Six Steps to Get Out of Overwhelm 22

Something has to give!

It’s become painfully evident to me – I can’t do everything I need to do – something has to give.

The question is what do I give up, and who gets hurt by it.

Disappointing someone doesn’t feel good.

I always think I don’t really need much.

When I met my wife, I was renting what was supposed to be an office in a condo building.

It had a single room maybe 10 feet square with a bathroom attached.

I slept on an old orange couch — not a hideabed, but almost long enough to curl up on with my 6’4″ frame with my toes sticking out the end under the armrest.

I’d walk down to the grocery and buy a bag of bagels and just munch on a bagel when I felt hungry.

It was a simple life and no one was demanding anything from me.  I had enough money to pay the bills and pay for a bit of time in a recording studio to work on my music.

I was making about $200 a week.

Simple, good life.

When I got married, things got a little more complicated.

30 years later life is still good, but it’s not as simple.

I could still live in that office and eat bagels and live a simple life and to be honest, it  sounds pretty good some times.

But to do that, I’d have to give up a lot.

First of all, I’m pretty sure my wife doesn’t want to live in a 10 foot square office and sleep on a small couch – certainly not with me in it too.

Then there’s the son in college at Penn State – college bills up the ante a bit.

And the daughter who is getting married in April.

So the simple, gets a bit more complicated when other people start to get involved.

It turns out people have expectations of you.

  • Your parents want to see you succeed.
  • Your spouse wants to be loved and supported.
  • Your children want to be cared for.
  • Your business partners want your focus.
  • Your friends want your time and attention.
  • Your customers want results.

It turns out, people all have needs and if they are connected with you, they have needs, wants and desires they hope YOU will meet.

Ironicly, the more successful you are, the more people need and want you.

And you want to help.

This can pile up.

I can’t imagine what it must be like for someone who is really famous or really wealthy.

So many people must want something from them. It’s frightening.

You don’t have to be famous or wealthy to be overwhelmed by the needs of others.

I know you’ve felt it too.

As much as we love giving to others and as much as we may generate energy from giving, passion and purpose eventually we realize we only have so much to give.

There are only so many resources and so many  hours.

Maybe you’ve been a volunteer for a religious or civic group.

If so you probably realize, once you volunteer and actually do something for someone, the  number of people who ask you to volunteer seems  to grow expontentially.

There’s always a need for reliable volunteers.

Or maybe you are a natural leader.

If you are even a semi-public figure the number of people who want you to help solve their  problems increases dramatically.

If you really think about it, you know we are pretty demanding of our leaders.

I’ve been building relationships online since there first was an online.

Over the last 15 years, there have been literally hundreds of thousands of people who have been directly connected to me in many, many ways.

They come and go, some closer than others and they all have needs.

At this instant, I’m probably in recent contact with 40 to 60 thousand people who in one way or another are looking for me to help them.

Some of those needs are more urgent than others.

I have good friends dying of cancer, in danger of losing their homes, battling through divorce right now.

I have literally thousands of people who are friends or subscribers who can’t pay their bills this month.

And only so much to give them.

I know deep in my heart, the best things to give are those small moments of encouragement you give when someone is beaten down.

Those are moments that have real impact.

But words only go so far.

That’s where action comes in.  It’s not so much that you “feel” someone’s pain.  It matters more when you “do” something about it.

Right now I have too many projects and not enough time and resources.

Cutting any of my projects will hurt someone.

Think of it …

  • Should I cut out my dream of Tobri?
  • Should I quit doing my live events?
  • Should I stop writing?
  • Stop working with non-profits?
  • Ignore my kids?

If something has to give, there are lots of choices to make.

  • You can try to be more efficient with your time.
  • You can focus on projects producing results.
  • You can try to get more resources.
  • You can outsource tasks other people can do better.
  • You can beg, borrow or steal.

Or you can do nothing.

If you do nothing, chances are, things won’t get better and most likely will get worse.

That’s what usually happens when we just get tired and decide to quit — not always, but usually.

So what am I going to do?

Six steps out of overwhelm.

  1. Breathe
  2. Relax
  3. Think
  4. Act
  5. Evaluate
  6. Repeat

If you keep taking steps, you will have a real impact.

All the best,

Ken McArthur

And more, more, more.

