One piece at a time

She built a multi-million dollar business. She believes her problem is marketing. The customers are not coming anymore. The product isn’t selling. The location is no longer working. We talk through the problems, and we peel back the layers. After twenty minutes of conversation, she zeroes in on the root of her anxiety, saying, “I am so overwhelmed.” If I talk to a prospective client long enough that word – “overwhelmed” – inevitably bubbles up.

It isn’t just mentioned in conversations with multi-million dollar business owners; it shows up in conversations with those just launching their business and those looking to take their business to the next level. So where does this sense of “overwhelm” come from? I believe it is a derivative of underestimating the power of a simple plan. Overwhelm is a bi-product of trying “all of the things” in order to make one stick. It is produced by thousands of ideas and thoughts swirling around in our minds, with no clear vision in place and no clear plan to execute.

There is power in simplicity. There is power in considering all information, thoughts, and ideas, then sorting through them, naming your ultimate goal, and pursuing that goal with a precise and simple plan of action.

Take, for example, a 5,000-piece puzzle. Empty the pieces onto a large table and look at those thousands of pieces, all with slightly different shapes and a tiny portion of a much larger picture, and the thought of building anything workable is overwhelming.

On the other hand, prop the cover on the table, absorb the details of the larger picture, arrange all of the corners, and then all of the edges begin to build to something solid – a beautiful picture, the product of a plan to work through the details in pursuit of the ultimate goal. We know our next move. We understand what piece we need to grab next, because the vision (goal) is clearly laid out in front of us, and we know we’ll be successful if we just work with one piece at a time.

To begin any project, we need to dump out all of the pieces on the table, and then place the end vision clearly in front of us. Then we can simply get to work, building our vision one piece at a time. Watch as the “overwhelm” is quickly replaced with a feeling of purpose and direction.

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