“How Do I Overcome The Overwhelm?”

David can't bring himself to imagine waking up in a year, still doing what he's doing now. But the thought of making a shift is almost as scary. When the task ahead of you feels too big to tackle, how do you get past the paralysis and start making progress?

What’s your career history and current job?

I'm a sales executive for a commercial insurance company.

I kind of fell into insurance after landing an internship during university, and although I've changed companies a few times, I've somehow never made it out of the industry.

How do you feel about your work?

I feel bored.

Life has become a bit of a treadmill, to be honest – going to the same office every day, sitting in the same chair, having mostly the same conversations with people who sound the same…

I'm grateful that I have a job, and I appreciate that I'm good at it, but there's no way I want to wake up at the end of next year and still be doing what I'm doing.

What would you like to be doing instead?

I'd love to work for myself, from home, running my own business.

I've played around in the past with some web design and I think that's the direction I want to go in: web design, app design, that kind of thing. It's going to require retraining, and I've never set up a business before or worked entirely for myself before. It's a lot to take on.

But my girlfriend and I have been talking about starting a family, and I'm really done with working for 'the man'. It feels like it's about time I created something that's just mine, that I can be proud of, and that I'm responsible for.

What's the biggest obstacle in your way?

Despite how much I say I want to do this, I don't feel inspired or excited by any of the process of getting there.

It all feels like a mammoth task to be undertaken, like a career change is going to be hard work. And, frankly, I'm not really up for it. I know that hard work pays off, and it'll be worth it in the end, but knowing that doesn't make it easier to get started. I can visualise myself in a career I love until the cows come home, but it doesn't help.

I just feel overwhelmed, and that overwhelm becomes paralysis, and the paralysis becomes resentment and frustration. It's driving me crazy.

"Take things one step at a time", my girlfriend's always telling me; "How do you eat an elephant?" And she's right, of course. But it doesn't seem to help.

How do you get past this feeling that it's all too much? Where do you find the determination to even begin, let alone keep going, on something that feels so big?

Can you help David?
  • Have you been in a similar situation, or are you in the same boat right now?
  • What can he do to at least start the career change process?
  • Do you know anyone he could talk to?

Share your thoughts in the comments below and click the thumbs-up button to show your support.

Give David a cheer of encouragement by hitting the thumbs-up button here:

Want help from our audience with your career-change challenge? Tell us about your situation in our short form, which you can complete here.