Motivation 4: "Overwhelm"

Date: 11/30/2008

Most of us are more consciously aware of the fourth ineffective motivation style of  "Overwhelm" than the other three styles we have discussed.  What we may not be aware of is the mental processing involved to feel overwhelmed. This awareness is important in order to deal with "Overwhelm" effectively.  Typically it goes something like this:

First one imagines the task at hand as a gigantic, somewhat threatening, mass of work.  This leads to  feeling overwhelmed which in turn leads to putting off doing the task.  Often the feelings of overwhelm can be so intense that often one cannot even begin the task.

Sound familiar?!  Many people go into "Overwhelm" when it is time to clean the house for Pesach (Passover).  To get the most out of this article, take a moment now to think of some task that puts you into "Overwhelm".

Here is an effective exercise to get yourself motivated when you are feeling overwhelmed:

Let yourself make a picture of the task.  Now, notice the submodalities of the picture.  That is, the characteristics of the picture you have made.  You are probably  visualizing it at a close distance right in front of your face--and, the picture is large.  Move the picture away from you and make it smaller; this will give you some perspective on the whole thing.  It will also  diminish the feelings of overwhelm which will make it possible to think more clearly and figure out how you are going to do the tast.

Or, try this: 

Imagine that  the task is completed and let yourself make a picture of the completed task.  For example, see the whole house cleaned for Pesach.  Next, ask yourself:  "What are the steps leading up to the completion of this project?"  Your mind may begin to generate a series of steps. 

If not, try moving backwards from the completed project.  Ask yourself: "What is the step just before the completion of the project". Then ask yourself: "What is the step immediately before that?"  Keep asking yourself these questions until you get to the starting point.  For many people it is easier to figure out how to tackle a huge proejct in this manner of working backwards from the end to the beginning.

In both of the above exercises what you are aiming for is to break down that oversized task into a series of smaller tasks that are linked one to the next.  After doing this if you still don't feel motivated, refer to the first three motivational styles we discussed and see if the problem has to do with one of them.  Then try motivating yourself with the appropriate style.  

If this doesn't produce results, you may need more information on how to do the task.  Gather information by asking advice from people who have successfully completed the task. Or, do research  until you have the information you are missing to be able to move forward. 

There is another reason people get overwhelmed: They do not believe that they are capable of doing the task.  Remember the old joke:  "How do you climb Mount Everest?  Answer:  One step at a time." Even seemingly insurmountable tasks can be done. 

One way to change that limiting belief is to look around you and notice that people....

    --have gotten out of debt

    -- have lost weight--and kept it off

    -- have given up smoking--permanently

    -- have turned failing relationships around, etc.

There is an  NLP adage: "Possible in the world, possible for me"

The question to focus on is not if I can do it, but rather how can I do it.

© Copyright.  All rights reserved to Shlomo Kory, Jerusalem, Israel