Action Catalyst Blog

3 Words to Remember When You’re Totally Overwhelmed


Sooner or later in your life, you’ll feel overwhelmed.

Maybe it’s today.

You’re buried in email and completely behind on all of your to-do items.

Your house is a mess. There are clothes and toys all over the floor.

You haven’t done your taxes. Your bills aren’t paid.

At Southwestern Consulting, we’ve coached more than 9,000 people one on one.

That’s why I know that sooner or later everyone feels overwhelmed.

I know what it feels like.

I feel it too. I feel it regularly. I’m not any different from you.

It’s so discouraging when you’re working so hard for so long, and you feel like you can’t catch up.

Does this sound familiar?

You’re thinking, “It just never seems like I have one second to rest. I never answer all of my emails. My house is never clean. My to-do list never ends.”

The challenge is how to operate and respond in that moment of overwhelm.

I’m going to share the wrong way to react – and three words that will change your point of view.

You’re in the danger zone if you think things will never change and you decide to give up.

That’s why I want to share three words that will help.

I first heard these words my very first summer running a business, selling educational books door to door for Southwestern Advantage – that’s Southwestern Consulting’s sister company, which offers a summer work program for college students.

We worked a lot: We went door to door Monday through Saturday from 7:59 a.m. to 9:30 at night. And I did that for five summers when I was in college in graduate school.

Let’s go back to my first week of my first summer: On Sundays, when we weren’t selling, we’d have a weekly meeting with our teammates.

There was one message we received every Sunday – and this was delivered consistently delivered across all the organizations.

These were the three words everybody needed to hear on that first Sunday meeting after working 84 hours that week.

It’s just three words and it applies to your life, too.

It gets better.

It gets better.

It gets better when you’re frustrated, overwhelmed and exhausted.

It gets better when you’re tired and you want to give up.

It gets better when you feel like you’ve lost control.

It gets better when it feels like you’ll never catch up on your emails or housework or your to-do list.

Remember, it gets better. It does. It gets better and things get easier and you get stronger.

For more than 160 years, Southwestern has been teaching that idea (it gets better) to people who work in one of the tougher sales environments: going door to residential door.

When we’re overwhelmed, here’s the mistake we make: We think it’s permanent.

When we’re overwhelmed, we start to project and say, “This is what the rest of my life (or career) looks like, and I can’t take it.”

But, here’s the thing: It’s never going to be that hard forever. It gets better.

You have to just remember that.

You might have just had your first child and are up all night. Or you’ve started a new job and the work is really piling up.

Remind yourself that it gets better. It won’t be as hard as it is right now.

It gets easier as your perspective changes, and as you get smarter, tougher and stronger.

Don’t let yourself lose perspective.

Don’t project the difficult circumstances you’re facing now into believing it’ll be that way tomorrow, and the next day, and so, forever.

It’s about keeping perspective and reminding yourself that it gets better.

That’s just one of the things our coaches do at Southwestern Consulting. They can cheer you on when you lose perspective or feel overwhelmed. They can remind you that things do get better. They can offer techniques or strategies that can help you get back on track.

We offer one-on-one coaching for leaders and small business owners and anyone who’s growing a company. If you haven’t already done so, request a free call to learn about coaching.

In the interim, remember these three words if you’re feeling overwhelmed or buried or behind.

It gets better.

It really does.

2 Responses

  1. Love this! “It gets better” is SO TRUE!

    “This too shall pass.” That’s my go-to when life is out of control and I’m feeling overwhelmed. Great article, Rory!!

    • Ken Krahl says:

      The only reason I don’t use “This too shall pass,” is that it feels like wishing away / weathering the adversity instead of embracing the growth opportunity in it. It focuses on how bad the current situation is, instead of the way the current situation is the cost of growth.

      Not critical of that perspective in any way, though, it just doesn’t work for me personally. 😊

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