Momentum Podcast: 459
Turn Overwhelm Into Confidence
by Alex Charfen
Being an entrepreneur and successfully starting a business is one of the most difficult things you can commit to in your lifetime. We are that small percentage of the population that goes out into the future, imagines a new reality, comes back to the present, and insist it becomes real.
It's only natural we become overwhelmed. It's how we handle it that dictates how much success we will have, and the change we will make in the world.
What's your overwhelm equation? Overwhelm comes from increased pressure and noise and unknown outcomes. The fastest way to get yourself out of overwhelm is to actually admit you're there. Write down everything that's going on, look at it visually and ask yourself what is the logical next step. Work out the first priority and create a partially known outcome. This is incredible and it works every single time. Build your confidence one step at a time. Feeling overwhelmed is a natural part of being an entrepreneur so learning to overcome it can become a superpower.
Full Audio Transcript
Alex Charfen: Being an entrepreneur and successfully starting a business is one of the most difficult things you can commit to in your lifetime. We are that small percentage of the population that goes out into the future, imagines a new reality, comes back to the present, and insist it becomes real. It's only natural we become overwhelmed. It's how we handle it that dictates how much success we will have, and the change we will make in the world.
Alex Charfen: I'm Alex Charfen, and this is the Momentum Podcast, made for empire builders, game-changers, trailblazers, shot takers, record breakers, world-makers, and creators of all kinds, those among us who can't turn it off, and don't know why anyone would want to. We challenge complacency, destroy apathy, and we are obsessed with creating momentum, so we can roll over bureaucracy and make our greatest contribution. Sure, we pay attention to their rules, but only so that we can bend them, break them, then rewrite them around our own will. We don't accept our destiny, we define it. We don't understand defeat because you only lose if you stop, and we don't know how. While the rest of the world strives for average and clings desperately to the status quo, we are the minority, the few who are willing to hallucinate there could be a better future, and instead of just daydreaming of what could be, we endure the vulnerability and exposure it takes to make it real.
Alex Charfen: We are the evolutionary hunters, clearly the most important people in the world, because entrepreneurs are the only source of consistent, positive human evolution, and we always will be. Years ago, at one of our conferences, I pulled one of the people from the audience up onto the stage, and I was doing what we call the hot seat, and this one was really interesting because we had asked people to write down what their issues were on a sheet of paper, and then we asked them to tell us how long that had been an issue. We had a woman who wrote on a sheet of paper, "I feel trapped in my business", "I don't feel like I have any help", "I feel like I'm doing everything myself", "I'm completely overwhelmed", "It's one of the most difficult things I've ever done in my life, and I'm thinking of giving up." Then, the next question was, "How long has this been a problem?", and she put 12 years. I remember her coming up to the stage.
Alex Charfen: She looked intimidated, and scared, and she kind of sat slumped over, defeated in the chair. It looked like she had already lost whatever interaction we were going to have. She was definitively going to be the loser, and you could tell by looking at her that she felt a lack of confidence and like she was in the wrong place, and it was really overwhelming for her, and so I started asking her questions, and she let me and the entire audience know that she'd been running her business by herself, she was overwhelmed, she couldn't see. It was like the hardest thing she'd ever done, and so I did a very simple, or I went through a very simple framework that I've used millions of times in my career. Maybe that's an exaggeration.
Alex Charfen: Maybe thousands of times in my career. I call it the Overwhelm Equation. I talked her through what was going on today and what was happening in her life, and then I helped her come up with a partial plan, and just doing that, talking through where someone is today, and coming up with a partial plan changed everything for her. In fact, she started the hot seat by telling the entire audience, "I feel trapped in my business, and I feel like I'm in prison." When we were done with the hot seat, and I'm paraphrasing, she said something like, "I feel like my business will set me free, and here's how I did it. I used a simple process, we call the Overwhelm Equation, that helps entrepreneurs and anyone else turn overwhelm into confidence."
Alex Charfen: In fact, when she said, "My business will release me and set me free", she said it in a way that the entire audience jumped up out of their chairs, and people were crying, she was crying, and there was this massive reaction to what is really a simple equation. In fact, let me share it with you, and let me tell you where this comes from. We work with fast-growth entrepreneurs. We work with people that are building teams, growing businesses, and making a massive change in the world. Do you know what comes along with that?
Alex Charfen: Overwhelm. It's just going to happen. It is part of your life. It's not something you can avoid, especially as you're growing the business, especially as you build the team, and especially as you step into new areas, new territory that you've never been in before. Here's what I can tell you about 100% of entrepreneurs that are creating new things and making things happen.
