you find your courage. You will pursue your dream even though you are afraid. You’ll know that living your dream is so much more powerful than living your fear. 

If you liked this, learn more about how to find your courage in my free guide:
The Habit of Self-Doubt: Crush It & Build Real Confidence

We are all ready for 2020 to be over. We can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Our first instinct is to write off this past year. It was full of loss, grief, challenges, and struggles. It was also full of new ideas, new connections, new ways of working, new ways of schooling, new ways of being and thinking.

We are all forever changed by 2020. What are you going to carry into 2021? If you’ve already jumped on the New Years band wagon of setting goals or God forbid made a New Years resolution, I urge you to take a step back.

First of all, resolutions don’t work. Don’t waste your time.

Start here and I’ll get you to the next step in my next article.

Deal?

Deal!

Great!

We all need goals. You can set them at any time. There is nothing magical about a new year. Every day is a new start.

The number one mistake we make when setting goals is we jump into the future. We make goals for the future without having looked at this past year. You have to take a moment to take a look back before you can look ahead.

You have to get grounded in the present moment. What are the mistakes you made? What are the lessons you learned? What were the things that were amazing?

If you don’t take a moment to assess where you’ve been, there is no way you’re going to set the right goals for the next year. Where are you right now? Start where you are.

Find a quiet spot to reflect and journal on these 8 questions.

TIP 1: Look back on photos from the past year. We have a cognitive bias to remember the bad stuff and forget the good. Look on your social media or camera roll and get a complete picture of your 2020.

TIP 2: Grab your calendar or planner. Thumb through it to remind yourself of commitments you kept, projects you worked on, people you connected with.

Here we go:

  1. What were the highlights of this year?
  2. What did you learn about yourself that surprised you?
  3. What was the hardest aspect of this year?
  4. What lesson(s) did you learn that you’re going to take into next year?
  5. What’s one thing that you’ll commit to NOT going back to?
  6. What’s one thing you started doing this year that you want to keep doing?
  7. In what ways are you stronger now than you were at the beginning of 2020? What wisdom are you bringing into next year?
  8. What are you most proud of that happened this year?
    BONUS QUESTION:
  9. What did you lose that turned out to be a blessing?

Once you have this clarity of where you are right now, you’ll know what you want your goals to be for next year.

Clarity is the first step to building confidence. Grab your free guide: The Habit of Self-Doubt; Crush it and Build Real Confidence

We might not always have a firm grasp of confidence, but we know it when we see it. We know it because we feel it, and we know what it feels like to be around it. Which is one reason the definition of confidence can be so hard to pin down. Confidence is really an experience—both of ourselves and of other people.

We also know when we don’t feel it. In the presence of an insecure person—or, even more telling, a person pretending to be confident—we not only notice their lack of confidence, but also their shaky attempts to compensate for it.

The concept of fake-it-til-you-make-it gets you only so far. When we fake-it, our confidence can appear quite strong, only to crumble in the face of struggle, criticism or failure. In those moments, it seems like confidence is nothing more than a fleeting feeling, a passing belief in our own power, a temporary reprieve between periods of self-doubt.

It is in these moments of self-doubt that we become vulnerable. Our lack of confidence broadcasts to the world how susceptible we really are.

In an increasingly complex world, confidence is one of the greatest weapons we can develop. 

Confidence manifests in a number of highly visible ways: our body language, tone of voice, verbal cues and micro-decisions. No matter how hard we try, we can’t really hide how we feel about ourselves. We broadcast our weaknesses wherever we go.

We wear our lack of confidence like a badge, and that badge unconsciously tells the world how to treat us.

Unfortunately, there will always be people ready to capitalize on those weaknesses. In some cases, that vulnerability will invite trouble in relatively varying ways from a shifty cab driver offering us a ride off the meter to a manipulative family member controlling our happiness and resources, or a power-hungry manager exploiting us in the workplace. 

Even worse is that predators look for people who are meek, mild, weak, unfocused, and distracted. “Criminals are looking for easy pickings. They’re looking for someone who they can take by surprise and will likely not resist,” says Jean O’Neil, director of research and evaluation for the National Crime Prevention Council.

