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Overcoming Overwhelm and Fear

Last week I found myself having to move forward … overcoming fear and meeting a feeling of overwhelm face-to-face. I had the oddly both unpleasant and enjoyable task of holding an estate sale at the home my parents built 46 years ago — the home that I grew up in for most of my childhood.  I say unpleasant, yet enjoyable, because there was something very special about seeing so many items that were part of my childhood.  And, having the opportunity to share those memories with my 18 year old son. Reliving childhood memories…seeing dishes that I remembered from holidays growing up brought a smile to my face. The unpleasant part was the overwhelming feeling I had when I walked in to the house only to find wall-to-wall vases, dishes, knick-knacks and furnishings. No longer living in the state that I grew up in, I had only 24 hours to organize and price every item in the house.

When I first walked through the door of the house with my son, I didn’t know where to start. More accurately, I was overcome with a sense of overwhelm…and fear. How were we ever going to get “this mess” organized and priced in time for an estate sale that was advertised to start at 8 am the next morning. I kept walking through the house mumbling to myself, reaching up to cradle my head as I ran my fingers through my hair, massaging my scalp. Or, was I trying to pull my hair out? Not sure which. I could feel my stress levels rising. But seriously,  I honestly thought I was going to curl up and cry in a corner. I was afraid that we wouldn’t, and couldn’t, do it.

Then it hit me. What would I ask a client? What would I encourage them to do to help them overcome stress? It was simple—“What’s the one thing you can do to get the first revolution of the wheel started?” After all, when you’re at the bottom of a hill on a bicycle, the only way to ride to the top is to start pedaling, one revolution at a time. Tweet That!  So, I picked up a Sharpie, wrote $5 on a price sticker and found the first item I could that I was willing to sell for $5 or less. I placed the sticker on it and moved that item off the crowded table to another spot in the house that wasn’t as crowded. Then I did the same for another item and one more after that. The next thing I knew, the house started coming together. Yes, my son and I were pricing items until close to midnight but we got it done. The house was set up and ready for the estate sale the next morning.

Was it perfect, no? But, was it good enough to get started and to get the job done? Absolutely! And, it all started with one small step…or, as the cyclist I am…with one revolution of the wheel. Instead of letting fear and overwhelm keep me paralyzed, I knew that I just needed to get moving. Once in action, the momentum built. We started to see progress and it kept building.  And, you know what? It wasn’t nearly as bad as I imagined it would be when I first walked in. The 48 hours of pricing and holding the estate sale reinforced something I discuss with clients all the time…FEAR is often False Evidence Appearing Real and if we can Find Energy to Alter Reality we can shift our perspective from allowing fear to paralyze us to harnessing the energy of our fear to move us forward.


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