Momentum Podcast: 881
Overcome Overwhelm Fast
by Alex Charfen
In this podcast episode, join Alex as he dives deep into the world of overwhelm, a condition that plagues many evolutionary hunters. As driven individuals, evolutionary hunters are wired to be in constant momentum, contributing, creating, and making things happen. However, the relentless pressure and noise of daily life can lead to a state of overwhelming frustration, questioning one's own existence.
Akex shares personal experiences and insights gained from coaching numerous entrepreneurs through overwhelming moments. He dissects the root causes of overwhelm, attributing it to the combination of high-pressure noise and an unknown outcome. The episode explores how overwhelm manifests and the various forms it can take, from panic attacks to physical symptoms.
But fear not, as Alex provides a proven strategy to break free from overwhelm. The key lies in a two-step process: clarifying today and establishing a partially known outcome. Listeners will learn the importance of a 20-minute walk to clear the mind, followed by putting pen to paper to articulate the sources of overwhelm. This simple act brings clarity, shrinking the overwhelming thoughts and creating a tangible list to address.
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Full Audio Transcript
This is the Momentum podcast.
As evolutionary hunters, we have this need to be in momentum. We actually have this life force. You've heard me say this over and over again to be driving forward, to be making things happen, to be creating, to be contributing. And sometimes what happens is we get to a place where we are totally overwhelmed, where there's too much pressure and noise in the present, when there's too much going on, sometimes by our own making, and we get to a place of overwhelm. And I've coached and worked with entrepreneurs for long enough to know that when we get to a place of full overwhelm, it is so constraining. When we get to a place where there's too much going on, when we don't have clarity, it can get to the place where we don't even know what to do next. And it's incredibly frustrating. You know, I'll share candidly, there's been times in my life where, in the moment, due to what was going on in my life, due to the relationships I was in, due to the habits I had, I was so overwhelmed that I wondered if I needed to keep doing this. And I don't mean the activities that I had at the time. I mean this. Do I even need to be here anymore? Do I even need to do this? Like it was so frustrating, so overwhelming, so consuming that I actually got to the place where I questioned if I even needed to be here. I think sometimes that's shocking for people to hear. But if you're an entrepreneurial personality type, you've probably done the same thing. At some point in time in your life. You've gotten to the place where the overwhelm was so high. You've questioned your own existence. I think almost every one of us has. And in this episode I want to explore this concept of overwhelm and this condition of overwhelm and how you can get yourself out of it in the moment. First, why it happens, how you can get yourself out of it in the moment, and how you can avoid getting into a place of overwhelm in the future. This is crucially important for people like you and me.
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. 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.
As evolutionary hunters, we're driven. We are driven to make things happen. We are driven to move things forward. We are compulsive in our need to contribute and make things happen. And we have this innate motivation that I've talked about before. You've heard me say this innate motivation that is just this motivation, this drive, this push, this compulsion to make things happen, to contribute, to do things, to move forward and to accomplish in the world. But there's this condition we get into that we refer to as overwhelm. That is one of the most stifling and frustrating and constraining places that people like you and I can get. And here's why I believe it happens: When we are in a place of overwhelm, here's what is typically present and… actually typically is not the right word, here's what is almost always present and identifiable in the lives of entrepreneurs, because I've done so many interventions with people who are in overwhelm at events on coaching calls in my daily life with friends. I'm the type of friend that when things go wrong, when life is really challenging, when people are in a stuck place, I'm the person they call. I feel so proud and validated that my friends see me that way and that they're willing to call me and let me know when they're really stuck, when they're really frustrated, when they can't see what they should do next, when they don't understand what the next steps are, when they can't navigate what's going on, they call me. And like I said, I'm really proud of them. I'm proud of being the friend who people are wanting to be transparent with. They're willing to unburden their thoughts with. They're willing to share with, so that I can help them. And what often happens when someone reaches out to me is they don't see clearly what's going on.
But to me, here is the clarity that I have around overwhelm. To me, it's very, very, very simple. Overwhelm is caused by the combination of two things: you add together high pressure and noise in your life and an unknown outcome, and it creates overwhelm. Let me explain that to you. Here's what I mean by high pressure noise in your life. If you're in a place where there's a lot of stuff going on and you're stuck in the day to day tactics of your business, there's stuff going on with your kids. You might have financial issues happening. You have a, you know, flat tire on the car. You didn't get your breakfast in the morning. You haven't had a chance to work out for a few days. You might be slightly dehydrated. Pressure and noise is going up rapidly in your life and you can't see how to stop it. You don't know your next steps. You don't know what you should do next. That it's that high pressure and noise with an unknown outcome triggers us into overwhelm. And overwhelm? Overwhelm can feel like so many things. Overwhelm can feel like you can't see the forest for the trees. It can feel like a panic attack. It can feel like heart palpitations, eye twitching, illness. You can get sick headaches. You can feel frustrated, triggered, reactive, really mean to the people around you, withdrawn from the people around you, not communicating with the people around you. Communicating too much with the people around you. But overwhelm is one of these conditions where a lot of what we're doing tends to go on kind of an autopilot. And not a good autopilot. Not the kind that lands the plane safely. It's more of an autopilot where we are not really in full control of what we're doing. And the overwhelm is driving so many of our behaviors. We get into this fight, flight, fawn, or freeze, and we show all the symptoms when we're really in a place of overwhelm. And here's why: As evolutionary hunters, we are designed to have an outcome. We are programmed to have an outcome. The outcome is always going on a hunt and achieving something and accomplishing something. Evolutionarily it was going on the hunt and making a kill. As we have evolved as humans. It was achieving something, creating something, making something, changing something. Contributing in some way to the world around us is what going on the hunt became.
