Feeling overwhelmed? There’s a solution

By Marianne Renner: Leadership Coach, Speaker, Author

One of the top issues I hear from people is that they’re stressed out, overwhelmed, and generally unhappy in at least one area of their lives. What’s more, the things that matter most are being neglected because too many things are pulling them in too many directions.

Sound familiar?

People explain to me that they need work/life balance. More often than not, however, there’s a different problem under the surface. What’s really going on when people are looking for work/life balance is that they are trying to react or respond to every circumstance or thought that gets their attention.

It’s just impossible to do it all. And more importantly, it’s a waste of your time, talent and potential to try to do it all. Here’s why: you have a unique purpose for your life. And if you are clear about your purpose, you can be much clearer about what action you need to take. If you’re not clear on your purpose, you spin your wheels, chase your tail and the result is lots of movement with no results.

One of the first things I do with clients is work with them to create a life purpose statement that serves as a guiding light – a North Star. Everyone has a purpose, but many of us don’t know what it is. Once you figure that out for yourself, life takes on a whole new meaning, and your decisions get much easier. The result is less tail-chasing.

Every decision you make, big or small, should move you in the direction of that North Star.

Each day, we’re faced with multiple decision points. Do I work late to finish a project, or do I get home to have dinner with the family? Do I go to the gym, or do I go the kids’ soccer games? But you try to squeeze it all in, and in the end, you’re miserable and exhausted.

Your North Star, or your purpose statement, helps you make decisions, both big and small. It helps you prioritize. It’s like having a destination plugged in to your GPS. Once you enter that address, the ride becomes much easier. Have you ever decided to go on vacation, get into the car, and start driving? Which direction would you go?  It’s pretty hard to go forward if you don’t have a pre-determined destination.

Having a purpose statement allows you to have that pre-determined destination. So then, you can begin to plan your route and get clarity on choices you want to make in all areas of your life. It’s not so much that people want “work/life balance,” rather they need to design what they want for their lives in areas of family, career, finances, physical health, spiritual health and social relationships.

If you want to reduce feelings of being overwhelmed and stressed-out, start by creating a purpose statement. Follow that up by creating specific goals for the areas of your life that matter most, based on that purpose statement.

Knowing your purpose and creating a plan to carry it out will be the most transformative actions you will ever take.

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