About Ken McArthur

Ken challenges us to realize we ALL have an impact – whether we want to or not – on thousands of people who we touch in our day-to-day lives by demonstrating that simple things make a HUGE difference. The popular host of a series of live events that bring together top-level marketers, entrepreneurs, business owners, corporations and non-profit organizations to create multi-million dollar joint venture relationships – he creates incredible, intense impact for product launches and multi-million dollar profits in surprisingly short timeframes. Regularly asked to speak at leading marketing events, he has managed product launches ranked in the top 400 sites on the Internet. Ken McArthur is also the creator of, a pioneering affiliate program search engine and directory system and the founder of the MBS Internet Research Center, which conducted the world’s largest survey ever attempted on the subject of creating and launching successful information products. Not satisfied to concentrate entirely on large organizations, Ken also works with select individuals to help them create a decent living utilizing the power of the Internet. Ken was the official mentor for Sterling Valentine as he took his launch from ZERO to over $100,000 in less than 8 days. Ken and Sterling documented the process as a “proof of concept” for Info Product Blueprint a massive home study course that is the “bible” of info product creation. Ken offers top-level coaching and mentoring programs designed to help individuals, corporations and non-profit organizations reach masses of people using the techniques, tactics strategies and systems that he has developed specifically to help people spread their ideas, products and services around the globe.

Leave a comment

22 thoughts on “Six Steps to Get Out of Overwhelm

  • Frank Sousa

    Step 1 Ken, BEFORE any of the others…… PRAY.

    You’re an AWESOME friend, and selfishly I’d hate to see you cut back on any of those things, but if I were you, I’d probably cut back the number of events to one or two a year… and focus on what’s bringing in the bacon and what isn’t.

    And I can’t wait to see you again in February,

    Frank Sousa

    • Richard Rossbauer

      Frank, looks as if there’s a majority opinion about the number of events that Ken handles a year – and a few good ideas in the comments – I agree with you – Ken is an AWESOME friend. I have known him for only about 4 years and he makes me feel as if I’ve known him forever. I’d hate to see him include the monthly Impact Hookup meetings if he decides to cut back in the number of meetings and events in which he participates.

  • Roxie Boyd

    Ken, I think you need one of those little 6′ x 8′ padded cells.

    But seriously, I agree with Frank with cutting back the JVAlert Live! events to about 2 a year, one on the East Coast and one on the West Coast – San Francsico area. I can hook you up!

    And yeah, Pray. Make a list, take it to God.

  • Mark Ayers

    Some of my thoughts for you to ponder even grapple with.

    Empower people to take on the heavy lifting for you in more and more areas of your life. Your experience of life will become richer over time and so will theirs. More of your friends and subscribers lives will be enriched. Everyone wins

    Pay Attention!
    Anytime there is too much struggle in life it is the universes way of asking us to pay attention. What can you learn from all of this and how can you invent new ways to be masterful in what you have created that has you in overwhelm?

    What is your coach/s suggesting you do?

    And lastly as one of my coaches teaches, “Do only one thing at at time” , multitasking is one of the least effective ways to get tasks done.

    I can’t wait to see what you discover for yourself over the next few days/weeks/months. You can do it, I am confident of that.

    Happy Holidays

    Mark Ayers

  • Glen Wayne

    It pains me to say it but you really should cut back on live events. I have seen you hold up quite well with a million and one balls in the air and you do not miss a beat however “It is brutal” to do all of that.

    So trim the live events and it will go a long ways to a more sane life.
    …. and know that you are loved by many!

  • George Ferrell

    I like the webinars but I might benefit from messages that I can read in article form with references to the web pages. That way I could read them at work without playing the webinars which other people would hear.



  • Roger Johannesson

    Well Ken,
    It certainly looks as if your basket is more than full, as if you have too many balls in the air, you only have 2 legs and 2 arms, but most important, a big warm heart and you do your best to be there for everyone that needs you.
    What can I do from over here, you tell me and I´ll certainly consider the possibilities and I´ll pray that you´ll find the right solution that is best for everyone.

    With best regards

  • Cgmdrx

    Hi Ken,
    At 73 I must tell you that the job overload problem will never end prior to cardiac arrest. The most critical issue is to prioritize to your personal level of comfort, God and family are always on top of any list. Actually, it’s a disease all entrepreneurs catch and it spreads to everyone.

    I like Mark Twains thought—“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the things you did do. So, throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream.”

    Curt Graham

  • Dawn

    Great post Ken.

    Agree with all comments especially Marks ‘pay attention’. That would be paying attention not to the external but to the internal; the dialogue and feeling. Before that though, if something has to be given up, it has to give!

    (I think) people fear ‘letting’ something go, as if they are going to lose ‘it’ forever, they/we/you/all aren’t, it’s amazing what can happen when we CHOOSE not SHOULD give something up.

    Which leads me to the should thing! Should (I feel) is very external, whenever we ‘should’ do something, there is always a push back. We don’t even like telling ourselves what we ‘should’ do never mind hearing the word from others! Take the should out of our language and it’s very different.

