• Helen Hattingh

Autopilot - it's no way to get where you want to be!

There are days in my life when I feel that I am being pulled in 100 different directions at the same time. Demands on my time from others make me feel overwhelmed and/or incapable, and it feels like I am a dumping ground for everyone to drop the tasks they don’t feel like tackling themselves.

I know it’s time to say no in order to preserve my sanity and to find time to dedicate to what I want, but there is a sense of failure because I can’t cope with what is being thrown at me and a sense of letting people down because I can’t get it all done. Have you ever felt like this?

Often when you are trying to work full time, raise a family, and support your spouse, walk the dog and cope with the laundry, you lose yourself and go into autopilot. You get into this cycle of putting your needs at the bottom of the pile and leaving them there until you don’t even know that you have needs any more. Every day starts with a feeling of broken promises to yourself. Your life is not what you want it to be but there seems to be no respite from the drudgery of getting things done and keeping the ball in play.

No matter how hard you try to prioritize what’s important to you and how you envisage your day, the wheels fall off as soon as the alarm clock goes off. Sound familiar?

Stop being so hard on yourself, is my first piece of advice to you. By acknowledging your feelings of inadequacy and guilt for not accomplishing more, you are identifying that there is something lacking in your life. Is there a purpose to what you are doing every day?

What would happen if you said no to things being added to your plate that’s already overloaded? By doing everything for everybody, you are taking away their ability to function without you. You are allowing them to use you as a crutch. It seems far simpler to take over roles and responsibilities others should, for their own good, take on for themselves.

This was something that I battled with for several years and I often wonder why I did not take responsibility and look after myself and my well being first. You need to have your own back and be secure and comfortable with your thoughts about yourself and what it is that you’re chasing.

By identifying what’s on top of your priority list for yourself, you will be in a better position to delegate, take responsibility for the tasks you’re responsible for, and say no to what does not serve you.

By unpacking what makes you feel overwhelmed, one tends to unearth the reasons for these feelings. This is a critical step when you want to initiate change. Why are you overwhelmed? Can you change this feeling by recognizing it at the onset and identifying what exactly it is that creates this emotion. By acknowledging the emotion, you can choose whether you want it to rule you - or whether you want to rule it. Recognize it, acknowledge it and then choose how you want to respond to it.

Whilst I spent several years in the spin cycle of the washing machine, I only spent a couple of hours changing my reaction to it.

Once you disrupt the emotion from auto pilot to requiring your consent to be activated, you release the stronghold it has over you. There is a reason why all the gurus say that you need to love yourself before you can love others.

Once you have clarity of the situation and don’t let the overwhelm set in uninvited, things will seem a whole lot better. It may seem counter productive to stop the bus and draw up a plan of action to tackle all that is required to do, but this hour or two that you take to plan your tasks and list them according to priority and delegate what can be delegated and say no to what does not serve you, life becomes a whole lot simpler and happier. The time you take to sift through the stuff that is causing the overwhelm is negligible, compared to the continued disgruntles, frustration and inability to focus on the tasks at hand and manage them efficiently and with care and enthusiasm.

Is it time for you to stop the bus and evaluate where this feeling of being overwhelmed comes from? Let me help you with a free session to initiate lasting changes that will have you back in the driver’s seat of your life in no time. Stop going round in circles. Let’s get you back on track.

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