I have been sitting here mired in sadness, despair… the mind feverishly looking for reasons to feel this way.
Evil in the world. Low vibration. No love… but this is true always, so what is special about now that is now miring me… enveloping me, making my stomach tighten, and my heart hurt.
It’s 10 o’clock, and the mailman comes at 11 am… I have a package to send out. A student of mine generously decided to buy something from me, instead of the open market. I am grateful, but I am scared.
Am I going to be able to ship it to her?
I finally open my postage software, and find out the postage rules for different size packages.
And lo and behold, the size of package is normal and acceptable for the post office… but it is still hard to shake off the feeling: I am a victim, and no matter what I do, there is nothing I can do about it.
This is one of the invisible dynamics of the human condition.
No matter what I do…
I first noticed it when I publicly uttered those words, and turned around fast enough to see that I was lying.
“No matter what I” do covers up that in fact you didn’t do anything.
So as if by magic, an email showed up in my inbox from a guy I follow… and low and behold, he calls this phenomenon Overwhelm Paralysis.
I map his client’s story over mine, and I am starting to see myself in his client’s story.
Until I broke the seemingly unmanageable task: shipping an unwieldy product to someone else, finding all the parts, finding the original paperwork, cleaning the dusty parts… until I took one step: it was completely and wholly beyond my abilities to fulfill.
So, now I have the box. I have the shipping method. I already washed some part. I can now inch my way to the high point: sealing the package, putting on the label, and let it go…
But, as the guy was saying in the email, I was mentally rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic, until I broke the transfixed state…
Here is the email that allowed me to rename this “no matter what I do” invisible to something I know how to handle: overwhelm.
Last Tuesday, one of our clients, we’ll call him Tony, perfectly described his internet frustrations… which are universal.
But he didn’t paint the usual picture…
… Not deer in the headlights.
… Not treading water.
… Not being stuck on the hamster wheel.
No, he said the number of online marketing choices are multiplying like bacteria in a petri dish.
And the worst part is that every skill set seems absolutely ESSENTIAL.
To name just a few, he felt like he HAD to learn copywriting, SEO, blogging, networking, pay-per click, cold calling, direct mail…
… Facebook, YouTube, video sales letters, LinkedIn, email marketing, content marketing… and a host of others.
“I’m paralyzed… like a rabbit staring into the eyes of a coiled cobra.”
And since he felt he HAD to learn more and do more to keep his business afloat, there was also mounting PRESSURE to do something FAST.
It’s a bad combination… lots of adrenaline, time pressure, and too many choices.
That’s why “fight or flight” has been revised to “fight, flight, or FREEZE!”
And it’s dangerously corrosive to your nervous system.
So to break his brain’s gridlock, what did we tell him?
“You don’t need all those fancy tricks, at least not yet.”
“Master just a few fundamentals, then add more bells and whistles later if you WANT to… but not because you HAVE to.”
So we analyzed his business, then outlined a massively simplified plan for the next year that was low risk, straightforward, inexpensive, and actually DOABLE.
What did the plan involve?
Stripped-down versions and a balance of the 5 FUNDAMENTALS…
… Automated lead generation and list building, cheap and dependable traffic, converting your priceless leads, creating a lights-out irresistible offer, and an air-tight follow up program.
If you position yourself correctly, these few fundamentals are more than enough to get your profits soaring.
And scaling up from this firm foundation is a cakewalk.
Plus, if you’re still enthralled, you can pile on all the bright-shiny objects you want… you’re still on solid ground.
So if overwhelm paralysis has you rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic…
… Your ticket out is in the P.S. below.
Because in this case, LESS really is MORE.
The EMAIL ALCHEMIST
PS: When you take on a new project in the 20-day learning challenge, for example, you will need to go through this phase of overwhelm.
Of rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.
If you don’t, your project is not challenging enough.
If you haven’t thrown your hat into the ring, if you haven’t decided to take a risk and learn something, you can still do that, I still get every post and I still answer them with whatever guidance I see appropriate.
The only way to grow is through challenges, and they best been self-generated.
And the only way to live a life is through growing…
There is an illusion that you can stay the same, but it is against the nature of reality. The only thing that is constant in reality is change…
Adaptability, the most important human capacity, for the survival of the species, means: roll with the changes.
This is why I have made the 20 day learning challenge part of the Playground: if you are not challenged, you won’t grow. And if what you are learning is not learning at all… you are not growing, you are faking it.
Register and make up a learning challenge for yourself. Make it public.
PPS: I have learned this from my favorite teacher, Robert Plank. Every result of any kind can have a skeleton minimum deliverable result. They call this MVP, minimum viable product.
It is a skill to be able to see what are the parts of that MVP…
I learned it in course creation, sales letters, coaching, dieting, getting well… and eventually in most every area I can think about.
The skeleton can stand, walk maybe even talk, even though no flash on its bones, no pretty clothing… and eventually you can add all that.
If you think that you need to put everything in everything, or it’s not enough, your essay, your presentation, your story, you’ll be an unsuccessful procrastinator with scarcely anything to show for your work.
Thesis/essay: MVP elements: what is the context? what is the idea that I am trying to present here? what are the proofs? Conclusion.
That’s it… not brain surgery.
Sales letter: what is the main benefit of the offer? some more (3?) benefits, what is it you are actually getting? buy button. half a page…. sells if the offer is good. 10 pages won’t sell if the offer is unclear or bad.
I don’t remember who said it when writing a long letter… “If I had more time, I would have written a shorter letter” (I found it, it was Cicero). Because it takes thought to shorten the process, to get the parts of the MVP defined… but then, once you are clear, the writing, for example, takes very short time… chop-chop… no big deal.