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Could Your Dreams Be Killing You

Could Your Dreams Be Killing You

Starry Night

By: Zachary Lee

Last week I met with a client who had well over 10 large priorities that had to get done in the next few weeks.

My client was exhausted. My client didn’t know how he was going to get it done. My client was me.  Sound familiar?

Too often I find myself overwhelming myself by attempting to achieve my dreams in the fastest way possible. I get caught up in the rat-race of getting ahead and being the first-mover. First-mover for this, and first-mover for that. I don’t care if it’s for getting my kids ready in the morning to attempting to have the most productive day of my life – I can easily fall into the trap of overwhelm and over-do if I’m not careful.

If I’m able to step-back from myself for a second, I start to see more than a few flaws in my thinking and emotional responses when I’m trying to accomplish too much at one time:

1. Tunnel-vision: I lose the ability to stay on top of everything else I have going on in my life; both personal and work related.

2. Anxiety: I cause an increased level of stress and anxiety not only for myself but for those around me. When I get stressed I tend to have a harsher tone in my voice, be shorter with others and not be able to think as clearly.

3. Self-comparison with others: This can be a killer. Someone you know really well just landed this huge project or accomplished this amazing goal – and your immediate response to their success is asking your “What the heck have I been doing?”

Here are three ways to get yourself back on track if you have found the overwhelm and under-deliver bug starting to bite you in the heels:

1. Relax: Seriously, relax. Take a deep-breath and remember one thing. It’s probably not that important. Sure, it may seem high on the priority list right now, but in three months are you really going to care that much about what your worrying about let alone even remember it? Try to put what your focusing on so intently into perspective.

2. Everyone has a back story: Sure, on the outside the person you are comparing yourself to might seem like they have it all together (and maybe they do) but you don’t know everything that has gone into launching their success today. Dave Ramsey said it best, “Remember, you work your tail off for fifteen years and you are suddenly an overnight success.”

The next time you start comparing yourself to others – stop! Compare yourself of “right now” to your “morning self“. Have you grown? Are you better version of yourself? Have you accomplished another step toward your overall dream? Remember, it’s the tiny incremental moves that we make on a daily basis that typically win us the race and get us to where we actually want to go. Real overnight successes are far and few to come by and often leave the person in those shoes so overwhelmed and overmatched that they don’t know what to do when their dream becomes a reality. Success is great and I’m for it as much as the next person, but enjoy your journey. You only get one and it’s yours. Own it.

3. Find a mentor or a coach: My most influential mentor in my life has been my father – both personally and professionally. He has the rare ability to take himself out of a personal situation and see it for just for what it is – nothing more, nothing less. He has shown me wisdom and empathy in high-stress situations and been a phenomenal sounding board for me. It’s been a great gift that he has shared with me over the years and passed along to me as a husband, father, and entrepreneur.

My favorite part of my company is that I have the opportunity every week to coach individuals and couples for relationship coaching and career coaching. It’s amazing to see the breakthroughs that people make when they are being held accountable by a coach.

In a study done by the Center for Leadership Development and Research at Stanford University found that nearly two-thirds of CEO’s don’t receive coaching or independent council outside of their board, but nearly 100% of the CEO’s said  they enjoyed the process of being coached and receiving feedback from someone outside of their organization (1).

Whether your a new to your company, a mid-level manager or and executive it pays to hire a coach.  The fact is that no matter what position you hold within an organization you will never have all of the answers and your not supposed to.  Coaching can help build your confidence, your thought-process, help you build clarity and direction for making better decisions and teach you valuable skills like conflict resolution.

Coaching Solutions For You

Executive Coaching Survey from Stanford


(1) Stanford Graduate School of Business 2013 Executive Coaching Survey. By. David F. Larcker, Stephen Miles, Brian Tayan, Michelle E. Gutman. (https://www.gsb.stanford.edu/faculty-research/publications/2013-executive-coaching-survey