If you are a leader, then there are times you will be overwhelmed. It seems to come with the title. What do you do when you are in over your head?
No matter how confident and secure you are in your current position, you will probably experience one, if not all, of these scenarios:
- You don’t have the answer.
- You have used all your skills and still come up short.
- The situation is of the utmost importance.
- You feel like every step forward takes you two steps backwards.
}- You leave the office or your team and feel you accomplished nothing.
- You are beyond exhausted and think you might fall asleep standing up.
I can’t speak for you, but I have been there. Ironically and humbly, most of us will welcome the opportunity to be overwhelmed in our leadership because we like the challenge and the growth that comes from it.
When you find yourself in this situation (or you are leading someone else that is), here are a few suggestions:
Be honest with yourself first, and then tell someone else. You can't always “fake it until you make it.” At some point you will realize that pretending to know all the answers will lose the respect of those you lead. All of us have been overwhelmed. Own it. Come clean. Then begin to move forward.
“Hello. My name is JT and I am overwhelmed.”
Take a deep breath. Take a walk. Go for a jog. Take a break outside. Get away. Reflect. Take a personal retreat. Get to a place where you can think clearly. Most of the time this is away from distractions and people. You are going to get through this.
Who do you go to for help? I still talk to my dad. I also have an inner circle of men who I go to for counsel. These men are usually on the outside looking in and give me a fresh perspective. Find someone who has been where you are now.
All situations and failures are opportunities to learn. Take notes of your journey through this situation. How did you get in this mess? How did you get out? What would you have done differently? Get ready and excited for the next time you are overwhelmed. You are being stretched in your leadership; that is why you are overwhelmed. Before that next time comes, what steps are you taking to learn this lesson?
Push through this overwhelming period, don’t do it alone, and become better.