Ep 122: Why You Feel Overwhelmed At Work and How To Stop

WHAT YOU'LL LEARN FROM THIS EPISODE:

  • The reason you feel overwhelmed about work
  • What you need to understand to start feeling like work is simple and easy instead of hard and complicated
  • The 2 things you can practice everyday to transform overwhelm into feeling in control.   

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 This weekʻs episode is a continuation of the topic of overwhelm at work, but today Iʻm peeling back the curtain and giving you actionable steps you can take to jump back into the drivers seat. We juggle so many responsibilities and tasks that work begins to feel hard and complicated; itʻs easy to overlook the real reason behind overwhelm and quickly find ourselves in burnout.

If you can relate then I invite you to listen in as I break down why we end up in burnout and how work can be simple and easy again. Learn what you can do today to stop the overwhelm and start feeling more in control. 


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Welcome to Rock Your Brain. Rock Your Life. The only podcast hosted by a high achieving tech entrepreneur and certified coach that teaches you how to use proven cognitive tools to rewire your brain and break through the second pandemic, burnout. If you lead a company or badass team and need a proven, evidence based cognitive course to retain and develop them, this podcast is for you.

Sarah helps humans break through burnout, have insane work life balance, and feel magical at work and in their lives again. Here's your host, certified coach and tech industry entrepreneur, Sarah Moody. 

Hey, rock stars. I hope you're having an awesome holiday season this year. I hope you're healthy, feeling peaceful, calm, joy, and just able to, you know, appreciate all the magic that you have in your life. I am in Telluride right now, skiing and going to see Jewel in concert at a tiny old opera house built in the 1900ʻs tomorrow.

So lots of great things going on, but right before the break I was coaching a bunch of clients, and I really wanna talk this week about why you feel overwhelmed at work. 

So first of all, I made a decision two years ago that I would no longer feel overwhelmed, period. I don't feel overwhelmed at work. I don't feel overwhelmed in my personal life. I don't feel overwhelmed in a relationship. I just don't feel overwhelmed. And I used to feel it daily. 

So for example, I would wake up in the morning and I would be like, oh my God, my to-do list is just so long. I have to get all these things done and there's not enough time.

So I would rush, rush, rush. The guy that I'm dating, he's so funny. He has this phrase that he used to use and it's like you would blow past something and then go on to the next thing. So I used to be that way, but I broke up with that feeling. I built the muscle that no longer allows me to be overwhelmed.

If I do start feeling overwhelmed, say, I do notice it at work, I'll just know that it's coming from a sneaky thought, grounded in some thought distortion, like " there's not enough time" will create overwhelm, or "there's not enough people to get the job done" will create overwhelm.

Or "there's too much data coming at me to make a decision" will create overwhelm, right? So it's always a, too much or too little in the belief, in the distortion in your brain. So I just choose to believe there's enough. There's not too much, and there's not too little. 

There's just enough, there's enough time to get what I have to get done at work. There's enough time for me to see my boyfriend. There's enough money in my bank account. There's, enough clients. I just believe that there's enough, and so I no longer feel overwhelmed. Period. 

But I got off a call with my client, Splunk. They're a software company here in Silicon Valley, and I'm working with them on a year-long engagement as an advisor to their team.

And we're designing some executive programs for their leadership team, the CEO, and the rest of the team, and, what I've noticed with the team is there's lots of thinking that this work is complicated. There's lots of, " it's so complicated. So many people are doing the same thing" or "there's not enough time." It's like too much or too little belief. And so there's a lot of overwhelm going on.

And when I got off one of the calls, one of the folks had a headache. Of course you're gonna have a headache when you're living in overwhelm and there's so much going on, right? Or there's not enough time. 

So I wanna teach you what I'm teaching my colleagues Splunk, how you can experience work as simple, not complicated, not overwhelming. I want you to start thinking about work as simple, easy. 

So I'm gonna give you a couple of scenarios from two different clients right before the break, and I want you to think about yourself at work as I walk through these two scenarios. 

Which ones have you experienced? What lands with you? Where do you see yourself in these situations, okay? Because I would imagine for most of you, you're gonna see yourself in one or both of these situations. 

So for example, I was working with a cross-functional team of about 10 to 15 folks. We're working on a topic. It's all about defining, and deciding on metrics and measurements for five different programs.

And the beliefs that were coming up were, there's no alignment across the company around these metrics. Another belief was three teams are working on defining one of the metrics. There's no one owner. Another was, we have to report to the leadership team on our recommendation and there's no alignment across the company around these metrics and this big report has to happen. 

And so that line of thinking where we're working on one simple topic of defining and deciding metrics and measurements for these programs, have you been in that circumstance? And if you have been, how did you feel in your body?

So think about that circumstance. How did you feel? Or even if you think about this right now, how do you feel in your body? And where is that feeling? 

Do you feel a little overwhelmed? And when you feel overwhelmed or stressed, cuz this all seems so complicated, what do you do? 

I bet you just Ignore the work and procrastinate and ruminate and spin in your brain about how there's not one owner and there's no alignment in all the things, right? So your brain it's distorting and going to the worst place. 

This is how the brain works for good or for bad, period, end of story, which is why it is so important every day y'all to manage your brain, manage your thoughts, do thought work.

So where I coached the team was, what do we know today? Yes, we've got this report we need to do. Yes, there's a bunch of teams that are working on just one of the metrics. There's not an owner. Yes, I agree there's no alignment across the company right now. What is in our control? What do we know and what would make this simple?