And when we are walking around day to day and we don't know why we're on the hunt or where we're going, it can be the most constraining and frustrating feeling for people like us, especially if there's high pressure noise. You combine those two, you get overwhelmed. And overwhelm is this place where it's near impossible to do anything from. And so I want you to understand that just as easy and just as simple as you can explain overwhelm as high pressure and noise and an unknown outcome. By the way, if anybody ever wants to challenge me on this, I'd love to have a debate. I'd love to, like, really work through this because I believe this is fact. I believe this is truth. I believe this is exactly where overwhelm comes from because I've helped hundreds, if not thousands of people overcome it by reversing this condition. And here's what I mean by that. If you have high pressure noise and an unknown outcome, which is creating overwhelm for you at the moment. Here's how you undo it. Here's how you get to a place where you're not overwhelmed. Here's how to get you to a place where you can actually start to move forward without feeling the panic or the heart palpitations or the eye twitching or any of the other stuff that happens to us when we're in over one. The equation is actually simple, and I know this sounds crazy, but you can actually take all the energy behind your overwhelm and all of the energetic you're feeling and turn it into confidence. And it can be done in moments. Here's the process. Here's the process that I've shared with hundreds of people. Here's the process that I've seen be successful over and over again. Here's the process that, to be honest with you, has not failed ever. I've never seen it fail. I've never had a condition where I couldn't get somebody to a place where they actually felt confident and they felt better than where they were and they got out of overwhelm. Here's what I suggest: So we take overwhelm and we turn it into confidence by doing two things. We combine clarifying today, getting really clear on what's going on and a partially known outcome.
Let me explain. When we're in a place of overwhelm, we have high pressure noise and an unknown outcome. And what that high pressure noise and the lack of destination does to us is it puts us into thinking processes that are not productive. It puts us into a place where everything that is going on in our lives is rattling around in our heads. We're reactive. We're constrained. We're sometimes triggered. If you're overwhelmed, you have to just admit that you're in a place that’s triggered and reactive. And when we are in that triggered reactive place, everything starts to feel like pressure and noise. And everything, in my experience, gets exaggerated in our minds. And here's what I mean by that. We feel the high pressure noise. We feel the overwhelm and everything that's going on starts to feel bigger and feel more constraining and more triggering, and it creates even more reactivity. So something small can happen and we lose it. We react. We have a big reaction and a trigger. And we express ourselves in a way that we're probably not proud of. And that all comes from this place of overwhelm, because we are carrying around way too much in our heads. We're not clear on what's really going on and we don't know where we're going. So the process I share is simple. First, go for a 20 minute walk or more. And if you're in a place of overwhelm, really go on the 20 to 25 minute walk or 30 minute walk or 40 minute walk. Go on a walk with the intention of letting your brain work through everything that is creating overwhelm for you right now. Just let it process. Think about everything that's frustrating you, everything that's causing an issue. And then when you get back from the 20 to 25 minute walk, sit down with a sheet of paper and write it all down. Write down the list. Write down everything that's frustrating. You write down that you're not working out. Write down you might be dehydrated. Write down you're frustrated with your kids. Write down you had a bad morning. Write down your businesses is not profitable. Write down you have a flat tire. Write down anything that is coming up. Put it all down on paper. Here's what I found happens with people like you and I when we get to a place of overwhelm. We also get to a place where our mind starts exaggerating everything. Our mind starts placing greater importance on everything. And we get to a place where we can actually talk ourselves into more overwhelm because we're not no longer clear about everything that's going on. We're triggered and we're reactive and everything feels like it's bigger than it is. When we sit down and start writing on a sheet of paper and we get things out of our mind and into reality and onto a sheet of paper, here's what often happens. Here's what I've seen happen every time. As we start writing, as we make the list, it starts shrinking. The feeling of overwhelm starts going away. We realize that it's not millions of things. It's a list that we have in front of us of the things that are really frustrating and challenging and holding us back. And as we write the things down, we create clarity, which again, is so important for people like us. We create clarity about what we are really dealing with. We create clarity as to what's really going on. And writing out the list, suddenly we're no longer making things up. We have a clear perspective of everything that's going on. And as you're writing that list, what should happen is that your shoulders drop and you can breathe easier and you feel less overwhelmed and you feel a little bit better. And as you're done writing the list, you ask yourself, “Is there anything else that’s overwhelming me? And once you can get to the place where you say no and everything's on the sheet of paper, you should feel a massive shift in your physiology. You should feel a massive shift in how you feel at that moment.
