Overcoming Overwhelm

overcoming overwhelm

By now it should be clear; this is the ‘new normal’; The vaccine did not end the pandemic, the end of stimulus payments did not solve the labor shortage, the end of remote learning did not lead to a normal academic year, the election did not lead us back to business as usual. At every turn, our expectations are confounded and the outputs don’t seem to match the inputs. It is easy to blame most or all of this on the pandemic, comforting ourselves that we can put this all behind us when it winds down, if slightly behind schedule, in the first half of 2022.


The reality however, is that the pandemic was merely an accelerant to existing trends that have been in motion for most of the last few decades, trends which will define the rest of our lives. The Age of Insanity dawned in the mid-2000’s when social media met smartphones. Wealth inequality and its attendant social and political consequences were increasing for decades before the Great Recession supercharged it. The Thucydides Trap was set when Deng Xiaoping opened China in the late 1970’s. We are living in ‘big history’ now, in an era that shares characteristics of many other historical analogues. The internet has had an effect similar to the printing press in the 16th-Century in its ability to disrupt established hierarchies. The stark divide between haves and have-nots is the historical norm in most non-hunter-gatherer societies. Great powers are continually challenged by rising ones. The truly anomalous situation was the last few decades of relative peace and prosperity.


What does all this mean for us as individuals? This first thing is to recognize that we cannot expect external authority to grant us stability, meaning, or contentment. We must generate it ourselves. The next thing to recognize is that we can’t just do it by ourselves. More than 2 years ago, before anyone had heard of COVD-19, we wrote on our blog:


“The Taylor Group’s work recognizes that human beings are part of overlapping ecosystems. We must first examine and understand what is happening with the whole person, their team, and their company before we can effectively address the proximate cause of their Burnout. In the always-connected work environment of modern business, particularly for knowledge workers, this integrated approach becomes even more essential. The line between work and every other domain of our lives is increasingly blurred. It is unrealistic to think that a standalone practice will be a quick fix to achieve overall well-being or establish work-life balance. We have a diverse array of offerings that address many different areas of life, but all of them are based on a recognition of this interconnectedness, and designed to work on multiple levels simultaneously.”


We are complex beings that need to attend to multiple facets of ourselves in order to have overall well being. We experience life on physical, material, emotional, spiritual, and numerous other levels. Have you taken time recently to check in with yourself in each of those domains? It’s ok if you haven’t. Even for those of us who do personal development work every day, it requires deliberate practice to have a level of awareness that allows us to acknowledge things like “I need a new approach to attend to my physical vitality” or “Things started going south when I dropped out my spiritual practices”. Even when we do have realizations like these, the tendency for most is to seize on that one insight, overcorrect in that one area, and then beat ourselves up when it doesn’t magically fix everything else.


One thing we have found consistently in our work with clients is that “wherever you go, there you are”. The current challenge in your business is connected to the problem in your family, which is connected to the persistent health issue you are experiencing, and on down the line. Our coaches take an interdisciplinary approach in unpacking all of it, and helping you create a positive intention for each area. From there we start the practical work, whether using the Action Management System with a business coach or attending a course, to make those intentions a reality.


So how does all this relate to the state of the global supply chain, or the impact of social media on mental health? The ability to tune out the noise, the daily firehose of emotionally-charged information will be critical to keeping our collective sanity in the years ahead. When you are doing the inner work, you are less at the effect of external events. That doesn’t mean that you don’t have reactions or passionate feelings about things, just that you begin to refract them back through the lens of the commitments that you have made to yourself and others. When you are clearer on what outcomes you want in every area of your life, every situation you encounter begins to show up as an opportunity to move closer to those outcomes. You begin to see choices you can make, rather than things you are at the mercy of. Working with a partner or team of coaches that can help you crystalize those choices and encourage you to make the ones aligned with your intentions is something everyone can benefit from, especially as the changes accelerate in the coming decade. Now is the time to begin developing a sense of awareness, intention, and choice to overcome overwhelm and keep moving towards what truly matters to you.