Feeling Overwhelmed? Identify Unrealistic Expectations.

Feeling Overwhelmed? Identify Unrealistic Expectations.

Where does overwhelm come from?


Too much to do, too many demands on your time, unrequited hopes and dreams, wanting to be everything to everyone (or even one person/situation), feeling like you’ll never be able to be or do enough, information overload…the list itself becomes overwhelming.

All of that stuff comes from expectations we take on for ourselves and we’re afraid to let them drop because of some kind of repercussions that are real or imagined. It’s kind of hard to maintain good vibes and a clear mind when fear lurks in the background.


What do you do about it?


This is where it gets interesting. I know people who carry their overwhelm around like a badge of honour. Others carry it like the weight of the world is on their shoulders. Still others swim around in it, helplessly waiting for someone to lift them out. Usually when I have been overwhelmed it was more from martyrdom than anything else. Of course I can do everything. Of course I will help you. Of course I will step in. For what purpose? So I can burn myself out for your benefit? That’s kind of crazy.

Get to the source. This may be hard to hear, and maybe you’ll stop reading after this sentence, but overwhelm is something we allow to happen. It’s kind of a victim mentality. The great news is, that once you accept that your overwhelm comes from your own victim mentality, you can change it if you want to.


So how do you stop this overload?


Some people can pull this off quite easily, while it’s a little more difficult for others. Allow me to temper the “victim” concept. In a sense, we’re all victims in one way or another – of capitalism, of racism, sexism, religious dogma and more. As individuals, approximately 85% of us came from dysfunctional homes. So yes, we are all pretty much victims of something.

Remember that our parents were victims of the human experience as well, so there’s no point blaming them because they were carrying the expectation torch from their parents and their parents and so on and so on.

When you go to work, you’ve got a bunch of new expectations to deal with – spoken and unspoken.

Wherever you are, whatever your situation, you know that if you lived by your intuition, you would not be overwhelmed or sucked into unrealistic expectations, and you would not hold them over other people.

Name the expectations, determine if they ring true and ditch the ones that don’t.

The point here is to name the expectations, determine if they ring true and ditch the ones that don’t. If you can pull off the down and dirty exorcist approach to clearing these up, fantastic. If you are single you may want to check out this TED talk on YouTube, The Magic of Not Giving a F*** by Sarah Knight, which is chalk-full of F-bombs. I don’t know how well her approach would work with a partner and kids in the picture.

Personally, when I feel overloaded, the journaling approach works for me, followed by some kind of meditative activity, followed by more journaling. If you like self-exploration and making lists, this is perfect for you.

If you would like to take a deeper dive into the expectations that you carry around, sign up for the 7-Day Challenge. We cover this on Day 4.


The Total Disconnect In Business That Tanks Productivity

The Total Disconnect In Business That Tanks Productivity

This is funny, even though it is so very sad.


Is this just a man thing, or what? I don’t mean to be sexist, but there is definitely a theme with many men – some women, too, but the vast majority are men – that explains why there is so much stress, anxiety and depression in workplaces that inhibits productivity. Business = Money…period. The conversation ends when human feeling, emotion, or value is brought up.

Why is this funny? Obviously, there would be no business or work without people. Money is part of the definition of business. Everybody knows that. Human beings start businesses as a means to make money. Business is a human endeavour by humans to provide goods and services to other humans, employing more humans to make it all work. Humans aren’t money. You would not be able to be in business without other people. Your business depends upon their well-being. Hello!

Why is it sad? There is no humanity in the equation. Everyone wants to be valued, to be heard, to use their innate strengths, and to feel good about who they are and what they contribute…masters of their own domains. No one knows this more than entrepreneurs who start businesses because they were undervalued and dehumanized in previous workplaces. Can you see the sad and destructive pattern that continues with this equation?


Business and work are part of life, not separate from it.


The old, traditional model is slipping into the past.


Yes, that parochial view of work and productivity is shifting gears to a different, more human approach. To reiterate a point made earlier, there is a sad and destructive pattern to entrepreneurship that can be broken, by treating employees the way you would like to be treated. Google Spent 2 Years Studying 180 Teams. The Most Successful Ones Shared These 5 Traits.

It doesn’t matter if you have a team of one, five, twenty or one hundred, point number 5 from the above article stood out.


5. Psychological Safety.

We’ve all been in meetings and, due to the fear of seeming incompetent, have held back questions or ideas. I get it. It’s unnerving to feel like you’re in an environment where everything you do or say is under a microscope.

But imagine a different setting. A situation in which everyone is safe to take risks, voice their opinions, and ask judgment-free questions. A culture where managers provide air cover and create safe zones so employees can let down their guard. That’s psychological safety.

The cost of dehumanizing the workplace


Depression and anxiety cost the Canadian economy almost $50 Billion a year, according to this CBC article. That is up from $33 Billion in 2007. Consider, if you will, how the workplace can have an effect on depression and anxiety.


Imagine – or remember – what it is like to be in a stressful workplace. What caused the stress for you? The Hidden Costs of Doing Nothing to Promote Workplace Health includes bullying, fatigue, lack of attention to work-life balance and job strain, to name a few. Is it the work itself, or the environment that has the greatest impact on elevating stress?


Making the transition


You are busy. You have a lot of responsibility. You are growing your business. You are the visionary, bringing your ideas into tangible reality. You are always moving forward, jumping on the next opportunity. You are a go-getter. Do you ever slow down long enough to find out from your employees what this is doing to them? Do you ever ask them if the systems are working, if they have the resources they need, or if they have any ideas to contribute?

Your team is your greatest asset. They aren’t you. They don’t have ownership. They have a job to earn money to have a good life. Talk to them. Listen to them. Be open to what they have to say. Don’t be ‘that’ boss, or you’ll lose them.

It doesn’t take a kumbaya session around a campfire to connect with your team and the inner workings of your work environment. They are there to work and they know what is important to the smooth functioning of their jobs and their workplace. Working with you rather than for you goes a long way towards higher productivity and lower stress.



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