Starting a new semester, assignment or work project can be quite daunting. It’s easy to get ourselves into a tailspin wondering: Do I have the skills to do this and do it well? Am I in over my head on this task? How will I ever finish these tasks on time and everything else on my plate? At times, the flurry of questions may continue to swirl around in our head and prevent us from taking any action.
First, and perhaps most important is to remember that we all have these moments. There’s some comfort in knowing that everyone, even the most seemingly “together” people all go through moments of panic, wonder, and feeling overwhelmed when something new or challenging comes their way. It’s a very typical reaction.
So, what do we do in these moments? How do we get past these halting thoughts and get started on the task at hand?
The first lesson I’ve learned in these instances is that getting started is often the hardest part. Once you get a plan in place, the first few words on paper, or the initial step of the project completed, the rest starts to fall into place. Suddenly, that impossible task starts to look less daunting and more doable.
Another trick-of-the-trade is to take anything that is overwhelming in the moment and simply stop for a moment. Take a few deep breaths and break it down into small bite-size pieces. This not only will not only clearly define next steps, but it will also take a seemingly impossible tasks and transition them into a handful of very doable tasks.
There’s an excellent bonus that comes with that last step. You will feel a great sense of accomplishment as you progress through each task. You won’t have to wait until the end of the project to feel success; you will feel success every step of the way and that success will motivate you toward completing the next step. Before you know it, the task or project will be completed and you will have done it: achieved the seemingly impossible and made it possible!
What’s the bigger lesson here?
Remember this moment and the success that followed. Why? Because throughout our entire lives we go through periods where opportunities will come our way. They can be ones that stretch our skills in new ways or ones that happen to come at busy times in our lives. Either way, those feelings of being overwhelming can quickly come swirling in. If they do, you will have moments like the above to boost your confidence (“I’ve done it before; I can do it again!”). Plus, you can leverage your tried-and-true strategy of breaking the task down into bite-size pieces to get you to the finish line!
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