Because when we get everything down on paper, we take this nebulous whirlwind, this tempest of things that are flying around in our head. We put them out on paper and we now can address them. We are evolutionary hunters. If we know what we're dealing with, we can deal with it. When we don't know what we’re dealing with, it's ambiguous. It actually feels like more. It gets overwhelming. It's too much. We have sensitive nervous systems. We have to protect them. And so the first step is you write everything out. If you go on a 20 minute walk and you sit down and write everything out and you don't feel the physiological shift, go on another 20 minute walk, come back and add to the list, go on another 20 minute walk, come back and add to the list. The most I've ever had to have anybody do was a friend of mine who was incredibly overwhelmed making major life decisions. She had to go on three walks. And I remember having this conversation with her. She went on the first walk, called me, wrote a bunch of stuff down, and this was the first thing she said when she called, “It didn’t work.” I was like, okay, sometimes it doesn't work on the first try. There might be some more that we need to offload here. Go ahead and go on another walk. And she called me back afterwards. She's like, “I feel a little bit better, but it didn't work. I don't feel relief. I don't feel like what you said it was going to feel”. I said, “Great, go on another walk”. About 25 minutes later, I got a call and she said, I feel way better. You were right. It worked. She felt the shift.
Now, this shift is important, and getting clear is important. Getting everything out on paper is important. But it doesn't end there. What's also important is that partially known outcome See, as evolutionary hunters, we don't need to know where we're ending up. We don't need to know every step we're going to take. We just need to know what's the next proximal destination that I can go on on my hunt? What's the next direction I can go on to move forward and create confidence and clarity? What should I be focused on? Where should I be going next? And so here's what I mean by a partially known outcome. After you have everything written out on a sheet of paper, all the things that are causing pressure and noise. Take a look at it and start prioritizing. What are the most important things there? What is the most frustrating? What's causing you the most noise? What can you address quickly? And when you have this list in front of you, figure out what are the things you can do right now to move away from the massive overwhelm you feel and start feeling some progress. What is in front of you that if you address will make you feel better, will make you feel like you're moving forward. And when you have that partially known outcome, those next steps that you can take. Here's what's absolutely incredible about this process. You will take all that energy, like I said, of being overwhelmed, all the pressure noise with an unknown outcome. Creating that feeling of overwhelm will flip into a feeling of confidence. When you have clarified today, written everything down, and then have a partially known outcome. What are my next few steps? You will actually feel the physiological release, the chemical release of moving in the right direction as an evolutionary hunter.
Now, there are habits that we can create that will create much less overwhelm in our lives. There is process and structure we can put in our lives so that we don't get to the place where we're overwhelmed as often. The reason I say this is you're an evolutionary hunter. You're here trying to change the world. You're trying to change things around you. You're challenging the status quo. You're making new things. You're an artist. You're a creative. You're a visionary. Overwhelm was part of the package. Knowing how to get out of it is really important. And so this is life changing. Knowing how to prevent it so it doesn't happen as often is also life changing. And when we are in a place where we create process and structure around us so we always know what is most important and where we're going, we have perspective to measure that we're moving towards it and we know what we're responsible for and the people around us are responsible for. It's not that we never get overwhelmed. We get overwhelmed way, way less. And we stay in momentum way more often. But this strategy is for overwhelm in the moment. And using process and structure is a strategy that you can use so that you don't encounter as much overwhelm. As evolutionary hunters, when we know what we're hunting and we have perspective if we're winning or not and we know what we're responsible for and the people around us are responsible for, overwhelm happens way less often. And sometimes so infrequently, then when it does come up, it'll surprise you. And you can just use this strategy to move through it and create massive momentum. And so if you like to understand some of the process and structure I've created for people like us to understand outcomes, to measure progress with perspective and to know exactly what we should be doing and the people around us should be doing. I would love to work with you this Black Friday. I am going to start working with a small group of entrepreneurs, taking them through our personal operating system, which is the same planning, execution and clarity system that I've used with our high ticket clients for the last 7 or 8 years to create nervous system regulation, a higher level of presence and awareness, a higher level of achievement and way more momentum than we are used to, and grounded in a way where you can deal with it and create more and go out and make a massive impact, improve your income and make a contribution to the world around you. I would love to work with you. You can go to charfen.com/blackfriday. My last name charfen dot com forward slash Black Friday to get put on the list. You'll be the first to know when this opportunity is available. And I'd love to work with you personally. And remember, overwhelm is part of being an evolutionary hunter, but it doesn't have to be the part that we don't know how to overcome and we don't know how to prevent. We absolutely can. When we use the right strategies, overwhelm can be turned into confidence. And when we're using the right strategies, we stay in momentum so we don't feel overwhelmed anywhere near as often as we would. Go to charfen.com/blackfriday. I'd love for you to join me this fourth quarter, right the day after Thanksgiving for this incredible opportunity. charfen.com/blackfriday. I look forward to working with you.