How to overcome overwhelm and get on with your success

Dora NudelmanHow many times have you had a big idea only to find yourself getting discouraged, even before you’ve gotten started?

Well my friend, this is called overwhelm. When you have a grand idea, your juices start to flow. Your mind starts to race. You feel motivated. You feel excited. You can’t wait to get started. But then “reality” sets in. Fear, doubt, and a whole bunch of questions arise, starting with, “How the heck am I going to get this all done?” But fear not, overwhelm is solvable.

1) When you get a spark of an idea, go with it. Sketch it out, write it out. Use all your creative energy, all that excitement and motivation to outline the big picture goal. Create a grand vision of what you want it to look like, sound like, feel like, be like. Use your passion and enthusiasm in that moment to spell it all out for yourself. Think big, really big, the bigger the better. Do this for as long as your steam carries you.

2) Do not talk about your big plans until you have a handle on them yourself. If you are in doubt and you share your vision with those who do not understand it, or who have limiting beliefs themselves, they may end up discouraging you because you may be vulnerable enough to listen. This isn’t a hard and fast rule, however, for masterminding with like-minded people can actually help you get off the ground. Simply pick your audience.

3) Now think small. When you start to feel the sense of pragmatism setting in, that ping of “reality,” that’s your sign to change focus. In order to capitalize on your initial energy and motivation you will need to shift gears from the big picture to the smaller one.

If you don’t make this shift you may run the risk of getting overwhelmed by your big plans, simply because at this point you may not have the slightest clue on how to get started. Small picture thinking is basically taking what you know now and the resources you have now and making the best use of them in relation to what you want to accomplish.

So, if your big picture goal is to be a Grammy-winning singer, instead of fantasizing about it until you finally get discouraged by the size of that goal, feel how you might feel to be that singer, but then bring it back down to earth. Are you actually a good singer? Do you have the talent, do you have the drive? Do you really want it for authentic reasons, like self-expression, or are you looking at the fantasy side of what you think will make you happy?

Once you’ve established your motives, now you can start to think about action steps. What are the smaller action steps you know to take right now? Maybe it’s a class you can attend. Perhaps you can hire a vocal coach. Maybe you can intern at a record label to see how things work. Or even smaller, perhaps you can browse the internet for tips on how to get into the recording industry. Do you play in a band? Then get smaller gigs around town and get your feet wet with experience. There is no shame in starting small, for everyone starts somewhere. And whether you want to be a butcher, a baker, or a candlestick-maker, this process works just the same.

4) Get over the illusion of quicker is better. There is a myth about instant gratification and that myth is that instant gratification is actually gratifying. It’s not that your success will necessarily take a lot of time. It’s just that in order to fully understand the big picture of your life you are going to have to let go of your agendas, expectations, and attachments to outcomes and timelines.

You can have an idea of what you want, just don’t get caught up in it so much so that you allow it to discourage you if your timelines aren’t met. It’s not about quicker or slower, although your ego will tell you otherwise. It’s about quality of experience, it’s about discovering yourself, it’s about being comfortable in your own skin and expressing yourself fully rather than rushing towards results. It’s about enjoying the journey and savoring it as part of your life experience. True success hinges upon expressing and sharing, not just doing and getting.

5) Put your purpose first. What that means is trusting in a higher vision for your life’s journey. It means having a healthy detachment from any one outcome, and trusting that any outcome is what is best for you at any time. It’s having a faith that every step is an important step on your path to success, no matter how small it may seem.

So with our singer example, start to write lyrics, express your feelings on paper and in song, share your emotions with others through your music, inspire, and of course, enjoy. Enjoy every step of your process and don’t overlook its importance also as a catalyst to getting you to where you want to be.

Think big because you can, but remember that your purpose is in the details.
Dora Nudelman is a personal-development and self-empowerment writer, author, advisor, holistic life coach, and the principal of The Quality of Life Advisors Group, a lifestyle consulting company that provides expert advice and guidance for successful living. She is also the author of, “You Are Here: How to awaken your potential and live your greatest life now!” a practical guide that demonstrates how to use presence to bring peace, happiness, and success into your daily life. For more information please visit:

-what was your biggest takeaway from the lesson above? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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