Posted on Sep 3rd, 2006

Ever had a week, or month or how about a summer that was so overwhelming, so chaotic that you simply didn’t know where to start to get back on track?

You may not have any control over the thing (or things) that set off the chaos but you still have to deal with the ramifications. Often on top of the physical presence of the chaos there is also internal emotional turmoil that suddenly boils up from who knows where.

For example, this is going back to school time. For those of you who have young kids it often means the end to summer…sanity is around the corner. But for those of you whose kids are "coming of age" it may mean they are off to college and that could mean they’re moving out of the house and sometimes out of state.

Regardless of how often you thought you’d be glad when the day came that they were leaving…now that it’s here it can be a real emotional ringer. I’ve got several clients that feel like they are on an emotional rollercoaster for just this reason.

Added to that emotional turmoil is the feeling they have left so much undone during this time, they don’t know where to start.

Or maybe you’ve been away for close to a week attending your company’s annual event. You’ve been exposed to a lot of information. You’re excited and rearing to go. But you’re feeling overwhelmed. "Where do I begin" and feeling behind in your day to day life. So what do you do…often we do nothing.

Neither of the above examples are what train wrecked me this last week. But that is exactly how I feel overwhelmed and on an emotional rollercoaster. What caused the sky to fall for me? Technical difficulties.

My email account (Outlook) went down and I’ve been unable to access any of my files nor can I get or send emails. This is huge for me as I do a lot of my business using email. Believe me for the first couple of days, the sky was falling.

Loosing my folders would be awful and being virtually off line for a week has sent things into a real tizzy.

I felt so far behind that it seemed I’d never catch up and I was really at odds as to where to begin.

Where do you begin when this happens?

This is what I did and I hope the process helps you. I made a list of all the things I could think of that were lurking out there playing on my mind. All the things that were left undone while the distraction was taking my time…this newsletter was one of them. It was "due" on the 15th and here it is the 18th and still not out.

Once I got the list of projects in front of me that were undone (and making me crazy) it was easier (and much less frightening) to choose the first one to do.

In this case it was the newsletter. I decided that was my first project.

Did that fix everything?

No, I’m still behind and feeling angst (and Outlook is still not working right). So the next thing I did was stand back a bit and take a look at how I was dealing with the situation.

Here is what I heard, "You need to tell those Microsoft guys that you’re out of time, and they need to do whatever it takes to get this fixed." Clever huh, do I really think these guys are not doing everything they can to fix this problem? Here’s another gem, "Everything is still sitting there, when will it get done. You’re going on vacation next week, how can you do that with this mess?"

What I heard was all the negative chatter reinforcing how far behind I was and all the things that I "should" be doing. It became apparent that this was a job for the "Tom and Jerry" solution. For those of you who don’t know the Tom and Jerry solution see my ezine # 6. It was time to "thank it for sharing, flick it off my shoulder and listen to something constructive, something positive."

Don’t be so hard on yourself

And this ladies and gentlemen is really the entire reason for this article. So many of us think we are supposed to "get perfect" and stay that way. When the real trick is to recognize when you are off schedule, off kilter or in anyway out of sorts or out of focus … and simply come back to focus.

As soon as I decided I was going to put the "distraction" on the back burner (even for just a little while) and focus on something I knew I had control over, things began to clear for me.

Oh the negative chatter didn’t stay away very long - at first. But what did happen immediately, I was able to refocus much more quickly. So the amount of time I was "spinning" doing nothing of real value got shorter and shorter.

And that’s the trick. It isn’t how much is undone, or how long you’ve been off track, that really makes for failure. What trips us up is not coming back to focus.

Everyone gets off focus. What makes for success is to keep coming back.

And here’s one last thought on that. Come back congratulating yourself. Yep, congratulating yourself.

You have a couple of choices in this situation (at least). You can be really annoyed with yourself for "being off focus again." Or you can congratulate yourself for recognizing you were "off" and bringing yourself back.

Which do you think will be the most productive? (Let’s see, is the glass half full or half empty?)

Remember the hash mark exercise from the last ezine and try that here. When you realize you’re "off focus" add one of those hash marks to your collection. But do with congratulations for being aware that you were off focus.

What happens as soon as you are aware you’re off focus?

Right, you back on track.

Be good to you when things out of your control suddenly take over. And as soon as you can, take a break from the chaos and do something that moves your life forward. The chaos will still be there waiting for you…(or maybe not) when you return to it. Recap of steps

In its essence pretty simple really:

1. Stand back from the situation and make a list of everything that is undone

2. Pick something that’s important to you from the list. (Everything important? Choose something you can complete fairly easily and quickly.)

3. Using the Tom and Jerry exercise from ezine #6 and break the negative chatter pattern.

4. Congratulate yourself for recognizing when you’re off focus. Great job, you’re aware!

I’d love to hear how this works for you, please email me and let me know.

May all your hassles be little and your (re)focus strong! :)

© 2006 Jillian Middleton All rights reserved.

Jillian Middleton is a Mentor Coach and Trainer, and author of the courses ‘5 Steps to Working Less and Making More in Network Marketing’ and Setting Up Your Store Hours. As creator of the ‘Savvy Sponsoring Strategies’ Program, Jillian trains network marketers and direct sales consultants the same strategies she used to build two 6-figure network marketing businesses in 5 years. For more information on Jillian or her programs visit

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