When you’re facing continuous overwhelm | MattFoxCoaching.com

When you’re facing continuous overwhelm

Feeling overwhelmed? Caught in procrastination or paralysis as a result?

Unable to switch off at the end of the day?

You’d think better time management or more efficiency would be the answer.

But they aren’t necessarily.
Nor are better boundaries.
Nor is getting better employees or having your wife/kids change their behaviour or demands of you.
Nor is working harder.

All of those things are about what's going on OUTSIDE of you.

And that's not the root cause of overwhelm.

The root cause is that our minds are spinning too fast.

And the mind is designed to settle on its own.  It really is. Let me explain.

A recent business-owning dad client of mine was convinced that the root cause of his stress and overwhelm was the continual demands his family were making of him, on top of all the effort he was putting into his business.

He’d tell me at length that his wife’s situation and needs meant he was having to pick up the kids more, spend time with them on homework, look after them at the weekend. He never had time for himself, let alone all his work.

He was so caught up in the frustration (and then resultant guilt) that it was driving him crazy.

His work was suffering. 

Between exhaustion and resentment, his focus dropped and he was caught in loops of procrastination.

Then the overwhelm kicked in because his to-do list was forever expanding, with no end in sight.

Most coaches (and clients when asked) would say these experiences were functions of poor time management, a lack of clear agreements and boundaries.

Or lack of self-care and self-prioritization.

That may well be true and are valid solutions to explore but if you look at it more closely, while all those things may help, they don’t tell the full story of what’s going on.

Nor are they guaranteed to change the game permanently.

So what is?

When I asked my client, ‘Is it true that you ALWAYS feel frustrated, guilty, overwhelmed etc in response to your home situation?’ he paused and reflected.

‘No’ he said.

‘Sometimes I seem to be able to cruise through the days; get everything done and none of it really bothers me.’

I wondered what he made of that realisation, that sometimes it’s all ok and sometimes it isn’t.

We dive into this more deeply in coaching sessions, pulling apart what’s actually going on in our experience.

As we explored this theme, my client started to see that the only difference between the two examples was his state of mind.

When I say he started to ‘see’, I mean that he understood the truth of what I was saying at more than an intellectual level.

It was a feeling that we were exploring something true at the level of principle, or universal truth.

You could say he felt it in his bones to be true…He could see that when he’s clear minded he’s also refreshed, open, grateful.

He has access to creative problem solving. He’s more loving and attentive to himself and his family.

What seems like a problem when his mind is preoccupied, uptight, resentful doesn’t seem like an issue when his mind is clear.

We look at other examples where this is true for him and his life.

Another, and it’s a really common one for many of us, is when driving. In a clear state of mind, he brushed off the erratic or dangerous behaviour of other drivers.

But when preoccupied, he would tip into fear or rage or even acting out.

All this points to one thing: it’s never the circumstances that create our experience.It’s all generated within us

We only ever experience life through the power of Thought.

Nothing is experienced without it. It’s the medium that draws our experience on the canvas of life.

Seeing that is a game changer, because we stop attributing the responsibility for our reactions to life events to the outside world.

We see that we are creating our own movie 100% of the time and our state of mind determines whether it’s a delightful experience or a horror show and anything in between.

The question that my clients always ask at this point is ‘so what can I do to be in that clear state of mind more?’

My answer is always the same.

There is nothing to do. Ever.

Our minds automatically return to their state of clarity if we leave them alone.

Think of a puddle stirred up with mud.

To have it go clear, there is nothing you can or need do. In fact, the more you try to clear it, the longer it stays muddier. It’ll come back to a clear state by itself.

The same is true for our minds.

You can check this for yourself.

Has there ever been a time when you didn’t come back to a clear state of mind at some point?No-one has ever been able to say no.

And if they hesitate, we can quickly find it isn’t the case when you really examine your days and weeks.

It’s so simple, when we truly see where our experience is coming from.

From that place of clarity, you will know what to do to move forwards and away from your state of overwhelm.It might be different each time.

One time it might just be to crack on with the first thing on the list.

Another it might be to take the morning off. 

Another it might be going for a walk before you start. Or yoga or journaling.


What I am sure of, is that when your mind clears, the insight you need for how to move forwards in a way that works for you (not a generic self-help formula or mind set technique) will become apparent to you.

That’s the beauty of this approach I teach.

You are unique and what works for you is best determined by you.

From that state of clarity and a quiet mind.In my coaching, I’ll either help you see, through gentle enquiry, whether you have the right solution for what’s on your mind at this point, or we’ll keep exploring, through further questions, stories and metaphors until we have reached that state of clarity.

You’ll know when you’ve got there, because you’ll experience an expansive and deep feeling of peace with whatever you choose.

I may also invite you to try out your new found insight through some experimentation outside of the session.

For example, with my business owning client, we agreed that when he started feeling uptight or frustrated with his family situation, he would slow down and get a sense of what he needed in that moment.

With careful listening to his deeper wisdom, he could see there was always a solution at hand. It might be to go for a brief walk or simply stand up and have a change of scene.

The shift in perspective was often enough for him to return back into a calmer and more centred state of mind, where he saw what was happening inside him with more understanding.

The overwhelm, procrastination, harsh self-talk that I mentioned at the top of this post are all common symptoms for the six figure plus business owning dads I help in my 6 month 1 on 1 online coaching program.

I show them how to go from living with workaholism, flirting with burnout and not being present, to creating a consistent level of inner peace, excitement, engagement, motivation and greater fulfilment in both their work and family life.

One of the first things we focus on is going beyond the state of overwhelm or being caught in procrastination to getting things done with a far deeper peace of mind.

If you’d like to find out more about how this programme can help you and if you’re a good fit, send me an email.