In my last blog, I talked about the excitement-overwhelm spiral and what happens when our lovely little brains get carried away with the inspiration of a new idea or opportunity.
Now, what’s really exciting is we CAN get inspired without ending up like this guy here 👆😬 (it’s a sleeping owl by the way – rest assured, he’s not dead).
A note on passion and health
But firstly, just a note on why this stuff is important.
You’ll often hear me say “Passion does not have to cost us our health.”
And this is because, there’s a common belief amongst some that, the more passionate or excitable they are, the more they are a danger to themselves. Especially if they’ve already faced burnout or chronic illness. Because, they’ll be all too aware of the impact that stress can have on the body.
They’ve been there, done that, and they don’t want to go back there again.
A brain excelling in complexity and overthinking…
The other thing is, a number of those who consider themselves passionate or driven, will also have a great tendency to operate from a place of overwhelm and mind-complexity. Because, when you find yourself motivated by purpose and inspiration, chances are your brain will be running at a 100mph; constantly churning the whats, the hows and the whens.
Now, I harp on about the brain-body connection regularly. And if you’re familiar with the way in which I work, you’ll be familiar with the fact that every emotional response triggers a very physical response through neurotransmitters and hormones.
So, if you’re consistently generating overwhelm and headspin, you’ll be training your body into less than standard health.
You are not at the mercy of your brain… hurrah.
If you relate, please know that you’re not at the mercy of your brain. And perhaps more encouragingly, that stress, over-excitement, and even overwhelm do not have to be damaging – if you recognise and respond to them in a more ‘life-serving’ way.
You CAN influence what happens next, and through channelling your thoughts in a conscious way, you can fulfil your passions whilst thriving in your health too.
So let’s get to it. How can we train our brains into something more useful? How do we move from overwhelm into something altogether more pleasant (calm, satisfied, encouraged and practical come to mind)?
Aside from the mindset strategy provided in the previous article, there are a few other ways that you can exercise your brain into navigating the ideas flow much more effectively and enjoyably.
Finding the space between idea and response
One of the first steps is finding the space between the idea that has come up, and the subsequent ‘response’ you are producing. Because THAT is where your power lies.
Brooke Castillo, an American Life Coach, has something she calls ‘The Model.’ And the beauty of this, is that it really enables us to find that sweet spot for identifying and making change.
C Line = Thought = Feeling = Action
It goes like this:
Step 1: Identify the ‘C Line’ – this means, the circumstance. So what is the objective situation here? In your case, you have come up with an idea or opportunity and you recognise there are a number of other ideas waiting to be actioned.
Step 2: Recognise the thought, or meaning, you are applying to this objective situation.
I can almost guarantee, once inspiration / excitement hits, it will be something like… “Oh no! What if I ‘lose’ it?” “I have to do this NOW otherwise it will disappear and I will have lost out” “But I have all this other work…” etc, etc.
Now this, is the bit you want to change. And we’ll come back to how you do this shortly.
Step 3: Notice the feelings: The third element is acknowledging the feelings that are triggered by these thoughts. If you can get to the thought, you change the feeling. But if you don’t it will nicely lead into the feelings you don’t want, but so far have been brilliant at generating i.e. panic, overwhelm, and feeling wired.
Step 4: The resulting action: Now there is no conscious action required from you in this step, because whatever route your brain has chosen in step 2 and 3 will determine the outcome.
So let’s say your brain sticks with overwhelm and panic, the resulting outcome will most likely be you – face down on the sofa (like the dude above) or perhaps some good old fashioned procrastination.
If, on the other hand your brain has broken from tradition and gone down the trust / confidence / calm road, then the action will most likely be efficient productivity and delivering on projects.
Give it a whirl
So do that. Think about a time when you went into overwhelm. And retrace your steps. What was the C Line? What were the thoughts that followed? What meaning did you give it?
Excitement = great. Panic = not so great.
What’s the thought that preceded the panic? THAT is the bit you need to do something with.
One of the key barriers is often this idea that, if we don’t ‘use it’ there and then, we ‘lose it.’ So it’s the fear of losing that spark; that vision; that magical moment.
If you relate, consider this – has this belief served you so far? Because, every time you go into overwhelm mode, you are going to lose that creative flow, so flapping about loss will not help you get the results you want.
Instead, consider what it would be like to operate from a place of trust. Think about some things you ‘know’ to be true and connect it up. For example, you know that later this evening you will have dinner. Maybe you know you’ll do a good job of it too.
Perhaps there are some things in your working life you also ‘know’ to be true. Like, I know when I wake up in the morning my macbook is there ready to go.
Whatever it is, take these feelings and meditate on them – imagine taking that feeling of knowing into the security of ‘Yeah, I’ve got this great idea and I am secure in knowing that it’s not going to go anywhere.’
When you do this, you are training your brain to connect ‘inspiration’ with ‘knowing’ – knowing that, when the time comes, you will have exactly what you need to deliver on it.
There are plenty more tips and tricks, mindset strategies and practical tools you can use to step out of overwhelm and start using your creativity, inspiration and drive in a more effective way, and I shall be posting these in the next blog article so watch this space.
In the meantime, give these a go. And if you have any questions – contact me directly, I would love to hear from you 🙂