This article was born from a fascinating discussion with Howie Jacobson,
author of Adwords for Dummies, brilliant leadership coach,
alternative lifestyle ambassador and roving genius.
What is perhaps the single biggest thing that stops you in business?
This is frequently a trauma response. It kills initiative.
In men it looks like, “I don’t know what to do, or where to go next.”
In women it looks like, “I don’t see a path, I only see
the top of Everest. And I can’t move.”
Your inner impulse, from which all action springs,
is trodden underfoot.
In other words, your own, excited,
“Wow! I can see where I’m going and I love it!”
response which fires you up to finish your projects, is crushed.
This response is an instant, overwhelming, freeze.
You can’t make a move. You don’t see any moves.
It looks so exhausting you’d rather pull the covers over your head.
You can stay here for months. Even years.
You need your own pace to achieve,
time to get things done, and a feeling of control.
Overwhelm, or what you see as overwhelm, can stop that cold.
I took 100 hours of street-fight training, and the
problem is very similar. When a mugger approaches a woman,
he usually terrifies her with ugly language, frightening behavior,
and maybe a knife. Women freeze, and by the time they come out of it,
damage has occurred.
What my 100 hours of training taught me was to
get past the freeze response. Here’s how.
What the woman doesn’t know is that the mugger…
1) expects no resistance and
2) doesn’t have a second move
All he knows is to throw her to the ground.
But — from the ground is where women have all the power to fight him off.
Women’s pelvic muscles and legs are as strong as a man’s arms.
That’s why a 5’6” woman (me) can knock out a 6’4” man.
Over 100 times.
What you need to know is that Overwhelm Attacks
can be just a temporary response brought on by
past trauma (“I was never good at technology”) or cultural beliefs:
- I’m too artistic for business.
- I became a doctor so I wouldn’t have to go into business.
- I’m too spiritual for business
- I’m drowning! Get me out of here!
Your mind on Overwhelm is like the mugger.
It expects no resistance. It doesn’t have a second move.
You can get past it. You can melt the freeze.
You can stop the overwhelm.
You can get up to cruising speed again.
How do you stop the Overwhelm Attack?
1. Just like my fight class, ground yourself.
When you are in Overwhelm, you do not know you have a body.
But your body can bring you out of this.
Immediately do something physical. Jump, walk away
from your desk, go outside if you can, touch your arms and legs.
You are not, at that moment, in your body.
Keep moving, keep touching your arms and legs until
you feel a shift in your mind.
Your body will ground you and bring you into the present.
In the present, you have choices. You can make a move.
2. Call a trusted friend and tell them you just had an
Have them spend 10 minutes
with you breaking down your giant task into the
smallest possible steps. Ludicrously small.
Like naming a folder.
3. Do the first step within 2 hours.
The pattern created by Overwhelm Attacks may have etched a
deep neurological pathway in your brain.
A series of small successes will overcome that pattern.
One small success per day, day after day, and you will feel like a winner.
Nothing can stop you.
Overwhelm will learn that it’s can’t win, and eventually,
you will not have these attacks any longer.
And at this point – there’s no stopping you!