Posts Tagged ‘Overwhelmed’

Most people start the new year setting goals conveniently disguised as New Year’s resolutions. However, people who do this are focused on the wrong thing. Before they set their goals or resolutions, it behooves them to first establish a North Star.


polaris-north-starJust as it is used in nautical terms, your North Star is a fixed point you can use to guide your life and ensure that you are heading in the right direction. It can serve as an unshakeable marker that will guide you through the turbulent waters of your life.


With that in mind, before setting your goals it is beneficial to think about and declare your North Star. If you don’t, you are essentially sailing rudderless, aimlessly floating in an ocean of possibility hoping you will reach a destination you desire. Or even worse, you may end up setting goals that are not aligned with your North Star, thus setting a course in the “wrong” direction.


My inspiring friend Dan Galperin (www.manpowerproject.com) once asked me a question that serves as a beautiful and fun way to establish your North Star. He asked:


What are the 5 impossible goals of a lifetime that would blow your mind?


Once you have declared these lifetime goals, they can serve as your North Star and guide your annual goals. Your goals each year should align with, support, and further your North Star – even if by just a few small steps at a time.

Here are the 5 Impossible Lifetime Goals I declared this year as I set my North Star.

  1. Plant 10,000 trees.
  2. Have $5 million in the bank.
  3. Become a Best-selling author.
  4. Be in a relationship with a stunningly attractive (inside and out), amazingly sensual, incredibly spiritual woman.
  5. Speak in front of 10,000 people.

Rather than struggle with your New Year’s resolutions this year, most of which are broken because they are not inspired by a person’s North Star, why not start 2017 by electrifying your life with a declaration of your North Star!


“Most people overestimate what they can do in a day, and underestimate what they can do in a year.”

– Matthew Kelly (& Bill Gates)


When dealing with goals, especially lifetime goals, don’t get overwhelmed by the magnificence you are declaring for yourself. You do not need to accomplish everything by tomorrow. Thinking that way is a sure recipe for frustration, which will likely lead to you giving up.


Rather, take your time and design a thoughtful, measured plan taking you from Point A (January) to Point B (December). Break your goals into smaller milestones which you can accomplish over the course of the whole year. By doing so, you will ensure your success and witness exhilarating progress toward your dreams.


This is the best way to succeed for the year . . . and your lifetime!




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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.

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