Alex Charfen: They get overwhelmed. In fact, we try to ignore the fact that entrepreneurs get overwhelmed. We look in the public eye and we look at people like Elon Musk, who's landing rockets on their rear and completely changing our dependence on fossil fuels, and we don't realize that he's admitted overwhelm so many times, it's kind of overwhelming. He's come out and said that he's had a terrible year and he had a really hard time, and it was hard for him personally, it was hard for him professionally, that he's felt overwhelmed, and he's felt like he had to stay at the office at Tesla and work all night. There was times where he felt like he was going to fail, and so every single entrepreneur out there gets overwhelmed.
Alex Charfen: Let me tell you where overwhelm comes from. Now, this is a simple equation. Overwhelm is caused by two things, increased pressure and noise and an unknown outcome. Here's what I mean by that. When the pressure and noise goes up in your life, and you don't know where you're going, you don't know what you're going to do next, you don't have a plan to get out of the pressure and noise, it will cause overwhelm, because it feels like constraint.
Alex Charfen: When we feel pressure and noise, and we don't see a way out of it, we feel trapped, we feel constrained, we feel held in place, and all of those things. You know what they do to people like us. When we feel constrained, cognitive, or ... First, physiologically, we break down. We feel tired and exhausted, just like that woman walking up on the stage. She literally looked like she'd already been through a prizefight.
Alex Charfen: She was overwhelmed. Cognitively, we start having challenges. In fact, for her, she couldn't see how to get help. She couldn't see what to do next. She was literally having challenges, just figuring out how to get done what she needed to get done. Then third, when we're in that place of constraint, we get chemically effective.
Alex Charfen: We actually feel the chemical effect of constraint, and so when you have pressure and noise and an unknown outcome, it will be and will stay overwhelming. Like for this woman who was on stage, she had tons of pressure and noise in her business, and she couldn't see how to get help. She didn't think she could get help. She didn't know how to get help, and so what I did on stage was I went through the other side of the overwhelm equation, and this is how you turn overwhelm into confidence. Are you ready for this? This will work for you, this will work for anybody you work with, this will work for any of your clients.
Alex Charfen: When somebody presents as overwhelmed, you need to assume that they have pressure and noise and an unknown outcome, and if you ask them a few questions, you'll find that what's going on is there's a lot going on in their life, and they don't know what to do next. In order to turn overwhelm into confidence, here's what you simply do. You clarify the day with them. You let the person unload on how they're feeling today. You ask them questions about how they're feeling.
Alex Charfen: That's what I did with the woman. I asked her about her business. I asked her about how much she was working. I asked her how she was working, what types of things she was doing, and then I ask questions like, "Is there anything else you think I should know about, what's going on for you today?" She said no.
Alex Charfen: Then, I asked again, "Is there anything else you think I should know about what's causing you so much pressure and noise?" She said no, and I asked again, "Is there anything else you think I should know or understand, or you'd like to share about what felt so overwhelming for you?" She said no. As soon as I got three nos, I knew we had clarified what was going on today. Then, it was onto a partially known outcomes, so here's how you take someone over out of overwhelm.
Alex Charfen: You get them to clarify everything that's going on today, because when we get it off our chest, when we unload it, when we speak it out loud, it actually loses power over us, and as we speak through it, as we talk through it, the anxiety goes down, the energy goes down. It actually makes it easier to comprehend what's happening. Then, you ask questions for a partially known outcome, so with the woman who was on stage, I asked her, "Are you making enough money to get help?" She said, "Well, I think so. I just don't know how", so I talked her through questions that helped her see how she could very quickly get some help, and very quickly get some time back, and very quickly stop the overwhelm.
Alex Charfen: That's why she went from, "I feel like I'm trapped in my business and I'm in a prison", to, "My business will release me and set me free", and all the standing ovation that that got. It was so awesome when she said that. The entire audience jumped up, and I know why they jumped up, because we've all been there. Being in overwhelm is absolutely normal for people like us, and the challenges for most of us when we're overwhelmed, we go heads down, we push harder, we dig in, we do all the things that actually increase overwhelm. We don't ask for help.
Alex Charfen: We don't talk about it. We try and hide it. We try not to let anybody else know, and all of those things actually make things worse. Here's the epiphany I had about overwhelm years ago. One, I knew what was happening to me all the time, and I knew I fought admitting overwhelm, but I had this epiphany that the fastest way to get out of overwhelm is to actually admit you're there, and then run the overwhelm equation on yourself.
