In our fast-paced environment, sometimes it’s hard to step back and take a breath. Sometimes we feel so overwhelmed that we don’t know which way is up.
You’ve heard the old axiom about not being able to see the forest for the trees. Sometimes we get so overwhelmed that we can only see the trees right in front of us and, all too often, if we’d just look beyond a little we’d be surprised to find that the edge of the forest is only a short distance off.
I am a pretty fast-paced individual and I drive hard with everything that I do. I push for everything that I do and I think that sometimes people might think that I don’t get overwhelmed.
The reality is that I get overloaded often. It’s in those moments that I have to step back and look at the big picture and identify what’s really important. I might say, “Well, everything is important.” But, I recognize that there are certain things that are more important than others. I recognize that sometimes things have to just be good enough.
All the challenges that we have can be lumped into two distinct categories.
The first category is challenges that are imposed on us. These are things that we have to react to. These are decisions that are made by other people that have an effect on what we do. These could be as simple as the other guy who ran a red light and now we are dealing with hospital visits and a car in the shop.
The second category is challenges that we impose on ourselves. These are challenges that come because of the choices we make. These could be as simple as we stayed up too late partying the night before so now we have to be tired at work.
As I observe others, I am amazed how much more often the challenges we face are those that we impose on ourselves. We judge ourselves too harshly and so we get frustrated. We make decisions slowly so we have to deal with those ramifications. We fail to communicate what is reasonable so we are stuck with having to do too much.
Regardless of the reason we get overwhelmed, we are usually the only ones that can get ourselves out of the quagmire we’ve gotten ourselves into. It’s time to step back and take a breath. It’s time to remember that the stresses we feel today usually are very temporary. It’s time to take stock of what tools we have in our bag and just hit one problem at a time until we get back on top of things.
Yes, I know, that’s easier said than done. However, the sooner we learn the skill to handle the challenges that life throws at us (and the challenges we throw at ourselves), the sooner we’ll be able to focus on the real problems that face us.