Barbara Kopple, the two-time Oscar®-winning documentarian and director of the Emmy-nominated Running from Crazy, reveals how she finds hope and humility in some of life's most common struggles.
We've all been there. Overwhelmed by the many hurdles life tosses our way. Even those who proclaim to be "strong" or "tough" feel overwhelmed by the random nature in which life's challenges arise. I know I do.

Throughout my filmmaking career, I've always taken risks. I'm independent. Tough, even. While directing documentaries, I've had guns fired in my direction, I've been in the midst of a violent picket line struggle, and I've traveled to some of the more dangerous corners of the world. And yet, in spite of experiencing and surviving these dangers, and though I consider myself a strong person, I still find myself overwhelmed sometimes. Over time, though, I've learned that occasionally feeling overwhelmed is common; it's humbling and, perhaps, even healthy.

Here are four things that overwhelm everyone:

1. Self-doubt. Sometimes, I'll be working steadily on a film or several films at once, and out of nowhere—bam!—it sinks in: self-doubt. A nagging voice in my head asks, "Can I do this? Can I really make all of this happen?" I question myself and my ability to tackle all the projects I take on and to finish them all in the best possible way. When this happens, I remind myself that I have a wonderful support network around me. I lean on friends, family and loved ones to pick me up when I feel overwhelmed by self-doubt, and they always get me back on track with their love and encouragement.

2. Lack of control. No matter what it is, there are always factors that are beyond our control, whether it's flying at 33,000 feet in turbulence or getting stuck in a traffic jam on the way to a shoot. There is no way to control external factors, but they can overwhelm even the toughest of us. When I feel overwhelmed by lack of control, I simply close my eyes, breathe and let it go.

3. Navigating perfection in an imperfect world. I strive for perfection in my work. I always have. However, I know that nothing is perfect! There are always going to be scenes in my films I wish I could do over or artistic decisions I regret, both of which can be overwhelming. The trick is to strive for acceptance of life's imperfections and embrace the mistakes. If you fail, you have learned something, which is a lesson I try to remember.

4. Fragility of life. Life is so fragile, and I've lost so many loved ones along the way. Sometimes it's easy to get swept up in the arbitrariness of our own mortality and of those we love. When this overwhelms me, I remember to say "I love you" to those around me, appreciate the gifts I've been given and embrace each moment to the fullest.

Tune in for an encore presentation of Running from Crazy on Monday, August 4, at 6:30/5:30c.