When Personal Development Gets Overwhelming…
Dear young change maker,
Yes, the quest for personal development can get exhausting, especially with the unprecedented amount of personal development opportunities in form of webinars, courses and the likes available these days.
You start to feel it when it constantly seems like your to-do list is an unending compilation of tasks. Even worse is the feeling of inadequacy, that you should be doing more, that even with all that you’re doing you’re missing out on a lot of other opportunities.
Then comes the information overload. You’re taking in much more information than you are putting to use. There’s so much information floating around in your head, you can’t even take a break to sort through them. It’s dizzying. Tiring.
You wonder why there are only 24 hours in a day and only seven days in a week, like shouldn’t there be more?? You are stressed out, overwhelmed, and on the verge of breaking down…
I see you. Just like you and thousands of other youth passionate about developing themselves and making positive impact, I’ve been there.
I’d like to share with you some things I’ve learnt about getting through this phase stronger and better, as well as proven ways to ensure you never go back there.
To begin with, personal development is a life long journey, not a destination. You need to understand that it’s not about how fast you rush or about how much you take on at once; it’s about constantly making sure that everyday, by an inch or a mile, you’re closer to your goals than you were the previous day. It’s about taking baby steps and trusting the process. You have your whole life to do this thing, why the rush? There’s a different assignment for every season of your life, take it season by season. Know what’s most beautiful about this journey? It’s the fact that it has no set duration. It’s morning for you whenever you wake up, like they say.
Constantly rushing through things without taking time to enjoy the process is disastrous. Don’t forget that even more important than the impact you make is the experience you get from the process of the making. In the same way, more important than the number of certifications you bag, courses you take, events you attend and activities you sign up for, is the lesson you learn from each one, and what you do with that knowledge.
Hence, the need for you to de-clutter. This is a major productivity and clarity hack. Sort through the overwhelming jumble of activities, events and programs you’ve filled your life with, and let go of those you no longer need or can no longer keep up with. Clear your desk, your calendar, your social media and your mail.
Does the content you see on your social media feed bring you peace, make you happy or grow you? Let go of those pages/accounts you’re following that don’t. Exit those WhatsApp groups you never go through or participate in. Unsubscribe from those email newsletters you never read…
So why is this so important? Apart from helping you feel less overwhelmed, de-cluttering helps you prioritize your stuff in line with your goals in order to focus on what’s most important.
Having said that, there’s obviously no use being a jack of all trades. Decide what you want to do, focus on it and master it.
The main reason you’re feeling overwhelmed is probably that you’re taking on too much at the same time. You’re trying to learn and practice, or be involved in, too many things at the same time.
I know you think being constantly busy with different things makes you productive, but you’re wrong. It scatters your energy into too many places, and this negates the law of focus. Focus requires you to concentrate your energy, time, strength and resources on one task and master it.
Think about this: How many people get recognized or acknowledged for being average in a field? None.
But how many become authorities to reckon with when they’re masters in their fields? Exactly.
This is why you need to focus on one thing, let go of everything else and master it.
Also, you should understand that you’re not competing with anyone. Don’t compare your self to anyone; your journeys are unique. Really, don’t put yourself under unnecessary pressure. I know sometimes it can feel like everyone else is doing so well or so much and has everything figured out, but don’t let it get to you in a negative way. Be happy for them and draw inspiration to do well as well, without pressure or intimidation, of course.
Talking to someone can be really helpful too. It’s a great way to de-clutter your mind, vent, be encouraged, inspired or motivated.
Get you someone that can re-ignite your fire when it seems like it’s getting dim. A mentor, friend or colleague could be great, just make sure the person understands what you’re dealing with and can be empathetic.
It’s a plus if he/she can provide you with practical “how’s” to get through your overwhelming phase.
Someone doing similar stuff to what you’re doing or someone that has done it before, for instance, could provide you with valuable insight.
Write in a journal if you don’t have someone to talk to. It has similar therapeutic effect.
Then of course, you need to rest. You’re not flash. Unapologetically take breaks when you need to; breaking down out of exhaustion would do you no good. Be intentional about setting aside time to recharge so you don’t get burnt out.
Don’t forget to celebrate your wins, no matter how little, while you’re at it too. They’re rewards of your hard work, so cheers to every single accomplishment and to all the others the future has in store.
There’s impact out there for you to make, change for you to cause, and achievements waiting to have your name attached. But to effectively do your best you need to be your best all round.
Bottom line? Take care of yourself! You should be able to do so using the tips shared in this post… They’re tried and trusted. ?
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