Get UNSTUCK by Pat Flynn

The hidden costs of “yes” 😬

published19 days ago
4 min read

Hi, it’s Pat! 👋

I’ve never met another entrepreneur or creator who hasn’t been overwhelmed.

In a way, experiencing overwhelm is like a rite of passage for anyone trying to create something new, especially online.

“There’s so much to do and so much to think about!”. I’m sure you can relate.

Overwhelm can become so encompassing that it leads to burn out and, ultimately, giving up.

We all started down this path for a reason. Whatever your reason is, today I’m going to give you an analogy that will change the way you think and help you get a handle on the overwhelm so that you can control IT before IT controls you.

Let’s get unstuck.


“The less I needed, the better I felt."

— Charles Bukowski


In 2020, like many people, I started a garden in my backyard. It was partly for fun… but also partly because who knew if we were going to have to go full survivor mode and have to grow our own food in the future. 🤷

Inspired by Kevin from EpicGardening (an amazing YouTube channel) I started with a 3ft x 5ft raised bed garden and planted some vegetables.

There was a lot to think about, but eventually the garden really started to grow, and we even got the whole family involved.

At this point, about a month later, I was hooked! I immediately built another raised bed next to this one. Then, noticing another empty space in our yard, I decided to build a third.

It was an empty spot, so I figured — why not?

And here’s the first lesson: we tend to treat our extra time like additional land we should plant something in. So much so, that It feels like a waste if we don’t.

I even found a large planter at a garage sale, purchased it, and started growing potatoes. And don’t even get me started on the coffee plants I ordered online.

Even though many of us are focused on efficiency, as soon as we earn (or buy) extra time, we fill it in with even more. This is the start of overwhelm, and in the case of the garden, it was the start of things getting out of control.

All of a sudden, I had three gardens to tend, not one. I saw that the yield could be much bigger, but what I failed to see was all of the additional work that would be required by just filling in the extra space with more.

Now the garden required more water, more fertilizer, and as soon as June hit the temperatures got above 80 degrees (F). I needed to buy three times the amount of sun shade material to cover each garden bed.

Then, due to overwatering, our tomato plant leaves started to curl way more than they should. On the other hand, our lettuce and spinach were starting to dry out. They needed even more water throughout the day.

Then there were the bugs and pests. Caterpillars started eating the lettuce and aphids took over our broccoli. I purchased all different kinds of natural pesticides to get rid of them, and before I knew it, I had spent all this money just to keep my dying crops alive.

My garden was spread too thin. The more garden I had, the more problems I seemed to invite.

If I had focused on one bed, or fewer types of plants, I could have learned more faster, and dealt with things more efficiently. Ultimately, I would have had a more bountiful harvest.

Now, you might be thinking, “Pat, it’s obvious. You just went too fast and took on too much, too soon.”

Yes! That’s exactly what I did. And it’s exactly what most people do when building businesses and creating content online.

We don’t see it when we’re in it. We think:

  • We must be on every social media platform.
  • We must repurpose all of our content.
  • We must create more.
  • We must do what everyone else is doing.

And then, you watch a video about dragonfruit and all of a sudden you’ve added dragonfruit to your yard, too. 😟

Here’s the truth: there are so many hidden costs to saying yes, and many times we don’t know those costs (or consequences) until it’s too late.

Today, my garden is more focused, and as a result, requires less of my time and yields much bigger results.

Your Call to Action

Once you start to learn to trim the extra stuff out and not just fill it in with more, you begin to have room to breathe again. Take a few moments today to think about ALL the things you have going on. Begin doing an audit to determine if those things are worth continuing to grow, or if your time and effort would be better spent elsewhere. For many business owners, it’s in places that were already growing well, but we got distracted when we saw an empty plot of land.

You got this!


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What do liberal arts majors yell when overwhelmed?

Oh, the humanities!