She suggests presenting yourself in a confident assertive manner. When walking down the street, make eye contact with people who look at you. O’Neil says that signals the would-be offender that you are confident, in charge and aware that they are there. 

If you take a moment to think back, you can probably remember a time you were taken advantage of in a moment of low confidence. That wasn’t an accident. It was your degree of confidence at the time that exposed you to that situation, and it was your relationship to your confidence that determined how well you handled it.

The outcome of that experience might have taught you a lesson and increased your confidence in the future. Or it might have confirmed what you subconsciously believe about yourself and left you vulnerable to a similar scenario down the road.

So in addition to enhancing our work and character, confidence also helps protect us, physically and emotionally. That’s why working on it matters so much. We aren’t just talking about style and appearances. We’re talking fundamentally about who we are, how we present ourselves in the world, and how the world will treat us in return.

Grab your free guide:

The Habit of Self-Doubt:
Crush it and Build Real Confidence

As a remote worker, you often have flexibility with your work schedule, but it’s easy to get sucked into just one more hour when you’re already at home and aren’t facing a commute. 

If you’re serious about leaving work behind at the end of the day to maximize your free time, set office hours—and stick to them.

Meetings usually get us going at a pretty decent hour in the morning. The problem is the end of the day. If we don’t set a quitting time, we’ll just keep on working. Worse is when our colleagues figure that out and start calling us after “normal work hours.”  

Committing to and communicating your quitting time can be a game changer. Here’s the thing. You have to honor it Every. Single. Day. 

3 Benefits of Setting a Work End Time 

#1 When you set your quitting time you activate Parkinson’s Law – the adage that work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.” In other words, any project that you have expands to the amount of time you have to give it.

If you’re in school and you got a paper due in 2 weeks, how long is it going to take you to write it? 2 weeks.

But if you only have 20 minutes to write this paper, how long is it going to take you to write it.? 20 minutes. 

It expands or shrinks to the amount of time you have.

When you set your quitting time, it shrinks the amount of time you have to screw around and you become more productive.

#2 If you need to work extra hours on a certain project, having a set quitting time forces you to consider starting your day early in order to finish on time. It’s often preferable to get “extra” work out of the way in the morning when the day is just getting going than at night when your overtime will cut into family activities or after-work leisure. 

#3 You’re more likely to Find Your Third Space

If you’re new to remote work, chances are that you love not having a commute. But one of the benefits of a commute is that it’s a transition between your work and personal life, during which you can let go of the stresses of the workday and get ready to transition to your non-work activities.

This third space acts as an essential bridge between work and home relaxation. It helps prepare you for the mental shift you need to go from employee to parent, spouse, partner, or friend, and enables you to show up in your personal life calm, present, and ready to roll.

When working from home, though, it’s easy to skip this transition entirely. After all, the walk from your home office to your living room likely isn’t going to cut it when it comes to clearing your mental palette. You can easily build in a third space transition to your day by:

  • Creating a commute. Take a daily after work mind-cleansing drive or walk to a park or your local coffee shop.
  • Working out. Going to the gym or for a run outside gives you an outlet for any pent-up stress and time to decompress.
  • Taking your dog for a walk. When you’ve been inside all day, your canine friend probably has been, too, and would appreciate the fresh air.
  • Practicing mindfulness. If physically leaving your house (and workspace) isn’t possible, simply taking a few minutes to meditate, do yoga, or otherwise quiet your mind can be a calming transition.

Whatever you choose, avoid throwing yourself immediately into household chores after your workday (unless they relax you). A peaceful, grounding activity at the end of your day will help you refocus your brain.

What’s your quitting time? Who needs to know? What can you do to enforce it?

Grab your free guide:

The Habit of Self-Doubt:
Crush it and Build Real Confidence

If what you’re doing in your life or work is not leading you to the results you desire, this article is for you. You’re about to learn specific ways to take massive action, get more done, and get those big results you desire. 

