“This is it,” you think to yourself.
You’ve finally recognized your passion, your life’s purpose, what you ultimately want to be when you “grow up.”
You begin to consume information like it’s your last supper. You stay up until the wee hours of the morning reading every book and website about whatever it is you’re passionate about. Sleep is no longer important to you. You subscribe to all the relevant email lists. You study the major gurus in your niche. You spend obscene amounts of money on information products that promise to give you the ultimate secrets of success.
And then something happens.
Suddenly, you start going to bed at a reasonable hour again because you’re tired. You’re no longer able to read articles all the way to the end anymore. You stop reading right before you get to the part where you’re challenged to do something with what you’ve learned. Your inbox has become so crowded with information, you put the emails in a file labeled “read later”… except that’s full, too. You start making excuses for why you’re not putting as much time into your project.
Well, my friend, you seem to be suffering from an acute case of Information Overload Disorder with Passion Avoidance tendencies.*
A less technical way to describe this phenomenon is that you’ve become overwhelmed and started questioning your ability to manifest your vision. You’re afraid that you don’t have what it takes to make it happen. You’re afraid you might fail.
You aren’t alone. There are many like you out there, myself included.
The moment I realized I could use my passion for writing to create a business that would also allow me to inspire others, I became an information junkie. I read everything, watched everything and tried to learn everything.
Even though I was acquiring so much new knowledge, I was also becoming more and more unfocused. I was overwhelmed with the all the things I thought needed to be done.
To be successful, I felt I needed to:
- automate my email list
- develop a giveaway
- create several information products
- become an affiliate marketer
- write a book
- …and THEN launch a coaching business.
It was all too much!
After a while, I started avoiding the very thing that had given me so much joy in the first place: writing. I spent less time creating great content and more time reading about how to create great content. Eventually I got to the point where I was so discouraged, I couldn’t even do that anymore.
Finally, I had to self-administer a stiff dose of reality. “Alana,” I asked myself, “why are you so focused on information products when you only have seven people subscribed to your email list… and one of them is yourself? You’re not there yet!”
Fear will make us think we are not capable, we don’t have the skills and we will never be prepared enough. It’s so much easier to distract ourselves with busy work than it is to face our fears. We may not be actively working on our project, but we convince ourselves that at least we are doing something. We justify our inaction by telling ourselves there’s no such thing as too much knowledge, right?
At some point you have to stop reading, analyzing and planning. These things are relatively easy. What’s far more difficult is taking action. Because it requires courage to take action.
It’s time for an intervention
Here are your next steps:
1. Go on an information diet. No new more books, tapes, videos, programs—and no cheating!
2. Create a short list of actionable steps that you can do NOW based on the information you have already absorbed. This is where it gets tricky: actually do them. Consistently. No excuses.
3. Slow your roll and focus on where you are right NOW. Are you trying to build traffic? Then don’t worry your pretty little head with developing a week-long teleseminar. Are you just now building a blog? Start writing consistently. We expend so much energy trying to get there—that idealized future image of ourselves—that we lose focus.
Challenge yourself to get really good at being here, wherever your project or business is in the present moment, because where you are is exactly where you’re supposed to be.
*Note: Information Overload Disorder with Passion Avoidance tendencies is not a real mental health disorder. You’ll be fine. Trust me. I majored in Psychology in undergrad.
Alana Mbanza is freelance personal development writer on a mission to bring more passion into the world. Follow her on Twitter @AlanaMbanza.