For the new year, I had big plans to start with as much of a clean slate as possible.
After a big Christmas in a northern Washington town with the whole family, I would have a full, glorious week to myself.
I spend a lot of my professional life online and on planes. So this was going to be stay-cation sabbatical from all the things. I’d get my digital life in order, finalize new productivity programs, and get my upcoming travels done and dusted.
But as John Lennon sang, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans”
For the last two+ weeks I have been juggling care for a household of humans and one very unaffected but energetic rescue dog as they battle illness and general life conundrums.
While I have spent decades managing strategic initiatives and creating content, these days my day job is managing loads of laundry and myriad medicine schedules.
C’est la vie, mon cherie
As an entrepreneur and public speaker, I often joke that we teach what we need to learn. And I *just* produced podcast #87 following a training I did about burnout. And, voila, here I am living my own research and recommendations.
But this episode isn’t about my story, but rather about a technique to try when you find yourself in the middle of your own personal paradox. And the rather absurdly simple solution is to simply do what you can.
The Bottom Line on Top of this episode is that a narrow focus can bring big results. What that means is that when circumstances take a wild detour, the best thing you can do for your mental and physical energy is to get your priorities very, very short.
Push everything off to the side, and communicate where needed, but don’t overexplain. That requires energy that is needed elsewhere.
Food, hydration, and rest come first. Then the support team – whether that is doctors, neighbors, partners, friends. Who can do the what’s.
This is the time where routines get disrupted, and exceptions are to be requested. You’re not going to make the party, do the favor, respond to the email. Put on digital out-of-offices and close the door to the world for a while.
On the things where something is needed from you, this is where you give your B-, or even C- work. Episode 75 was about embracing Good Enough. In these times, good enough should be the highest bar you allow. Make friends with just enough and that’ll do.
I was talking to a client a couple weeks ago about this very concept and she was listing all the things that she still had yet to do, including getting her son’s sports uniform clean for that evening.
You know, I said, you could just wash that and nothing else with it. She blinked at me. What? I have to put in a full load, she said.
You don’t actually. The machine works with just a couple things in it.
The thought had, quite literally, never occurred to her.
Some of us struggle with a scarcity mindset when it comes to money, time, or opportunity. In times of disruption, how do you do with the vulnerability of receiving care? Not caring about, or caring for, or caregiving, but actually being on the receiving end of care given.
We are in societies that champion those who buck up and suck up. But on the other side of that bucking very often comes the invoice of the effort called burnout. Or if not to that degree, then it’s certainly a slower charge back to prime time.
There is nothing wrong with being weak.
Let me say that again for those of you who just winced.
Self-care is bad ass.
One of my favorite quotes says, “If you do not pick a day to rest, your body will pick one for you.”
Make no mistake, no one skips this step. And the longer we stand in front of the fire hose, the larger the pool of water we must navigate.
Maybe you’re not there yet, or maybe you’ve teetered at the edge and convinced yourself that you got past the hard part.
But the sweetest parts of life are often found in the softer spots. So my nudge in this auditory note is for you to consider where you can narrow in, slow down, and focus fewer parts of you.
Let’s stop giving the best of ourselves to all the things and clear the deck to make room for the best of things. And, p.s., that always starts with you at the top.