top of page

Arrow Tip #14: When You Feel Overwhelmed or Afraid, Just Take the Next Right Step

Everyone has situations in life that feel overwhelming and all kinds of situations can make us feel overwhelmed. Too many tasks to get done. Too many burdens to carry. Too many people depending on us. Doesn't matter what it is, the feeling of overwhelm is scary. And that "scary place" can put us into a state of fear. Fear of the unknown, (see Arrow Tip #6 ), fear that things won't turn out the way we want them to, fear of not knowing what to do. What can we do when we feel like this? This week's Arrow Tip is the answer. This Arrow Tip is probably the single best advice that I have ever gotten from anyone....EVER.....and that was from my mother.


Many years ago I was in the middle of a divorce. What that meant for me was that I would have to walk away from a business I had spent 13 years building, pick up my two young children, move halfway across the country then start all over again. It was terrifying. I didn't know how I was going to do it. And without going into all the details to explain just how overwhelming it was, suffice it to say that I wasn't at ground zero. Ground zero was way above me and if I looked up then maaayybe I could see it waaaay up there in the distance. At least that's how it felt. I. WAS. OVERWHELMED.

I remember lying in bed one day (since I was too overwhelmed to leave it) talking on the phone to my mom. She told me a story about my dad. My father is a retired heart surgeon but at that time he was still practicing. She asked my father one day after a very difficult surgery, "How is it that you can stay so calm when your patient is crashing and their life is in the balance?" Here was his response: "When all hell is breaking loose and I don't know how I'm going to save this patient, rather than trying to come up with all the answers I need to, instead I simply ask myself 'What is the NEXT RIGHT STEP?' and then I do that. Then I just repeat that process until things get stable." And my mom said to me....."This is what you need to do. Your life is crashing down all around you. Stop worrying and stop trying to figure it all out. Just take the next right step."

Wow. I took that advice to heart and it has served me over and over and over and over. It has allowed me to remain calm and get from point A to point B without getting thrown into a state of sheer panic.

Remember don't have to know all the answers right now. You don't have to get everything done today. All you have to do is TAKE THE NEXT RIGHT STEP. And if you don't know what the next RIGHT step is, then just simply take the step that seems right for this moment. Stop trying to figure it all out. Stop trying to solve all the world's problems in one day. JUST TAKE THE NEXT RIGHT STEP. And hey, maybe the next right step is just to focus on this ARROW TIP for a while.



  1. When you feel overwhelmed take a deep breath.

  2. Focus your mind and realize you don't have to figure it all out right now.

  3. Ask yourself what the next right step might be.

  4. Take that step. Even if you're not completely positive, just take the step that feels like the next right one.

  5. Repeat the process.



bottom of page