Buck Up or Go Home

What do you do when you're overwhelmed?Maybe I need to work on my people skills, but I’m not overly fond of the “overwhelmed” excuse. It fails to impress. It smacks of whining, and whining was forbidden when I was a child.*

It’s not that I don’t understand what it is to be overwhelmed. I do. I simply refuse to stay in that overwhelmed state. I might shed a few tears – maybe more – but I eventually find something, anything to do. Doing something has to be better than doing nothing.

Business owners, though, sometimes tout the overwhelmed excuse as a reason not to invest in social media or blogging or any other new initiative. It’s an understandable reason, albeit a short-sighted one. If business owners already feel overwhelmed by the idea of trying something new or changing current processes, how much more overwhelmed are they going to feel months and years later?

The answer to feeling overwhelmed isn’t to go home. It isn’t found in a refusal to change, adapt, or try new things. It’s found in bucking up, in seeking long-term solutions and prioritizing the actions that need to be taken in order to achieve those solutions.

Will that mean more work? Will it mean additional time spent learning new tools and deciding upon strategies? Will it mean that some business owners will have to continue feeling overwhelmed for a season? Yes, yes, and yes.

The other alternative – going home – is no solution. It is a death knell. If business owners don’t buck up, they eventually will see the inevitable results: customers will leave them for businesses that are changing and adapting.

What do you do when you feel overwhelmed?

*Originally published November 2011.


  1. I am big in to lists. I like to make them old school pen and paper style for the thrill of saying “check!” aloud when things are done.  If I am really overwhelmed, using lists help me trace required action back to a logical starting point, then make a reasonable plan for how it can all be accomplished. Even my lists have lists, but it helps me keep focused. On a personal front, yoga is my sanctuary.  Hitting up an hour of sweaty silence in the hot room is guaranteed to calm my monkey mind and provide much needed perspective. 

    •  @RebeccaTodd I prefer Krav Maga, but I’m violent like that. 😉
      Lists are great, too. I love crossing items off the list.

  2. I prioritize, organize and then make a list. A nice break is a walk to calm myself down too.

    •  @lisabuben290 I usually make the list first, then I prioritize and organize it. I’m not sure what that means. Hmm. 🙂
      Thanks for the comment, Lisa!