Turn overwhelm into power

by | 5 Apr, 2020

Turn overwhelm into power with these simple questions

We find ourselves in unprecedented times. The world is changing, and change can make us feel insecure and overwhelmed. If the old does not work anymore and the new has not yet arisen, what do we do?

Wouldn´t it be great if there was an answer that made it all clear again, a guideline, a manual on how to address these uncertainties? You can ask yourself two simple questions to turn overwhelm into power. 

When we feel overwhelm, panic or anxiety we tend to focus on the large dimension of the situation. We feel that the problems are so big, that the solution is out of our hands. And with the feeling that we cannot fix it, we feel a loss of control. And when we lose control, we feel a victim of the circumstances. With this trail of thoughts and emotions, we weaken and feel even worse. But the good news is that we can change our perspective and empower ourselves.

I have a favorite quote that I use in times of uncertainty:
“Accept what you can´t change, change what you can´t accept”

Below you can find 2 questions to ask yourself so you can change your attitude and turn overwhelm into power. What can I accept? What can I change?

Find your circle of influence

In this blog, I focus on 2 “simple” questions to address all our problems and worries. Accept or change. But what can you change and what do you need to accept? How do you decide?

There is a simple tool that can help you get clear and turn overwhelm into power. It is called the circle of influence. Maybe you already heard of it. This is a concept of Stephen Covey, explained in-depth in his book Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. This concept consists of 2 circles: the Circle of Concern and the Circle of Influence.

The Circle of Concern encompasses all concerns we may have big and small: about our health, finances, work, family, children, climate change, world famine, governmental decisions, war threat, etc.

The Circle of Influence encompasses those concerns that we can do something about. The concerns we have control over. The Circe of Influence is a smaller circle within the the bigger circle of concern. Understanding what this model looks like, you can ask yourself the questions: What can I change? What may I accept?

What can I accept?

I would like to invite you to take a pen and paper and write all your worries and concerns down. Next, take a closer look at the worries and decide if you have control over them. If you do, you write them in the smaller Circle of Influence. If you don´t you write them in the bigger Circle of Concern (but outside the Circle of Influence).

All the worries that are outside of your Circle of Influence are beyond your control. They may still affect you, you may be emotionally touched by them, but you know (and decided) that you can do nothing about it at this moment. So, would it not be more effective and satisfying to accept this and focus your time and attention on the things you can change?

What can I change?

The fun part starts here. Because you know what? You are powerful, you can change your situation, you have an influence over your life. Where? Well with all the things you have noted down in your Circle of Influence. Focussing on the things you can change and doing something about them makes you a proactive person. This is how you can turn overwhelm into power. Your decisions and actions matter and have a positive influence on your situation. Use this positive and effective approach and the situation will feel lighter right away.

And the more you dedicate your time and energy on the things that you can change, the larger your circle of influence becomes. Now you can make a list of all the things you can do to change your situation. Include the way you look at the situation. Your mindset and thoughts also lie within your circle of influence. Sometimes you cannot change a situation, but you can change your attitude. And if you find this hard right now, know that it is something you can learn. You can start with simple things.

Some examples of the circle of influence

Is climate change important to you? You can separate your trash, use less plastic, find alternatives for your car.

Are you worried about government decisions you don´t agree with? You can look for ways to make a positive impact on your community, your loved ones or improve your own life.

Do you feel anxious about this pandemic? You can focus on keeping your immune system strong, lend a helping hand to people in need (even virtually), stay at home, feed yourself with positive information about the situation.

Do you find it hard that you cannot leave your house? You can make the best of it, do things you normally don´t have time for, focus on what matters most in your life, be creative about what nice things you can still do.

Do you feel worried about the situation? You can look for activities that calm you down, meditation, yoga, breathing techniques, talk to a dear friend, look for the positive side.

Are you struggeling in a job you don´t like? You can take time to find out what you do want, apply for a different job, consider a sabbatical, hire a coach, start your own business.

Turn overwhelm into power – One baby step at the time

I am a personal fan of baby steps. Do you know why? Because you can always do baby steps. They are easy and help you move forward in a better direction. Right now. You can turn overwhelm into power. Just focus on what you CAN do, and you are halfway there. Because the moment you take responsibility, you become a cocreator of your reality. And you will see that things start to change for the better.

Let me know in the comments if this blog helped you to feel more empowered in these times of change. Do you want to talk to me personally about this subject and see how you can apply this to your life? Just send me an email or schedule a clarity session with me.


“Grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can,
and wisdom to know the difference.”

~ Francis of Assisi, Reinhold Niebuhr

Work with me

About the author of this blog post

Hi my name is Mirjam Overbeek, a Dutch Authenticity Coach living on Tenerife. 

I love helping women to reconnect with themselves and their dreams, stop living up to expectations of others and have the courage to pave their own unique path. I believe it makes the world a better place when we follow our heart. I offer 1-on-1 coaching via Skype & Zoom and retreats on Tenerife. 

Want to see what I can do for you? Schedule a free Clarity Call with me. It will give you instant clarity in the area of your life where you feel stuck right now.

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