“Taking action…” seems easy enough, right?  “Just do something!” As you and I both know, it’s not as easy as it sounds!

Managing Your Mind

So much of taking action is about managing your mind.  Here’s the thing, you can understand how to do everything, you can study all the material, but until you understand that what you think about is going to create the emotion that either drives the action or the inaction, you’re never going to take the action.

Did you get that? This is important: What you think about creates the emotion that drives the action or inaction.  If stress, fear, and panic are fueling the action, you’re not going to be able to produce results at the level you want to produce. 

Three Roadblocks that are keeping you from taking massive action.   

#1: YOU’RE STUCK IN THE BURNING HUSTLE

I can remember times, back when I was first starting my business, when I was hustling my butt off. I was all over the place, connecting with different people, working with all kinds of clients, somewhat successful—but the problem was, I wasn’t taking action on the things that could actually take me to a place where I could grow and scale my business. I was hustling. I was tired. But, to some degree, I was really just chasing my tail. 

This is what I call “The Burning Hustle”—a tiring hustle that’s produced by negative emotion: stress, fear, panic…[Insert your own word here!].  

You want to avoid getting into a state of burning hustle, where you may be working hard yet aren’t producing anything. Instead, your goal should be to get to a place of a productive hustle, where results are consistently produced. 

 If you want to produce something, don’t just sit down to “work on something.” Sit down to produce something! 

It’s important to change our language around this. Let’s stop saying, “I’m working on so and so,” and instead say, “I’m producing XYZ,” or “I’m writing a blog post.” See the difference?!  

#2: YOU’RE GIVING YOURSELF TOO MUCH TIME TO GET SOMETHING DONE

Too much time is the enemy. It invites us to procrastinate. We give ourselves too much time to produce a result. 

Let’s look at the projects we need to get done and assign a time frame in which we will get it done. For example: instead of my saying, “I’ll get the blog post written  and uploaded to my website by Wednesday”, I would say, “I will have the blog post written and uploaded to my website in one hour. I’ll sit down and get it done in that hour.” 

When you decide how long something will take and you stick to that, that’s when your production gets huge momentum.

Now, for my fellow perfectionists out there, this can be tough because you’re going to have to embrace the fact that you might produce some B-minus work. I know that’s hard to stomach!

B-minus work can change people’s lives. Work that you don’t produce at all, does nothing in the world. 

When I started my business, everything felt like B-minus work. But you know what? Nobody else cared about that. 

When I got an email from a client who told me she had made significant positive changes in her life as a result of our coaching together,  she made me realize that had I not launched my business until it was A-plus, that her life would never have been affected.

That was when I decided that I’m ok with B-minus work—because I know my business will still have a positive impact and help others produce good results. You’ll have to decide for yourself as to what level of work you are ok with. 

#3: YOU’RE AVOIDING FAILURE AND DISCOMFORT

Of course, no one loves failure and discomfort; but the truth is, if we’re going to learn and grow, there are going to be moments of failure and times where we will need to step outside of our comfort zone.

Our brains are literally wired to avoid any kind of failure. And usually the only way to be successful at whatever it is that’s important to you, is to fail repeatedly. 

So what do we do?! 

First, we have to reframe failure. Maya Angelou sums up the reframe best:

“Each time I miss my mark, I learn something, I take that as my reward.” — Maya Angelou

Lastly, we have to show our brains that we are not going to die because of discomfort and failure. We need to learn the process to move into discomfort, and then get comfortable with that discomfort.

If you’re in a holding pattern about anything, move. Take the first step to stop the stall. Write an email, initiate a difficult conversation. Disempower your fear by leaning into it. Action is the proof our brains need to get comfortable with discomfort. 

Grab your free guide:

The Habit of Self-Doubt:
Crush it and Build Real Confidence

It’s easy to assume that most of us are facing difficult times this Thanksgiving. You may be without a job, have an illness, or be feeling lonely and anxious among many other things. When going through difficult times, it’s harder to see the good that exists amidst our troubles. But practicing gratitude during a difficult time can genuinely help.

