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 here) and 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.
If you’d like more ideas on dealing with overwhelm, I’d like to recommend my book Flip It – how to get the best out of everything.