Posts Tagged ‘Arthur C. Clarke’

I recently told a client that his employees seemed overwhelmed with learning a new software system that was being installed and keeping the business running during that hectic time of change.  The client pushed back on me, as he often does, and asked, “Are they overwhelmed . . . or being tested?”

 What a great question and distinction!

When someone is overwhelmed, they have too much to do.  Their plate is full and they truly cannot handle any more tasks.  Their capacity is maxed out.  When someone is overwhelmed their stress level increases, their ability to focus diminishes as they try to manage too many disparate items, and their overall effectiveness decreases.


When someone is overwhelmed, some valuable tips are:

  • Scrutinize – only accept those things onto your plate that further your goal/mission.
  • Prioritize – assess everything on your plate and determine which are most important and will have the greatest impact on achieving your goals.
  • Small Steps – do not bite off more than you can chew.  That is the quickest way to get overwhelmed.  Break your workload into small tasks and milestones and accomplish those.
  • Delegate – enlist the partnership of others by asking them to help with things that you do not need to handle personally.


When someone is tested, on the other hand, they are pushed beyond their known limits and boundaries.  They are doing things they have never done before and are uncertain as to how to do something or what the outcome will be.  It is that uncertainty that creates tension and stress.


When someone is being tested, some valuable tips are:

  • Focus – become laser-like with your attention and focus, avoiding the pitfalls that often distract us from the task at hand.
  • Trust – believe that you will meet the challenge before you and achieve the goal.
  • Perseverance – never give up on yourself or the goal.  It is surprising how many people give up just steps away from success.


So ask yourself, are you and your team overwhelmed . . . or are you being tested?


The only way to discover the limits of the possible is to go beyond them into the impossible

                                                                                – Arthur C. Clarke

When we are being tested, we are pushed beyond our limits and often discover that we are capable of things we previously thought impossible.  When we push beyond our known limits, without fail a sense of accomplishment and confidence replaces those initial feelings of fear or uncertainty, regardless of whether or not we succeed at the task at hand.  Often, it is merely the act of going beyond our known limits that sets the stage for future success.

Read Full Post »