By being more grateful for what we do have, we can increase our happiness by 25% according to University of California Psychology Professor Dr. Robert Emmons, author of the book, Thanks!: How Practicing Gratitude Can Make You Happier. He says that gratitude is one of the few things that can change people’s lives in a measurable way.

He sums up his research on gratitude’s effects: 

“We have discovered that a person who experiences gratitude is able to cope more effectively with everyday stress, may show increased resilience in the face of trauma-induced stress, and may recover more quickly from illness and benefit from greater physical health.” 

We don’t have total control over our emotions. We cannot easily will ourselves to feel grateful, less depressed, or happy.”

But, there’s a distinction between feeling grateful and being grateful. While we might not feel grateful during a difficult time, we can be grateful. We can choose gratitude. We can choose a grateful perspective.

When disaster strikes, as it has over and over again in 2020, gratitude provides a perspective from which we can view life as a whole and not be overwhelmed by temporary circumstances. 

In short, gratitude can be our raft.

Here are four ideas to practice gratitude when stress and chaos strike.

#1 Count your current blessings.  

Think about what you’re currently struggling with and identifying the area of your life that it’s affecting. Next, think about all the other areas of your life where you’re not struggling. Maybe you’re struggling with a work issue, so you think about your good health and your happy home life. Then reflect on all the things that are going right.

#2 Consider what’s way worse. 

Name what’s currently upsetting you, and then come up with a situation (or two) that’s a whole lot worse. Your worst-case scenario could be completely absurd or funny (or not). Let’s use the example of a difficult boss. 

  • Your whole team now consists of several versions of your boss.
  • Your boss follows you home and now lives with you. All. The. Time.
  • You lose your job, and your boss goes everywhere with you and nitpicks everything you do.

#3 Hunt for the positive. 

This is a great way to engage your imagination and invite some play into your life—during a time you likely need it most. Find at least three positive things, three times a day for an entire week. And all these things have to be different. But they can be small. Even tiny. For instance, you might be grateful that a stranger held the door for you, you got to savor a hot cup of coffee, or your favorite shirt was clean after all.

#4 Express Your Gratitude

Expressing gratitude to our loved ones and to strangers every day can be uplifting for both the giver and receiver. We are often so consumed with our daily routines and obligations that we may take people for granted and if we stopped to say thanks, we can make someone’s day.

Our perspective for the people who might be in need of some thankfulness has shifted this year. How long have we taken our teachers, bus drivers, truck drivers, delivery drivers, grocery store workers, healthcare workers, and so many other front-line workers for granted? We can deliver a huge boost of positive energy to them simply by expressing our gratitude. 

When you’re going through a difficult time, it’s important to honor your feelings. Honor your pain, hurt, confusion, anger, and fear. And adjust your perspective. Because even in the midst of the worst kinds of losses, there can be love and even laughter. And for that we can be grateful.

If you liked this, download your free guide: Mindset Reset Using the Emoji Technique

Are you haunted by the ghosts of unfinished goals? I never met an idea I didn’t like, so I know all about the excitement of starting and the difficulty of finishing. 

These secrets may seem counterintuitive, but I dare you to give them a try anyway. 

Secret #1: Cut Your Goal in Half

This is NOT about lowering your expectations. If your goal is to lose ten pounds and you only lose eight you don’t feel like you almost got there you feel like you failed by two and you give up. 

What if you cut the goal in half. If you’re goal was to lose 5 pounds and you lost 8, you are pumped and excited to keep going. After all, you beat your goal by 3 pounds.

According to a study of 900 people, it was found that people who cut their goals in half were 63% more successful in the long term. That’s insane. 

The problem is that people make their goal when their motivation is the highest. Motivation is the most temporary substance in the world. It leaves when the work shows up and you’ve got this massive goal. Cut your goal in half or break the goal into smaller pieces and the motivation becomes more permanent. 

If somebody said to me they wanted to write a book I wouldn’t tell them to write half a book. I would tell them to write a chapter, finish it, celebrate it, write a second chapter, finish it, celebrate it. 

