Overcoming Overwhelm Part 1: Dialing in Your Pace of Grace

Uncategorized May 12, 2021

The more strongly you feel called to serve others, the greater your risk for struggling with the feeling of being overwhelmed. 

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 for the long haul…


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.

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


Your 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 for some ideas about what might make this list for you.

  • Getting some (not all!) work done
  • Focusing on your fundamentals: sleep, nutrition and exercise
  • Self talk: challenge your overwhelming thoughts with high quality questions
  • Enlisting allies: expand your team to lighten the load
  • Daily and/or weekly planning & prioritization
  • Creating more, consuming less
  • Meditation, breathwork & other mindfulness practices
  • Learning to spot the moments that matter most with your friends and family & elevate your joy and presence in those moments: quality & frequency can often be more important than sheer quantity…

What if you feel like you don't have the space to operate at your pace of grace?

 From social entrepreneurs to foundation staff, many of us trying to answer our call to make the world a better place feel pressure not just from ourselves but from others to do whatever it takes to deliver results.  So what if this whole question of finding your own "pace of grace" feels like a distant dream given the organizational culture and/or the delivery demands you face on a daily basis?   

There are no magic answers, but is it possible you have more options than just gritting it out or giving up?   More on this in a future post....








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