Accelerating Past Overwhelm

Uncategorized Aug 10, 2022

As mission driven change agents, some of us have been running in the red zone so long we don't even know what it looks like to shift gears and find our "pace of grace."

This post is about finding ways to overcome overwhelm, remain hopeful and maximize our positive contribution in a world that can feel like its moving from one crisis to the next…

 Navigating three phases of psychological response to a crisis

In a world that feels more volatile and uncertain than ever, it can be helpful to recognize three phases of psychological orientation--individually and collectively--in response to crisis.  More than two years into a global pandemic, not to mention multiple intersecting additional crises, many people are still anchored in the apprehension or acclimation orientation.  These approaches leave us focused on meeting needs near the bottom of Maslow's hierarchy.   One reason that we can stay stuck is that the continued uncertainty and dislocation from what we used  to know leads us to feel overwhelmed--the ways we used to meet our needs simply aren't available anymore when the world doesn't work the way it used to.  The opportunity here is to get re-oriented in a shifted world and find new ways of delivering at your very best, whatever is coming next.  This is about finding a way to accelerate your own contribution in a personally sustainable way even when what's going on around you can feel overwhelming.


As You Rise to Meet the Challenge Phase 3 Leadership, What Is Your Pace of Grace?

As someone with a calling to make the world a better place, one of your greatest risks for feeling overwhelmed is actually your calling itself!  You can’t run and you can’t hide: chances are you are going to feel deeply called to serve others throughout the whole course of your life.  This is why finding your personal “pace of grace” is vital to answering your call at the highest possible level over the course of your life.

So what exactly is this "pace of grace?"

Your “pace of grace” is the “just right” intensity of daily engagement in pursuit of your calling that brings the greatest cumulative impact and joy over the course of your life.  Chances are this pace of grace will vary from one period of your life to the next.  This is especially true as we all navigate through the three phases of crisis response in a world that feels more volatile and uncertain than ever.

Dialing in Your Personal Pace of Grace

In a world that is full of hurt and injustice, many change agents get overwhelmed by over-indexing on the problem and on their peers and underinvesting in the personal and the practical….

The video for this post walks through some key ideas for breakout out of the overwhelm cycle.

  • Titrate the trauma: focus on the problem you feel called to address only enough to stoke your energy, not so much that you get overwhelmed
  • Practical progress is paramount: a little clarity & planning goes a long way in identifying the actions you CAN take from one day to the next to create genuine forward momentum.  Much more on this here.
  • Treat yourself like an endurance athlete: if you feel called to go faster in service of your calling, remember that personal development and self care are what it takes to sustain an increased pace
  • Comparisons are counterproductive--don't get caught up in worrying about how much others are working or accomplishing--you need to find YOUR pace of grace in pursuit of your mission--burning out is no badge of glory
  • Experiment, evaluate and appreciate: it's going to take some trial and error to figure out what truly works for you--so appreciate the little wins along the way


FindingYour Five to Thrive:

Your toolkit of go-to anti-overwhelm strategies with enough variety that at least one will always be an option, no matter what the situation.  Building from what's already working for you when it comes to getting relief from that feeling of overwhelm is key. Check out the video as well as additional posts linked below for some ideas about what might make this list for you.




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