Secret #2: Choose What to Bomb

In our culture we are taught you can do everything and you should do everything. 

Let’s say you’re a working mom. Today with social media you can compare yourself in 30 seconds to other moms and feel like a complete loser. 

The other mom is always holding hands with her husband, forming the shape of hearts, and #blessed, and their meals are mac and cheese but it’s glorified with a gouda demi glaze. 

You are making that sad bowl of Easy Mac for your kid and you’re tired of stirring. Your kid is like, “It’s really powdery,” and you’re like, “Life is hard.” You compare. 

One mom told me, “During a busy season, my kids know that clothes get clean but not folded and put away.” She has the laundry chair. If we’re all honest we all have a laundry chair. 

It’s your third machine. It goes washer, dryer, chair. I love that her kids can look at their clothes and see that they are wrinkled so mom must be busy. If there’s things you can’t ignore or that you suck at then delegate them. Ask for help. Simplify them. Figure them out for the season. 

You choose what you’re not going to worry about. 

Secret #3: Make It Fun

When you ask people to name the five words you think of when you think of a goal, they say, “Hustle, willpower, grind, strain, persistence,” they never say, “Joy, laughter, engagement, fulfillment.” 

A study of 900 people found that people who are deliberate about making something fun are 31% more satisfied, and they are 46% more successful.

If you only raise your satisfaction (fun) but not your performance (success) you are smiling all the way to last place. If you only raise your performance (success) but not your satisfaction (fun)then you will be a very rich, miserable person. 

We’ve all met people who are really successful and hate their lives. It’s because they over focus on performance and they never thought about satisfaction. 

There are a lot of unfun things you’re going to have to do. So, it’s not to have fun, it’s to make it fun. It’s about being deliberate to make sure that you find joy in the things that aren’t inherently fun. Give yourself a reward or some form of motivation that helps you finish what the thing actually is. 

Fun can mean whatever you want it to mean. You can be goofy and silly, and weird. Most importantly be deliberate about how you add joy to what you do. 

Secret #4: Get Rid of Your Secret Rules. 

A secret rule is essentially something you believed a long time ago that isn’t true and you still believe it. It’s shaping a lot of your life without you even knowing it. It’s a limiting belief. 

Maybe it was in the 8th grade a teacher told you you’re not a good public speaker. Even now as your company gives you chances to lead meetings and get visibility you tell them you aren’t good at it and you don’t do it. It’s because in 8th grade you accepted that as a tattoo. 

I had client who is an extremely talented artist, although she didn’t see it that way. She would shred every piece of artwork at the very end of creating it, because her rule was that it had to be perfect. I invited her to stop the shredding. After some more time of challenging her limiting beliefs, she did. Now she sells her art for hundreds of dollars. 

A couple questions to consider to get ‘er done!

What does your goal look like cut in half or broken into smaller pieces?

What other tasks priorities can you let go of or get support on, to make room for what’s most important to you?

What brings you joy. How can you bring it to your work to make it more fun?

What’s a secret rule or limiting belief that keeps you stuck?

If you liked this, download your free guide: How to Improve Your Focus and Get Stuff Done

Overwhelm is paralyzing. We can’t think logically or make decisions or take action. 

 I’m telling you, my friend, you want to fight this overwhelm. If you allow yourself to stay in the state of being overwhelmed by the amount of things that you have to do, that pressure and that uncertainty combined with this feeling that you can’t get anything done, is going to create anxiety in your life. It’s going to impact not only your wellbeing but, it’s also going to severely limit your ability to focus and get things done. 

The two most important things to understand about overwhelm is first, what it is, and second, a simple tool you can use to get rid of it. 

In order to do your best thinking, you need to make sure you’ve got the full capacity of your brain leveraged and pointed at the things that are important to you. 

Here’s the problem. When you go through life, as you go through life, what happens is your brain starts to fill up with information and that’s what creates a state of feeling overwhelmed.

Being overwhelmed is nothing more than having a full brain. 

