Career, Overwhelmed

Feeling Overwhelmed by a Goal

A common theme among my clients is a desire to make a change in life, but feeling uncertain how to create this change.  The overriding emotion in these situations is feeling overwhelmed.  It can be hard to know where to start.   You might feel like the task is too daunting.  You may have no idea where you want to end up.  You may feel unqualified for what you’d like to do, or afraid if you make a change you’ll be even unhappier than where you are currently.  

Let’s look at a common example: “I don’t like my current job, and I want a new job.”.  Sometimes, we know we’re unhappy in our current position – but we are uncertain how to change it – or even if we can.  We don’t know if we want to move forward in our current organization, start our own business, pursue a new industry, go back to school, or even move to another state or country….  

Carrying all of those mixed desires, questions, fears, and feelings is overwhelming, and we become paralyzed as a result – unable to take steps forward, feeling stagnant, and frustrated with our lack of movement.  The result is a growing unhappiness with our current situation, resentment towards the job we’re doing, envy at others who seem to be happy with their work, and increased irritability with ourselves and loved ones.  

So what do you do?  How do you manage feeling overwhelmed?  Well, if we think about it, “Get a new job” isn’t just one task – getting a new job actually involves many tiny steps along the way.  If we break down the steps that are involved in this change, everything begins to feel a lot more manageable.  Writing down each step helps you organize your thoughts, as well as visually see the tasks before you.  

When we feel overwhelmed by a goal, the approach is to break it down.

It’s important to break things down into their smallest pieces – into whatever feels manageable for you.  It’s also important to set realistic, comfortable deadlines for the tasks – so you don’t feel overwhelmed by having to cram everything into one weekend, for example.  

It can be tempting to begin our get-a-job list with “Update resume”.  But even that task has many small steps involved, and can feel overwhelming at times.  This is where breaking things down to their smallest steps becomes important.    

Here how your list may start:  

  1. Locate resume
  2. Review resume
  3. Update resume with needed changes, new job info, etc
  4. Send resume to friends and colleagues for review
  5. Follow up with friends and colleagues for their feedback
  6. Incorporate changes or edits from feedback

Take a goal, and break it into bite-sized pieces.  

If you are feeling overwhelmed, having a space to talk and someone to guide you through your process can be helpful.  If you would like assistance working towards career changes, or dealing with feeling overwhelmed, please feel free to click here to make an appointment, or email at

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