Case Story: William

In this section I present just a few of the clients who have used the strategies in this book to end their sense of being overwhelmed. You will see that their overwhelm shifts by shifting themselves – their patterns of LAB and their beliefs – rather than by changing the outside world. I share their stories in the hope that you will see that no matter your situation, you, too, can end your overwhelm now. The tools that supported each client in their shift are in bold text. You can find interviews and more stories on our website:


William is a corporate trainer in a high-tech company. I was impressed with how confident he was in designing and delivering any kind of training his company needed. The prospect of teaching communication skills to a room full of senior engineers made William’s eyes light up. That confidence quickly turned to overwhelm as William described the business he wanted to start. He was clear on the products and services to offer, but all the business details of creating an online training company made him panic. “I’m like the deer in the headlights,” he admitted one day. “I know I have to move or die, but I just can’t get myself to go.” No matter how much good advice his friends offered, William was immoveable. In fact, the good advice just overwhelmed him with even more things to do.

I began by explaining the “freeze” reaction of the brain when it thinks it’s under threat, and asked William to take a few deep breaths to relax and to trust that we could find an answer to his challenge. I asked “What specifically is causing your feeling of overwhelm right now about your new business.” We had to narrow his attention to get to the heart of what was going on. William identified that there were two areas of the new business where he felt totally inept: the website and social media. I asked him to identify the next 1 – 2 steps that he could take in each of those areas.

That step helped us clarify that he needed some specific resources to help him in those areas: a web developer and a social media expert. But the prospect of hiring those resources was daunting because it was new. So we then identified some business associates who could offer recommendations.

The next worry that came up was time. William said, “I should get this all done by the end of the month.” The language of “should” was starting to trigger his overwhelm again. To redirect the disempowering language, I asked about William’s process for putting together a training program. He described how he put sections of the training on the floor, and physically “walked” himself through his training. Focusing on using his strengths reignited William’s confidence. So that’s how we scheduled his business activities: he put the individual steps on pieces of paper, laid them out on the floor, and “walked” himself through the steps of getting help for his business. With that, it was easy for William to schedule each of the activities in his calendar. Each time one of those tasks appeared on his calendar, he got excited that he was moving one step closer to his business. Instead of being frozen by the lack of clarity, he was focused on using his strengths to move forward. He even came to think of himself as a “business man” instead of a “trainer.” The last I heard from William, he enjoyed the process so much he had laid out a fitness program in exactly the same way.


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