As you go through your day to day life and… 

start checking email and 

looking at texts and 

looking at Facebook and 

sitting in meetings and

going to class and 

flipping through television channels and 

sending emails and 

writing excel spreadsheets and 

running and picking up the kids and 

getting another text and 

looking at Instagram and 

looking at Twitter and 

checking out the news, 

…your brain gets pretty full doesn’t it? And now you feel overwhelmed because your brain is full of a bunch of garbage.

In order to fight overwhelm, you need to do a brain dump. You have to get rid of all that stuff so that you’ve got an empty brain so you can focus again. 

You are literally going to dump out everything that’s in your head onto a piece of paper; every concern, every worry, every to do, everything that’s bothering you that you’re thinking about, you’re going to write it down.

When you’re done writing down everything that’s in your head and there’s absolutely nothing left, pull out a highlighter. Take a look. You could do everything that’s on that list, you could. But what should you do? 

What are three things, just three, that you need to do in order to advance the things that matter to you most? Highlight these three things.

See all that garbage that is NOT highlighted? That is the garbage causing your overwhelm. It’s other people’s stuff. It’s the email stuff.  It’s the meeting stuff. It’s the stuff that’s not all that important. By dumping all that garbage out, you’ve gotten clear on the three most important things you need to do. You’ve got a clear head so you can get it done. 

It works. So, go do it and get back in action!

Grab your free guide:

The Habit of Self-Doubt:
Crush it and Build Real Confidence

You may be stressed out and overwhelmed. You probably have a looming deadline. You may be procrastinating.

I get it. A couple weeks ago, I had a proposal for a new business client to write. I was excited about getting a new business client, but not so excited about the actual writing of the proposal. And instead of writing that proposal, I became a passenger to my stress and my stress triggered me to take on something, anything else other than writing that proposal. 

I decided it would be a good time to clean out the fridge. You know, take everything out, throw out the expired food and deep clean the dang thing, taking all the shelves out. I had fridge stuff all over the kitchen. Because this is going to help me get that proposal done….NOT!!!

Here’s the thing. In life, there are passengers and there are drivers. And at any moment you can choose to be either a passenger or a driver. In that moment of choosing to clean the fridge over completing the proposal, I was a passenger to my stress.  

The key to being a driver in your life is recognizing when you get hijacked by old patterns. 

When you’re stressed, your uncertainty and your anxiety kicks into auto-pilot mode and you distract yourself and engage in patterns of behavior like avoiding what you need to do.

The interesting thing about procrastination is procrastination is a form of stress relief.

If you’re stressed out about a work project, one way to avoid having to deal with what stresses you out is to procrastinate and find something else to do. You find something that lets your brain take a break from the thing that’s hard, the work project. You choose to give your brain a break and relax by doing something like cleaning out your entire fridge. 

What do you do when you realize you’ve become a passenger to your stress? How do you get back in the driver’s seat? 

  1. Recognize what you’re doing and NOT doing.
  2. Don’t make yourself wrong.
    You are human. You’re going to go back and forth between being a passenger and a driver all the time. You really don’t have time to beat yourself up about this. And it doesn’t move you forward.
  3. Make a choice.
    You can continue to procrastinate. Choose it. Enjoy it.
    Or, you can interrupt the fact that you’re getting carried away by it and choose to get back to the thing you’re avoiding. The longer you avoid this, the more stressed out you’re going to feel.

The minute I chose to get back to writing that proposal, my stress lessened. It didn’t go away completely until I finished it. The point is, I redirected myself and I finished.  

The second you’ve realized that you’ve just been hijacked, you have a choice to make. Don’t be fooled by this “productive procrastination”. You are not being productive where it matters most. 

If you liked this, download your free guide: Mindset Reset Using the Emoji Technique

Feeling like you’re not good enough? 

Feeling like you’re not ready? 

Doubting yourself? 

If you’re suffering from impostor syndrome, it’s not an issue of whether or not you have the skill. The problem is that you have a pattern of thinking in a way that stops you the moment you start to doubt yourself. 