    Replace it with choose. So, taking your list as an example Ken, making one tiny adjustment ‘I choose to give up writing’, ‘I choose to give up live events’ and then (way to go Mark) ‘pay attention’ 100% to your answer (in the feeling) – you’ll know your answer.

    And I’m just about to pop this on Facebook page but one for us all.

    ‘Just when we are about to quit, we are nearest to our goal’!

    Session done, over and out! Love xxxx

  • Daniel Tredo

    Hi Ken,

    The Word says ‘Let peace be the ruler of your hearts’. I suggest getting close to water and evaluating what projects bring you peace. Is one project connected to your dream, while some others are just to please people? It’s a tough choice, but usually if you serve your dream, you end up serving others most effectively – and without all the stress. There’s a chinese proverb that says ‘If you chase two rabbits, both will get away’. Somehow – it seems you’ve subtely taken on too much and it’s dividing your focus. I know that because you’re overwhelmed. Like I said, get near some water and search your heart (and pray). You’ll know what to do. /Dan Tredo

  • Tom Justin

    Hi Ken,

    I like and agree with what Frank Sousa said. However, if you haven’t got time for big projects such as Tobri, you suffer, the site suffers, and those who come to it via your credibility suffers.

    I find that before I make a decision that has a hard time factor attached, and one that won’t allow me to outsource a good portion of it, I have to step back and reassess. Is it something I really want to do and if so, what am I willing to give up to do it? That’s BEFORE I start it…ideally. I don’t always do the ideal thing, so I can empathize with your challenge…and I’m only 6′ tall!

    Keep up your great work and my you find the right decision for the right reasons.

    Tom Justin

  • Michele Price


    I know what you mean and I am not any where near to your level yet.

    Have you asked yourself which one gives you the most juice? Besides money, which one sings to your heart and makes you operate at your best.

    Thats the one to keep-heck try it backwards, instead of which to give up which to keep. Then the giving up is more give yourself permission to enjoy the one that feeds you on all levels.

  • Lee Ann


    I hardly know you, but I sense you have a big heart. Don’t wear it out by overworking yourself. Do as others have suggested – spend your most energy on the things that bring you a) the most joy (by default those should also be the things that light you up the most).

    Then outsource – find great people and let them take the reins.

    You’re surrounded by talented, caring people – and you’ve asked for help. The right people will show up.

    Lee Ann

  • Stan Scott


    There are those of us who take on the world as if we are the only ones we can depend on. Without us, everything would fall apart. Of course, this isn’t true, but it often leads us to overload. We take too much responsibility on ourselves when, as you suggested, “You can outsource tasks others can do better.” Let others who are willing and able to take on some of the responsibilities, do so.

    We may view Steve Jobs as Apple, but the company could never exist as just one person, no matter how talented. Delegate and have faith that those you choose will do what needs to be done. View each part of your company as a division and figure out how to oversee it without having to run it.

    Put others in charge of helping the thousands who look for assistance. You can’t do it all, but you can see that it gets done. Keep your life in balance and put family first, then follow your passion.


  • searchguru


    Delegate! I suggest cutting back on the live events, and having others do the monthly Impact events. You can do virtual events using streaming video from Ustream or TinyChat as well.

    Tobri is too important to give up on, especially as it is reaching its beta apex.

  • Adrian

    Hi Ken,

    I know the feeling of being overwhelm – and I’m really glad that the year
    is coming to an end … time to wind down.

    I fully agree with Frank Sousa – Pray and be still before God.
    (I’m reminding myself as I’m writing this too).

    Talk with your wife – and your close buddies – on what to cut down
    and what to pursue.

    Never ignore your kids – they are God’s precious gift to you.

    I joined ‘tobri’ because you invited me, but frankly, I fail to see its value.
    Most of my friends are on FB, and to get them out of FB will be near to
    impossible. To make Tobri a success, I think you would need a unique angle,
    a unique USP – perhaps target a specific niche/professional group. To compete head to head with FB is not wise.

    Hope you don’t mind me being very frank here.
    (and, I don’t mind if you do not make this post live – it’s meant for you personally).

    Wishing you and your family a very Blessed Christmast!

    Adrian Ling

  • Grover LeBlanc

    Ken, I am so Blessed to know you and have you as a Friend.

    I can certainly relate to the feeling of being overwhelmed at times and the responsibility that comes with aspiring into leadership. I concur with the over all consensus that of the choices to select from I would go with limiting the JV Alert Live events between 2-3 per year. Also, with selectively choosing to delegate as many tasks that are feasible to those who are capable, responsible and skillful enough to handle the assignments.

    I really appreciate posting the “Six steps out of overwhelm”!

    Sincerely & Respectfully, your Friend.