This morning I’ve had a long conversation with a woman who is on the brink of burnout. She is taking on a huge amount of responsibility for everyone and everything around her. She is, unsurprisingly, exhausted. She has an amazing job. She’s been tapped up for promotion by her boss. She’s the sole breadwinner in her family. And her confidence is through the floor.

She has been telling herself a story that because she is exhausted, feels emotional a lot of the time, isn’t happy, she is not cut out for it; not good enough; not as good as others who seem to carry as much as her but carry it more lightly.

Overwhelm strips us of so much. And in our always-on, productivity-obsessed culture where busy is a badge of honour, we can start to accept that this is just the way it is. That overwhelm is part of the package. And it eats away at us. If I was good enough, I wouldn’t feel this way. If I was more organised, less distracted, more decisive, more authoritative, cared less, I would be okay.

We make it about us. And it is both about us and not at all about us.

It is about us because who wants to live like that? Who wants to spend their life running to catch up with themselves?

And it is not about us because we are simply doing what our bodies are designed to do and working hard to survive in a culture that doesn’t work for us.


You are not the problem. But you can be the solution.


Stepping out of overwhelm, pressing pause, saying no, choosing a different way, is the first step to reversing the confidence slide that comes with being utterly exhausted all of the time.

When you start listening to your body and what it’s trying to tell you (stop, stop, please stop, just for a little while) you can start to tune in to what you really want and need. Taking action based on that takes confidence. Confidence takes energy. Energy takes rest and replenishment.

Break the cycle of overwhelm, replenish your energy, pause long enough to listen to the whispers of your heart’s desire and start to notice your confidence shift.

This is what believing in yourself really looks like. It looks like knowing you are worth stopping for; knowing that your energy is as is important as all the other demands on you. In fact, it is far more important than that. It’s what fuels everything.


Caroline Doran is a charity change specialist and leadership coach helping organisations, teams and individuals to thrive through uncertainty, change and growth.


You can get 20% off Caroline’s Step Out of Overwhelm online training with code CIMConfidence.