Lightbulb Moment: Help! I’m So Overwhelmed I’m Paralyzed!

October 24th, 2013 by Laura Longley

Lightbulb Moment

The Laura Longley Show

November 13, 2012


From the written transcript of Blue Heron Wisdom Radio with Laura Longley: Peter Fairfield author of Deep Happy – November 13, 2012.

You can listen to the entire show here:

I did want to say a little bit more about what happened for me over this past week. This doesn’t necessarily have to do with Edinburgh per se, but this is something that is an ongoing work in progress for me. That is my perfectionism. I ran up against it again this past week, which just when I think I’ve kind of gotten it under control, not even under control but tamed, banished, or whatever, it pops up to bite me again.

What happened for me this past week is that I have been wanting, needing to write some email messages with tips for people. This is around my program on discovering your ideal career. I wanted to write a series of emails to send out to people in the program that had tips on discovering their ideal career.

Feeling Overwhelmed

For some reason, I just had a block about it. I couldn’t do it. It was like every time I thought about it, it felt big, it felt overwhelming, it felt impossible. Then what happens is I end up-I just shut down and I don’t do it. The longer that I didn’t do it, the more anxious I got about the fact that I wasn’t doing it. During the day when it would be the right time to be working on things, I avoided it and I did everything else under the sun that I could think of, or I did nothing. I just kind of goofed around and played a game on the computer.

Anyway, I avoided it. Then at night I would be tossing and turning because I was anxious because I hadn’t done this work that I felt like needed to be done.

First of all, I wanted to say that I’m the only one who had any deadline or expectation around it being done. I was doing this to myself, the anxiety piece. What happened for me, this was one day last week-one night last week rather-I was feeling anxious, I was tossing and turning in the middle of the night. I fell asleep briefly. I had a dream.

Answers in a Dream

In this dream I saw this bowl with apples and oranges in it, like a fruit bowl. Each of the pieces of fruit was tiny, like less than half the size of a regular sized apple or regular sized orange. Really tiny. They had some spots on them. They didn’t look like they were diseased or anything. You know how sometimes fruit will have a spot on it or a couple of spots on it, especially organic fruit.

I woke up-I really only probably fell asleep for like 15 minutes. I woke up and I’m like, “What was that about?” What I realized is that fruit was smaller than usual and it was not perfect. The message for me was, take small bites. It doesn’t have to be perfect.

That’s how I was getting myself all in a twist is that-that’s why it felt so overwhelming is that I felt like I had all these emails I needed to write and I needed to have them exactly a certain way so I couldn’t even get started.

Once I realized what that dream meant, I realized I had had another dream earlier in the night where the letters REV kept showing up. I knew that that meant revision. You know how you see it-it says “REV.1” like revision 1. I didn’t have to get it exactly the way I wanted it on the very first try. I was allowed to have multiple revisions of it.

That might sound like a, well duh. Obviously you don’t have to do it exactly right the first time. You can rewrite it several times if you want to. It was like, oh, okay. Then I was fine.

This leads into the Light Bulb Moment. I like to use myself as an example for these Light Bulb Moments because I have this idea that what I go through, many other people go through as well. That’s probably true. I hope that you won’t have to suffer the tossing and turning in the middle of the night in order to get this message.

Lightbulb Moment

The message is twofold. Number one, perfectionism. When your perfectionism is stopping you from getting started on something, then small and spotty. Take small bites and don’t worry if there are spots on it if it doesn’t look perfect.

The other part of the message that I want to give you is this thing about how the answer to this came to me while I was asleep. I have a history of this. I completely believe that we do or can get messages while we sleep, we can solve problems while we sleep. I want to suggest to you that if you’re having trouble solving a problem, before you go to sleep at night, you ask that you be shown the answer.

I’ll just briefly tell you one of my favorite stories about this happening for me is 30 years ago when I was in college (longer than that now, I’m afraid to say), I was studying computer science. I had this computer program that I just could not get to work. It had a bug that I couldn’t get rid of. I was over at the computer center until the wee hours of the night. There were no terminals back then, no PCs.

Finally I gave up. Came back to the dorm. Went to sleep. In my sleep, I had a dream that showed me what was wrong with the program. I got up and I went back to the computer center and I put in what was in the dream and it worked. I am a huge believer in this.

That’s your Light Bulb Moment for the week. You get 2 for the price of 1 this week. Don’t get stuck with your perfectionism. Start with small bites. It doesn’t have to be perfect. And, when you’re having trouble finding the answer, ask for it before you go to sleep.

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