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How to Get Back in the Driver's Seat

By Jose Briceno


We’ve all experienced that feeling of being overwhelmed at many different levels - some of us more often than not.


You know that feeling. The entire world crushing you down with its challenging demands and neck-breaking pace. You lose direction, and you feel like somebody else is driving you somewhere you don’t want to go. It’s unavoidable.


I’ve been there several times in my life, facing a colossal trial. And just when I get past it, thinking that’s the worst problem I’ve encountered, there’s another one coming around the corner.


Such is the nature of life, testing us and making us better and stronger with each challenge.


However, I’m a big believer in self-determination. Even though we cannot control how our problems are dealt to us, we are in control of how we handle them.


Granted, there will be situations you can’t fix, but for the most part these steps have helped me improve my outcome and do some damage control.


Reach out

It’s hard to focus when you’re not only experiencing, but living and breathing the problem. You might be so deep inside of it that you’re not even be aware of what the real problem is.


Ask for help, ideally someone you trust that is not personally involved in your issue.


Just expressing your thoughts out loud will make you either come up with potential solutions, or realize that the problem is not as bad as it sounded inside your head.


Don’t have anyone you trust? Write it down. Then, read it to yourself. Is the problem still big enough when you read it out loud? Probably not. We make up stories in our head that look less daunting when externalized.


Break it up in chunks

When you’re looking at the whole problem, it might seem massive and unsurmountable. So big and scary, that you can be paralyzed from its sheer size and complexity.


No matter what the dimension of the challenge is, there’s always a way to break it up in smaller, more manageable segments.


Say no, and say it often

If you’re anything like me, you’ll want to participate in everything, spend time with everyone, and pursue every project that comes across you.


I have to do some house cleaning from time to time to keep my sanity.


Start cutting down the things you don’t need, the commitments that drag you down. The less burden you have to carry, the more energy you can devote to solving the issues that matter.


Take small actions

I’m always surprised at how I can make a huge challenge more manageable by just saying no to a couple things.


Select those little situations you can deal with, and take care of them swiftly, one at a time. The feelings of both relief and accomplishment from those small acts will drive you forward to tackle the big challenge.

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