Don’t make a mountain out of a molehill.
That’s the idiom that gets pulled out when someone starts to react to any and all sorts of situations. The idea behind it being to encourage that person to not make that situation worse that it already is. However, for some people those molehills were already mountains—they didn’t really have to do anything to make them bigger.
These are the people who can’t get organized because the sight of the disorganization sends them into a panic attack. Or the idea of typing a 5-page paper is so exhausting that they take a nap for three hours. They want to make friends but thinking about talking to people makes them sick to their stomach. They are surrounded by mountain ranges made up of anxieties, expectations, interactions, and goals.
Even the simplest of things can seem overwhelming and unattainable.
But what if, instead of trying to accomplish a specific task, the goal was changed to simply starting it? What if, rather than having our eye on the finish line, we put benchmarks throughout? Breaking down a goal or activity into more manageable pieces may be one of the best ways to begin something that previously seemed like too much. And each benchmark reached has the added benefit of providing encouragement to continue to the next.
People who don’t experience that level of anxiety can be of enormous help, as well. They can assist others by defining what types of benchmarks to look for, by helping to breakdown the larger goals into smaller ones. And, perhaps most importantly, they can provide support for those who do experience those feelings. Encouraging someone to keep trying, praising the effort rather than the results, and communicating confidence in those efforts may be exactly what that person needs in order to succeed.
So, whichever side you stand on, go ahead and try making a few molehills out of those mountains.