Last week I hosted the Business Excellence Forum and Awards.

It’s a massive event with over 1,200 participants and a range of world-class speakers.

Our rehearsal was scheduled for 4.30pm on the day before the event.

Then it was moved, moved and moved again.

The crew were having a technical nightmare with the set up.

Everything was taking longer, the lights weren’t playing, the set needed adjustments, sound feeds were fuzzy and the projectors… don’t mention the projectors.

As the host, it was my job to ensure the whole event looked as if it was running smoothly even if there was panic behind the scenes.

The first speaker, on day one, was Sir Clive Woodward.  I’ve worked with Clive a couple of times before (you can see what he thinks of me hereand he is the ultimate professional.  You wouldn’t want to let him down.

Ensuring everything was ready looked like a massive and overwhelming task.

The head of the AV crew, Ben, said to me, ‘Michael, I’m sorry. But the earliest we are going to be able to do your technical check will be 10.45pm. Or more likely tomorrow morning.’

I wanted to do my best to help, so my super positive response was, “That’s fine, don’t worry.”

And then Ben said this.

“I’m not worried. I’m dealing with everything. One thing at a time”.

And he was!

He was totally calm. Unflappable. Wonderfully professional. And dealing with all the challenges. One at a time.

When feeling overwhelmed we’re often stunned into doing nothing.  Massive procrastination takes a grip. Panic sets in. Nothing happens. The pressure grows. The cycle continues.

Faced with this, just do one thing. Do it properly. Finish it. Then move on to the next.

You mightn’t get everything done. But the sickening feeling of being overwhelmed reduces very quickly.

Be Brilliant!


It would be great to know what you think of this message. Please add your comments below.


  1. April 11th 2019 by Avril Owton MBE

    Excellent advice and one we all need to remember when we feel overwhelmed in our business and personal life.

  2. April 11th 2019 by Nichola S Clydesdale

    Talk about timing I have just had a discussion about overwhelm with my coach. Great advice Michael and spooky timing!

  3. April 11th 2019 by Jim

    Brilliant as always Michael as the sage said “ by the yard it’s hard, by the inch a synch’

  4. April 11th 2019 by Annie Watsham

    Ah, yet again you’ve done it! There’s only one way – one thing at a time indeed. The urge to run, to do nothing is hideous. I just block everything out and do one small thing. And then it’s done…and it NEVER takes as long as i thought it would. Thanks Michael. It really is the only way

  5. April 11th 2019 by Nell Nelson

    I’m practising saying, “I’m not worried. I’m dealing with it. One thing at a time.’ Actually I AM worried. But I’m dealing with it. One thing at a time….

  6. April 11th 2019 by Karin Carruthers

    I was there last week and I can say from the audience, it looked smooth and all sorted. Having done events they can be technical hiccups. It happened once to me… and now I try to practice ‘dealing with it, one thing at a time’. Thanks for the reminder though and thanks for hosting – it was Brilliant!

  7. April 11th 2019 by

    A welcome and very grounding message, as I’m in the final push of my university degree, and at times starting to panic, about what to do first, then as you say procastinating !

  8. April 11th 2019 by Katy Bryan

    Michael, do you have a podcast? And if not, why not????

  9. April 12th 2019 by Louise Skinner

    Such a simple concept but so easy to ignore as my past work and personal life demonstrate. The smallest action makes a difference-potentially massive when linked to the single action that follows the first, and the next.
    Michael, your posts are inspirational and have turned me around since I discovered you at a seminar in 2007. Thank you 🙂 xx

  10. April 14th 2019 by Mary

    Fabulous advice that we can all use every day! BEF 2019 was the best ever, so many high notes! A massive Thank You to all concerned for making it so. See you next year 😍

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