| 3 min read

Processing Overwhelm: How I deal with my own paralysis

I have to be honest, things have been HARD for me too.

I am a one woman show running this business, a working mom. I have lost a family member in the last month, had close friends diagnosed with terminal illnesses, lost childcare (again), all while trying to navigate and manage COVID/reopening/re-closing/health/sanity/showering/etc. Talk about processing overwhelm.
Sound familiar? I’m SURE it does.

Why am I sharing my personal stuff with you? It’s certainly not because I think I’m the worst off. I understand my incredible privilege even in this challenging time.
I’m sharing because things are just objectively HARD, and they are understandably overwhelming and challenging for almost everyone in different ways. So many of my clients are beating themselves up about what they feel right now – unmotivated, exhausted, stressed, scared etc.

non profit development coaching involves giving yourself the permission to feel overwhelmed

But those feelings are totally normal and don’t deserve judgement, they deserve support.

So I want to tell you what I personally do to address these feelings. I do this every day, multiple times a day.

1. I give myself permission to FEEL overwhelmed (or whatever feeling is coming up for me). This is critical. If you don’t do this step it means you’re judging yourself and as you know from my free webinar, judgement keeps you in catabolic energy.
2. I ask myself how I WANT to feel right now. Do I want to stay in my pitty party? The answer is sometimes, YES. So those times I do, and let myself feel all my feelings with the love and compassion I would provide a friend. Even by choosing this option, I instantly feel better. But most of the time, I want to feel differently. So if that’s the case…
3. I trace my feeling to the thought that I am having. Sometimes in this current climate those thoughts have been things like:

  • I have no control over what’s happening right now and that feels really scary
  • This challenging situation is going to last forever and I can’t do this forever
  • How can I make decisions when I don’t know what’s going o happen/be changed tomorrow

4. Then I really drill down around those thoughts. I get curious, I poke holes in this assumed ‘story’. And then I change the story. Here is what some of my internal dialogue sounds like:

  • I might not have full control but I don’t need full control. What do I have control over? How can I exercise my choices and control in ways that help me move forward?
  • Nothing last forever, everything is impermanent. That is something that makes you sad when you’re experiencing extreme joy but how can you use that truth to support yourself here?
  • Every day, in this ever-changing environment, I need to make the best decision possible with the information I have. I might have new information tomorrow and I will live by ‘know better do better’. Inaction is not helping me get what I want, only action will, even imperfect action. If tomorrow I have to change everything, I will be compassionate, understanding and loving with myself.

one of the questions to ask a fundraising consultant is how I want to feel right now

I hope my transparency around my own process both helps you give yourself a freaking break (!!), and gives you a new practice for processing overwhelm that you’re dealing with in your own life.

If you’re interested in processing your overwhelm in a more personalized way, I am currently at a waitlist until August 15th, but you can still book a discovery session today to find out how working together 1:1 can support YOU.

In service,

national fundraising consultants trace their feeling to the thought that they are having

For more of my favorite fundraising tips and tricks, check out my Resource page! Here, you can find relevant articles, webinars, quizzes, etc. about fundraising in the nonprofit sector. In addition, you can subscribe to What the Fundraising for ongoing conversations about how you can fundamentally change the way you lead and fundraise. And to learn how to raise more from the right funders using the Power Partners Formula, you are always welcome to join one of my free Masterclasses at malloryerickson.com/free.

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