Taking Measure of Underwhelm

Underwhelm – taking my measure… Bending the ruler… The dial of my measure…

I have settled on the ‘ball’ idea of whelm, with just whelmed being yellow, underwhelm being blue and overwhelmed being red.  So then I super-imposed the colour wheel over this – hope you can see the idea on the attached image.

So when things are going well I see it as rolling along in my sunshine.  It is possible to be rolling along in under or overwhelm or even just slightly off kilter. The interesting thing is that yes i think you can get overwhelmed from underwhelm (and vice-versa). The idea of the ball suggests to me that when you are underwhelmed, you can try to roll out of it through overwhelm first it just depends on how to get out of the situation, through flipping into overwhelm and bringing that down to whelm, or by reducing underwhelm – if you can work out how…. shall ponder that idea some more. Now for staying in the just whelmed zone, how to keep the ball on the right axis, to stop tipping into over or under whelm???

Along came the idea of having the four buckets as the platform (bit like my Swiss ball needs a platform to hold it still… So I put spiritual in the top left and emotional in the bottom left corner (both on the underwhelm side), then I put physical in the top right and mental in the bottom right (both on the overwhelm side). Emotional and mental tend to be front of mind, and spiritual and physical I need to be more deliberate in achieving. Also if I let these back two buckets get too low, then even if I am doing ok mentally and emotionally, I still do not make much forward ground, it is not sustainable. (still working on the image for this)

The other idea I have latched onto this model is the side rails, a bit like trainer wheels on my bike as a kid… I have worked out after many months of soul searching, that underwhelm for me springs from feeling unsupported. So although this may be connected to ‘un’-people, I see the distinction as the impact on me. Un-people can be avoided to some extent. So I am building up my support network from different areas in the organization.

Overwhelm on the other hand comes about when I strive or stretch too far.

Yvonne Wood is a  Just Whelmed Group Member.   She writes: “I love to play and be creative with the just whelmed wee workshop ideas.  To fully engage with my own Life Long Learning and how this plays out both professionally and personally.   The image of being a “just whelmed (academic) woman” inspires me.”


And to help you manage your time and commitments, you will want to access the teleseminar, ATP: Available to Promise How much time & energy (truthfully) do you have ‘available to promise’?, available for immediate download.

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