A couple weeks ago in episode #127 of the podcast, we shared our advice for overcoming the rockblock of feeling so overwhelmed you could not move forward towards your best life. This is a huge challenge many of you have mentioned to us and we talked about our own personal struggles and the actions we’ve taken to make it through.
In response to this show we’ve received emails and messages from all over the world, sharing personal experiences with us. One of these stuck out as she asked if she could share her story with you here on the website. We loved the idea. As a result we’re delighted to introduce you to Kathleen Ventura as she tells the 4 steps she’s used to overcome the feeling of overwhelm in her life. Be sure to check out Kathleen’s website as well for more insights to help you live the life you desire.
Take it away Kathleen:
When we make the decision to chase our best life, the journey ahead seems daunting. Choosing to actively participate in this creation means battling big obstacles, the kind that will make us want to quit and go right back to our comfort zones.
Those who most successfully create their best life are the ones who recognize that these challenges are a necessary part of the journey. What’s most important is not the obstacle itself but how we handle it.
Feeling overwhelmed is one of the most common things to get in our way. We’re mystified about how and where to start, worry that we won’t meet our own expectations, and concerned about what others might think of us. This is exactly how I felt when I started my own journey.
In 2012, my husband and I quit our 9-5 jobs, sold everything, and travelled the world for two years. I created a life of freedom, but I knew I’d only be fully happy once I started to share that with others. That’s when I decided to start my coaching business and help women to create their own dream lifestyles.
After making that decision, the overwhelm started creeping in. A major part of my problem was the set of beliefs I had about myself: that I didn’t l know enough, that people would think I’m a fraud, and that I didn’t have enough money to do this. I was overwhelmed with the steep learning curve of entrepreneurship and I just didn’t know where to start.
I couldn’t wrap my head around how I could ever get from where I was to the vision I held of my best life. That big “how” was paralyzing me.
This is the part of the journey where a lot of stories end – people give up because the overwhelm gets the better of them. But it’s a necessary part of the journey and achievement, so we have to tackle it head-on to come out the other side.
Here’s how to overcome everything getting on top of you, and focus on creating your best life.
Step 1. Make the decision.
What is it that you want?
Answer this question, and get crazy specific about it. Do you want to write a book, leave your job, find love, start a local charity, have location independence, be an artist?
Figuring out the who, what, when, and where of your best life will create a goal in your mind. The clearer that vision is the easier it will be to know what steps to take towards it.
I looked at my decision and clarified it, so that it eventually looked like this: I want to help women create freedom that they desired through entrepreneurship. I will work with them privately and from wherever in the world. I want it in 2015. I want to live in a small town and share my life with my husband. I want to feel healthy, excited about my work, and authentically seen.
What would your own mission statement for your best life read like?
Step 2. Take intentional action
Come up with a series of intentional actions that will move you in the direction of your best life. In the beginning, these actions are bite-sized: putting something on a calendar, signing up for a class, or telling someone in order to make it feel real, for example.
Making these actions small to create a step-by-step effect will help you tackle feeling overwhelmed. You know that they’re all working towards the bigger picture and your best life, but they don’t come with that daunting feeling. Think of it like a puzzle – lots of little, calculated moves creating one big outcome.
When I started my coaching business, I thought about all I had to do – and it terrified me. It was one big ball of uncertainty. My first steps were half-assed because I was chased away by the monster that is overwhelm, and became more concerned about protecting myself from that.
Eventually, I knew I had to snap out of it. I read books, attended events, told people about my coaching business, hired a friend to help me, learned how to give webinars, and much more. I took each task as it came to me, doing everything bit-by-bit and regularly, to keep my momentum up.
Even if the steps don’t feel huge, know that everything you’re doing is working towards your best life. This is a marathon, not a sprint – all of your efforts will come back to you tenfold as long as you keep your actions intentional and focused.
Step 3. Open yourself to receive
The most important step, but the most frequently overlooked. We can hustle and take action all day, but if we aren’t open to receiving our best life then we won’t notice when it shows up.
You have to genuinely believe you are worthy of your best life, which comes with opening yourself to kindness, abundance and happiness. Give yourself permission to have exactly what you want.
To start receiving greatness fully, begin by being comfortable with general kindness. When someone offers to pay for your lunch, don’t argue with them – say thank you. When someone tells you how great you look, don’t fuss about it – say thank you. When someone offers you their seat on public transportation, to open the door for you, or gives you an unexpected gift – say thank you. This is a simple way of conditioning yourself to feel worthy of receiving abundance.
Step 4: Celebrate
We have a bad habit of reserving celebration for major milestones – graduations, weddings, birthdays – but on your journey towards your best life you need to celebrate everything.
Every glimpse of progress, every bit of good news, each potential growth opportunity, and every single time a person says they believe in you – all of it. Celebrating progress is rooting positive experience into your mind. It’s a way of letting the world know what you want more of.
How you celebrate is up to you; go out to eat and order dessert first, take a day off, upgrade to first class tickets, get together with people who support you, buy yourself flowers, hire a sitter, plan a trip, or open a great bottle of wine.
I was crippled by overwhelm when I first thought about starting my business. Now, I live in one of the most beautiful places on earth, coach dream clients, hang out with the love of my life, hike with my dog and travel when it suits me. Right now we are planning to build a shipping container house on land in Arizona where we will grow all of our own food. This is my best life.
Your best life is within reach. By blessing the journey and taking intentional action, you can battle the overwhelm that’s getting in your way.
Kathleen Ventura is a transformational life and business coach, a TEDx speaker and a whole foods enthusiast. Making a move in 2012 that would terrify even the bravest of non-conformists, Kathleen quit her high-pressure sales job in the city, sold everything and set out to ride her bike across the United States. After 2 years of perpetual travel, she found her calling as a life and business coach for beginner female entrepreneurs. Kathleen now coaches women on the verge of quitting their day job to step into full time entrepreneurship. You can learn more about her work by signing up for her free training Coaching 101: A Beginner’s Guide to Starting a Coaching Practice.