Everyone experiences overwhelm at some point. There will be times when all that is happening weighs heavily on your ability to show up in the way you want to be perceived. Your emotional intelligence may suffer.
It may be that you close up and avoid showing any of the emotions you feel.
Or you say something you wish you hadn’t.
Or you don’t say something that needed to be said because you feared looking bad, being blamed, or conflict.
Or maybe you inadvertently allow a flood of emotions to come forth, and you wish you hadn’t.
How do you know if you are overwhelmed? How can you pivot back to your emotionally intelligent self, as quickly as possible?
Overwhelm happens, but it’s temporary
You’re in a state of overwhelm when you feel that what is coming at you is too much to manage.
As a leader, overwhelm is not something you experience often. We have learned to delegate what another person can do faster (and often better) than we can.
At times, though, what needs to be addressed cannot be delegated. We can be faced with a mix of life and leadership responsibilities that must be led and/or managed by us.
Experiencing this unproductive state in overwhelm can cause you to feel even more off your game. You typically face all challenges with calm and grace, and you realize you are not doing so now.
People are looking to you to be the stable one, right? You can learn to be that for them (and for you), even in the midst of overwhelm.
Learn to pivot your state of mind from overwhelm-induced emotions to your desired emotionally intelligent self.
Practice being in your desired state
Consider your desired state—staying calm, being productive, and maintaining emotional intelligence in your communications. Now, when you are overwhelmed, you can practice returning to that desired state.
Practice getting clear. Get back in touch with your desired (clear) state and identify what steps you could take to return to it. A couple steps I’ve already talked about are pausing and a daily clarity practice.
Practice staying curious and not taking things personally. Whether you are staying curious about all that is happening around you, or curious about your feelings about yourself, or about someone else.
Practice courage to say what needs to be said.
Practice noticing without judgment. Practice not assuming intentions, and pause as needed if you feel triggered and consider how to approach that possible miscommunication.
When to address a communication gone wrong
If you experienced or caused bad communication, like the examples at the beginning of this newsletter—when do you revisit it? Do you revisit it at all? It depends. Would revisiting help the other person, or just you?
If you’ve experienced one or a few off moments, that feel awkward to you, but would have no different outcome if you revisited it, resist. At least for a bit. Give it a week, and check in to see if they are ok. You might ask if they have any questions or concerns about the last conversation. If they are having trouble even recalling what happened, just let it go, and pivot back yet again to your desired state.