feeling overwhelmed, slow down, Joe Girard, man gripping his chestI decided to write this post after a conversation with a Hayden Cyr, founder of Vancouver Island Trade Exchange  (check it out – he has very cool business). As you may or not know, I am about 5 weeks into a 90 day daily blogging strategy and it’s been both challenging AND rewarding.  I will be writing more about that process towards the end of the 90 days.

But Hayden sent me this Facebook message because he was feeling overwhelmed by my daily emails:  

“I love your emails and the tips, but there are so many coming from ya that I have a hard time putting anything into practice before the next tips come. The content is top notch though, it’s just that the frequency is giving me anxiety.”

How many of you are feeling overwhelmed like that with your business and all of the STUFF you feel you have to do?  And that you’re trying to keep up with all the information that is coming at you fast and furiously?  Well that’s normal!  It is totally normal to want to try and do everything, then feel disheartened when you can’t keep up.  So today’s message is to just take a breath and SLOW DOWN.  Another friend of mine, Jesse McClinton from Alter Ego Marketing Group  told me his favorite piece of advice was from Bill Gates:

“Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in ten years.” – Bill Gates

That’s today’s message.  Don’t try and do everything all at once – embrace the journey and think long-term. Remember in my post about strategy vs tactic, I talked about setting a 90 day game plan?  Well do that with your learning as well.

Tip #1 – Pick ONLY one thing to learn each month

One thing I love about Hayden is that he has an unwavering commitment to learn new things.  He is absolutely curious about the world around him and works on being better each day for all the people whose lives he impacts.  I hope that you are also striving to make improvements for yourself.  If you are going to grow, the trick is to only pick one thing at a time to learn and focus on.  It is so easy to get distracted, so you have to really choose wisely.  And make a plan.

If you know me, I get distracted easily and want to know everything. All the time. Right now.  To combat this, you must focus on that long term strategy and find that one thing this month you want to learn.  If you are reading my blog, pick a topic, and dig in. Read other blogs and books on the same topic until you get YOUR own understanding on the material.  Then your plan should be to actually apply the lessons.  Not move on to the next idea.  

Hayden also said in his message, “..it feels like I am cramming for an exam.  I’m so busy that I can’t take proper time to benefit from the advice when it hits so often with so much.  …I just can’t see how the average business dude is gonna get it, read all of it, digest it, and put it into practice, then review the results, before the next one hits.” 

If you are trying to learn everything, there is NO way you can apply it all as Hayden mentioned above.  So pick just one.  When another topic you want to explore comes up, just make a note and put that on the list for next month. After a year, you will have a pretty good knowledge base on 12 topics.  Save yourself from feeling overwhelmed and going crazy by learning one at a time.

Tip #2 – Focus on being just a little bit better each quarter

Similar to tip#1, this one is all about smaller increments over time, rather than HUGE wins right now.  I know I tend to get frustrated when things don’t happen as fast as I would like.  Note: I will be doing some training on goal setting soon which will show you how to set the right processes.  It is easy to get caught up watching results and when they don’t come fast, change your activities to something else.  Think about you

All I’m asking is for you to think 90 days ahead and pick some activities and skills you would like to work on now. Pick some that you can actually manage within your current schedule and set a plan.  But make sure you see them through for the entire 90 days.  Often, we get disheartened when we don’t see immediate results and give up too soon. Don’t look at results early.  Think about things like diet, exercise, sales numbers, etc. When we give up too soon and shift our focus to something else, we put ourselves in this constant state of flux where we feel like we’re treading water. If you want some inspiration, read this quick post about an amazing Facebook Message to a jogger.

Ask yourself what you would like to accomplish, and just get them done.  Not to the MASTER level, but just a bit better.  This time, in three months from now, know a bit more than you do today and be happy with your progress. Four quarters like that, and next year will be totally different.  

[Tweet “Be a little bit better each day for long term success.”]

Tip #3 – Don’t compare yourself to others

Here is the kiss of death for most professionals that knocks us of the fence.  We see other people doing what we want to do and having the success we want to have, and we then think less of ourselves.  We all do it, no matter how successful we become. Remember that everyone started somewhere.  Here are a few of the influencers I am following right now that you should definitely check out:

  • Marie Forleo – Featured on Oprah, and recently sat down for an interview with Arianna Huffington, Marie is a shining example of someone who is totally following their dreams.  She has a welcoming style and is totally focused on empowerment.
  • Derek Halpurn – Derek runs Social Triggers and has done an awesome job of building a site that the market loves.  He has great insight into sales, marketing, and psychology and I admire him for the insights he provides and his down to earth style.
  • Lewis Howes – Former professional football player, turned internet marketing guru, Lewis is a phenom online.  He has a no-BS style and has created some awesome programs like Linked Influence.  And he’s just a cool guy.

Now, all of these three superstars are doing things I would love to do and have inspired me to push my online game to the next level.  But here’s my secret admission.  At the same time I also keep thinking that I am not as good as them.

Marie does a way better job than me with her site and is interacting with huge celebrities. Derek has a massive following and great posts that I compare mine to.  Lewis is super handsome, has done some really exciting things like pro football that my story doesn’t compare to, and cranked out some awesome online products. I’ll be honest that these are all thoughts that creep into my head  that make me start feeling overwhelmed and battle with insecurity and doubt. But I have a choice.  These thoughts can either empower me to learn from those who have gone before me OR cause me to freeze and stop working at things, because I can’t “be as good as them.” I have to remind myself that as long as I can make an impact for ONE person, I’m doing great work.

[Tweet “Can you make an impact for just one person each day?”]

My tip to you is that there will always be people you should look up to who have gone before you.  Seek them out and learn from them.  And once you start making some progress, YOU will be further ahead than others.  So be someone others look up to by not letting your ego get in the way and learning every day.

Tip #4 – Be happy TODAY

If you take anything away from this post it should be this point.  Find a way to be 100% happy with who you are today and where you are at in your progress.  It is far too easy to feel like we are not where we want to be, and that feeling paralyzes us.  So what do we do?  Nothing.  I like to stop and look at my progress and compare myself to where I was a year ago, five years ago, ten years ago.  And I have to mentally thank my former self for putting in the time and effort to help me make progress.

I do have to thank an amazing influence in my life, my spiritual coach, Shigenori Murata, who has been working REALLY HARD to help me stay focused on being happy in the moment.  He has been super-helpful in getting me to see life from a more complete place, enjoying each day, and celebrating my relationships.

It is fine to want more with your life, but if you’re always chasing happiness “once I get there,”  you will never be happy.  Take a deep breath and be grateful for all of the amazing things before you today.  Then, get out your pen and paper and make a plan for the future, all while enjoying the process each day.  Free yourself from feeling overwhelmed by slowing down a bit and you will be successful the right way.

I want to thank Hayden for reaching out and always welcome feedback from everyone.  My goal is to add value and feedback like this allows me to create the value you need.  Thanks Hayden!

BTW, here is the entire convo with Hayden:

Facebook conversation, Insight, Feedback

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Joe Girard
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