The “I’m not good enough,” it’s a habit. That’s it. It’s a lie you keep telling yourself. Every time you start putting up excuses, remind yourself, whoa, whoa, whoa, this is that “I’m not good enough thing and I am not going to allow this in my life anymore.” 

Here’s the work. It’s very simple. Recognize the pattern. We want to expand the gap between the pattern that triggers you to think you’re not good enough, which is not true, and your reaction to it.

The feelings are real. They’re real and they are normal. But that doesn’t mean that they have to dictate what you do. You feel like you’re unworthy? That’s normal. Do it anyway. You feel stupid writing this personal Instagram post? That’s normal. Do it anyway.

You may feel that you’re not worthy for your entire life, unless you take charge of that annoying voice in your head.

Here’s the thing. You can still take action. 

You have to learn how to let the feelings of doubt rise up but take action anyway. You’ve got to learn to embrace the fact that you’re going to feel like an impostor, but you my friend, are the kind of person that moves forward anyway. 

The way that you change it is by saying to yourself, 

“I’m going to go through the day and I’m going to notice every time I think garbage, and I’m going to say NO we’re not doing this today. I’m not good enough, but I’m going to keep on going anyway. Oh yeah, you think I’m not good enough? Watch me.” 

And then you do the thing that makes you prove that you don’t believe the garbage of “I’m not good enough.” Because you, my friend, can Do It Scared! 

Inaction breeds self-doubt. Action builds confidence. 

Grab your free guide:

The Habit of Self-Doubt:
Crush it and Build Real Confidence

We can all agree that waking up feeling anxious sets you up for a horrible day. And how crappy is it that you haven’t even gotten out of bed and you’re stressed already?!

It doesn’t have to be that way. Trust me. If you take one small step it will lead to another small step and then another. You don’t have to sit in your anxiety. Follow these steps and then I invite you to add/change them based on what works for you. Make yourself a promise to take one first step.

1.Get up! Do not lay in bed.

This is your one first step. It is also THE MOST IMPORTANT STEP. Let’s do this.

If you can get up, you can get moving. If you can get moving, you can get dressed. If you can get dressed, you can move your body. If you can move your body, you can move your emotions. If you can move your emotions, you can move your mind. If you can move your mind, you can move your mood. One thing leads to another. 

2. Make your bed. 

I still make my side of the bed even if my husband is still in it. I make my bed when I’m in a hotel room. I do it for myself. It’s a little promise I keep to myself. It’s a habit. Habits are amazing at grounding us. It creates a foundation; a foundation that’s there for us no matter where we are. It’s right here, even in a moment of anxiety. 

3. Talk back to your anxiety.

Remind yourself that you’re ok. Step back and notice that you are safe. Nothing bad is happening right now. Yes, the anxiety feels bad and uncomfortable, but you are ok. 

4. Get your exercise clothes on.

Seriously, this is a game changer. It’s a constant reminder that you need to move your body or exercise (whatever you call it). Do this step and you’re more likely to do the next step. In fact, I put my exercise clothes out the night before. I don’t need more decisions to make when I wake up.

5. Move your body. 

Moving your body, moves the anxiety out. This isn’t about crushing a workout. This is about doing whatever releases the stress and anxiety for you. For some it’s yoga, others cardio, others strength training, or simply stretch for 10 minutes. Play with it and see what gives you the best relief. 

6. Move your mind.

Journal. Do a brain dump. Write down every single thing that is on your mind. By clearing your mind and letting go off all that stuff, you manage the anxiety instead of it managing you. 

You don’t have to let anxiety hijack you. You can meet those moments and manage them. Whether those moments are when you wake up or it’s the anxiety that comes at night, or the anxiety that is your companion during the day.

Anxiety is a normal part of life. Having a simple process allows you to respond to it vs. reacting to it. It’s an essential skill that makes a profound difference in your ability to move through your life and face the obstacles that life throws at you. 

I’d love to hear what works for you. Give yourself permission to find your best way to manage your anxiety. 

Grab your free guide:

The Habit of Self-Doubt:
Crush it and Build Real Confidence