What's phase one around? Getting us across the finish line. So I'll go into the answers that we came up with a little later in the podcast. So I wanna give you another scenario to think about that could be creating or one of the reasons why you're feeling overwhelmed, maybe even feeling like work is complicated.

One of my clients has a new role leading marketing, and so there's lots of new areas to try. So maybe you're in a new role, maybe you've gone to a new company and there's lots of newness that you've gotta experience. Maybe it's like, you've gotta master the field of demand gen, or writing customer case studies or working with the board.

So lots of things you've never done before.

Do you notice that you're procrastinating a lot on these things that are new?

Let's all be scientists or like engineers here and go to the root cause, right? New things for a lot of us mean I don't know what to do. This is going to be hard. I've never done this before. I don't know how to do this. This sucks, which will then result in procrastinating. So where in your life do you notice something that's new that you need to try, you notice you're just procrastinating on?

If you notice that correlation, then there's a belief behind it that's creating this procrastination. Like, it's gonna be hard. I've never done this and I don't know how to do this and this sucks. And then when you notice the procrastination, that can also lead to feelings of overwhelm, right?

Because when you're procrastinating, things are piling up. Next thing you know, you're overwhelmed. So when you feel overwhelmed, maybe you feel stressed. What do you do? 

Probably more procrastinating. Probably going and doing other projects, other deliverables, mastering other fields in your role other than demand gen or working with the board, right?

So you go back to your comfort zone because your brain is distorting the fact that I've never done this before, so I can't do it. 

But think of all the things that you've never done before, that you've mastered. Guess what? At some point when you were a little kid, when you were a baby, you didn't know how to walk.

You mastered that when you were, I don't know, maybe five years old, you didn't know how to drink water out of a glass, but you mastered that, right, with two hands, and then now you're drinking water out of a glass with one hand. When you were little, you probably didn't know how to, I'm looking at my sneakers right now, you probably didn't know how to tie the laces on your sneakers, but you mastered that, right? 

So everything that's new, it's just a skill. It's a muscle. It's like going to the gym and you can master it. And so you feel overwhelmed because your brain is unmanaged, right? With all these unintentional thoughts.

But remember, your brain is wired this way. It's wired to distort things. Go to the worst place, delete it's wired this way. We all have an unmanaged brain, which, you know, half of mine is a mess, which is why I do thought work every day. 

I tell my brain what to think. I tell my brain what to believe.

 So I've got two easy steps for you that you can practice. I would encourage you to practice every day to help you stop feeling overwhelmed at work and start feeling more empowered. 

So number one is tell your brain, almost make this like a mantra. Telling your brain I know is a decision. It is a muscle that you keep building every day after you make the decision.

So, make a decision, just like I made a decision. I no longer feel overwhelmed. Make a decision. I know, I know, I know. I know, I know. And so when you think about, for example, let's go to scenario number one of the cross-functional team of 15. We're working on a topic, all the things. 

What do you know about what you need today? What do you know about the metrics and the measurements and alignment and what you need to deliver in terms of the report to the leadership team? What do you know now? What do you know? 

So, for example, one of the things that came out of the exercise is we know that one of the metrics that we need to measure is actually one that we've been measuring all year.

So it's now being rolled over into next year, but we've been using this same metric this last past fiscal year. Okay. So we know that we may not know the others, but we at least know one. So phase one is we know this one metric we're gonna use in the go forward plan. 

So number one, I know, I know, I know. I know the answer. I know, I know, I know. Okay. Exercise that muscle every day. 

Number two is ask your brain this question: "what would make this simple?" When you ask your brain a question like, what would make this exercise simple, you have to answer. You can't not know. 

So for example, if we go back to the cross-functional team of 15 folks working on defining metrics and measurements for five different programs, what would make this simple is step one, we know that this one metric we're already using and we're gonna roll that over into next year.

Step two of what would make this simple. We have identified one leader that can help us pull together the cross-functional alignment around these metrics and the measurements and get the one owner and help us get the recommendation. So brainstorm all the ways you can make this scenario that feels really overwhelming simple. Break it into very simple steps. 

What would make this simple? What would make this simple? Keep asking your brain that question. What would make this simple? And then come up with another answer. What would make this simple? And then come up with another answer. 

So two easy steps. What would make this simple and tell your brain “I know”.

So that's what I got for you this week around why you feel overwhelmed at work, okay? And what you can do to stop feeling overwhelmed and start feeling more empowered. 

Okay, rock stars wishing you a beautiful rest of your week. I know it's the end of 2022 and 2023 is just around the corner, I just wanted you to kind of visualize that person that you wanna be in 2023 and know that you can start being that person today. Anything you want for your life is possible.

Trust me, I'm an example of what's possible. My students are an example of what's possible, and I wish you everything you dream for in 2023. All those wishes, dreams, desires, longings, are what you need to honor. They're why you're on this planet. So my wish for you in 2023 is that you honor them and you blow your own mind with what's, with what's possible.

Okay? I'll talk to you next week. Love you all. Bye.

If you're loving what you're learning in the podcast, you have to come and check out the Rockstar Program. It's my coaching program where we take these neuroscience based cognitive tools and we use them daily to break through burnout so you can fall passionately in love with your life and your career again.

So join me over at SarahMoody.com/rockstarprogram I would love to have you join me. You can also follow me @sarahmoody on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. I can't wait to see you.


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