Alex Charfen: You sit down and you write down everything that's going on today. Get a whiteboard, get a big piece of paper, grab your iPad, whatever it is you write on, and write down everything it is that's overwhelming you, until you can ask yourself three questions, and you don't write anything else down. Then, look at all of it and ask yourself, "What are the logical next steps to prioritize and create a partially known outcome?" You will feel the overwhelm turn into confidence in your body. You can try this.
Alex Charfen: It is incredible, and it works every single time. This is important because overwhelm is a natural part of being an entrepreneur. We should stop trying to fight admitting overwhelm, and just accept it as part of what we do. In fact, managing overwhelm can become a superpower if you allow it to be, because here's what will happen. You will always reach some level of overwhelm.
Alex Charfen: Elan Musk has been very public about it. Jeff Bezos has been incredibly public about what's been going on for him, that's been very overwhelming with some personal stuff that's gotten out into the media. When it comes to entrepreneurs, it's not uncommon that we are overwhelmed over and over again. Understanding how to deal with it is much better than understanding how to grit your teeth and bear through it. When you know how to overcome overwhelm, it literally makes you better than the entrepreneurs around you.
Alex Charfen: Putting your head down when you're overwhelmed and pushing through it will create even more constraint. In fact, it'll create constraint that feels harder, and feels more difficult to get out of it. It will put you further down the rabbit hole, and there's no shame in overwhelm. In fact, when you're overwhelmed, here's what it means. It means you've broken new ground, you've created something new, you're pushing forward, you're in a territory that you're not familiar with.
Alex Charfen: Congratulations, that's exactly where you should be. Here's what you need to know about overwhelm so that it will not control you anymore, and you can make it a superpower. You can make it actually a benefit. You can start looking for overwhelm and say, "Hey, I have an opportunity right now." Number one, everyone gets overwhelmed, so just admit it.
Alex Charfen: Quit trying to do the, "Never let them see you sweat" thing. It doesn't work for people like us. The more we admit what's really happening and the more transparent we are, the more momentum we create. Two, overcoming overwhelm gets easier the more that you admit it, inventory it, and then overcome it by creating a partially known outcome. What will happen is, you will start to feel overwhelm flip into momentum as you learn how to deal with it, and what you'll find is, finding those moments of overwhelm and examining them are a massive leverage point in your life, where you can create incredible momentum.
Alex Charfen: Three, when you help yourself with overwhelm, you can help others. You can use the same process that I just gave you to help anyone on your team, to help any of your clients. If somebody presents as overwhelmed, you find out what's going on for them today, and you ask probing questions, open-ended questions until they've told you everything. Then, you ask questions that lead them to see that they know the next obvious steps to prioritize, and you will hear in their voice, see in their demeanor, watch their physiology as they go from overwhelm to confidence, it will blow you away. As you do this with yourself, you will see just how important this can be to create massive momentum in your life.
Alex Charfen: Here's what is so amazing about this. When you learn how to take overwhelm and create confidence, you learn how to take overwhelm, and turn it into momentum. It's one of the most important skills you can create as an entrepreneur. It's one of the most ... Not creates.
Alex Charfen: It's one most important skills you can learn as an entrepreneur, to not only overcome overwhelm, but to turn it in to a moment of confidence, to turn it in to a leverage point, to turn it in to an inflection point, where you actually take that overwhelm, and make it pay you, make it give back to you, make it, puts you back in momentum because we will be in overwhelm over and over again in our lives. That is a given. What we choose to do with it is up to us, and I want you to take overwhelm and own it, admit it, get over it, and create momentum. It will change everything for you. If you're ready to create momentum in all areas of your life and business, reach out to us.
Alex Charfen: Go to billionairecode.com. Answer a few questions, and here's what will happen. You'll get a free copy of our book, Billionaire Code Decoded. It will show you exactly where you are on the path to entrepreneurial success, what you should be focusing on now, and what you should be focusing on next. Regardless of what business you're in, this is the Rosetta Stone for entrepreneurial growth.
Alex Charfen: Two, we will show you exactly where you are on the Billionaire Code, and give you your summary so you'll get the entire Billionaire Code summary, and then you'll get a summary of where you are so you know exactly what it means to you, and third, you'll have an opportunity to set up a call with a member of my team. Set up a call with my team and let us walk you through where you are today, what you really want out of your business, what the roadblocks are, and we will help you build a plan to get around them, and create momentum, and we'll also let you know how we can help. Go to billionairecode.com. Fill out the short survey there, and let us show you how to create momentum on demand, and the next time you're overwhelmed, I want you to accept it, recognize the opportunity, flip it into confidence, and watch the momentum flow.