Business Coach: Overwhelm Kills Consulting Business

Today we are going to talk about how overwhelm kills your consulting business. Overwhelm is an emotion and like all emotions it has a trigger that causes it to happen. Check to see if you have these tell-tale signs that may be causing you to feel overwhelmed. Look at the suggestions on how to deal with feeling overwhelmed and how you can turn the situation around in order to add maximum value to your life and your business.

Overwhelm is an emotion, not a business problem. Feeling overwhelmed is the same as feeling happy, sad, encouraged, disappointed, excited, or angry. Emotions are a response to something. You have to address the event that triggers their intensity. What trigger event do you notice? Can you point out what is happening in your business that is making you feel overwhelmed?

To-do lists are a trick. To-do lists are a major culprit of feeling overwhelmed. Do you have things on your to-do list that never move? Do you have things listed to help you avoid the real work of your business? If you have an unfocused to-do list, it only stresses you out. Yes, you will be busy, but the tasks don’t move your business forward. Actually, this unfocused to-do list only adds to the frazzled and unfocused felling that leads to feeling overwhelmed.

Do things that matter. In order to get things back in focus, do things that matter.


Commit to you. Commit to the things you know you need to do so that each day builds on the one before. Commit to the things that improve your expertise, your understanding of the daily business operations, and your understanding of your clients. Do the things that make you a better leader of your consulting firm.

Commit to your business. What are the things that must be prioritized in order to improve your business and help it produce a better outcome for your clients? Does your sales process need refining? Should you re-commit to your client retention strategy? Does your service offering need to be improved? Recommit to those things.

Commit to your employees. Recommit to your employees. There are things you owe to your employees, clients, vendors and outsourcers. These groups support you directly and indirectly. Make sure you are providing for them in the very best way you can.

Be honest. Be honest in your assessment of you and your business. It may be something in the above list or something else. Only you know exactly what it is. Whatever the issue, go after the things that actually matter to the growth of your business.

Solve the time management trick. In order to solve the time management trick, you need more than a time management hack. You need more systems in place, more procedures, and deliberate ways of producing high level results. More systems also means that you need less stuff. You don’t need more software, more employees, more sheets of paper, or more templates.

Additionally, you have to be able to measure success. What does success actually mean? You have to be able to differentiate between a good result, a great result, and a poor result. Your environment, your team, your vendors, and your employees also have to be able to know the difference between a good, a bad and a great result.

Finally, in order to better manage your time you must prioritize. Choose the things that are most important to you and make sure those things happen. If you are consistently doing the things that matter most and those are highest on the priority list, then you’ll do them well. You will end up getting more momentum in your business simply because you can provide the best energy on the things that provide the best value. While it makes simple sense, it is easier said than done. It requires heavy commitment.

How does overwhelm affect your consulting business?  Post below.


  1. Monique Y. Wells on July 26, 2013 at 7:33 pm

    Hi Alzay,

    I love that you’ve devoted a post to overwhelm! It’s a buzz word these days, but it is real and it deserves our full attention.

    You are spot on when you say that we must prioritize our activities and do things that matter. If we can accomplish this, then the “to-do” list problem that you describe goes away. This does not mean that the “to-do” list itself should go away – only the things on the list that don’t matter in the greater scheme of things that move our businesses forward.

    I do consider overwhelm to be a business problem. It IS an emotion, but it is an emotion that frequently and adversely affects business. In that context, it is a business problem and solutions should be sought in the context of improving business.

    Also, it’s important to note that there’s often more to overwhelm than emotion. It can result from the sheer volume of activity that needs to be accomplished. You can have a perfectly well-conceived project, an excellent team, and impeccable “time management” habits and still be overwhelmed due to the volume of response to an offer or a technological failure that requires you to deviate from your planned course of action. In these cases, the systems that you have put into place may be stretched to the limit or even surpassed. You and your team may work through the situation without panic but you’ll have to accept that your original timeline will not be respected or that you’ll lose some customers because of the technical problem. The key is to get through the crisis and evaluate things once it is over so that you can tweak your systems to enable you to handle similar situations better in the future.

    I agree that commitments to yourself, your team, and your business as a whole are crucial, as is being honest about whatever situation you find yourself in.

    • Coveted Consultant on July 27, 2013 at 2:46 pm

      @ Monique – I knew YOU would enjoy this. It falls directly under your expertise. I agree this isn’t a subject often talked about and it is a major barrier keeping a business from being excellent.

      @ Aunkh – It’s that simple isn’t it? If less is done then less is made. If you aren’t making anything customers can’t buy anything.

  2. Aunkh on July 26, 2013 at 11:06 pm

    Great insights. I guess the feeling overwhelm slows productivity dramatically. Less gets done and ultimately less gets made.

Leave a Comment