30 Jan When the unexpected forces you to slow down
Ever had one of those weeks where you were on a roll? You landed a few new clients— your current clients are doing fantastic — you absolutely crushed your speaking engagement — and, the kids are (somewhat without argument) finishing their homework? That was my scenario a couple weeks ago….and then it all came to a screeching halt!
One evening, in the midst of Atlanta’s Snowpocalypse Part II (which for my friends to the North means we got a couple inches of snow, so the kids were out of school for a few days!), I started having some pain in my abdomen. Nothing too serious, and being the “I’ll tough it out….I don’t have time to be sick!” woman that I am, I figured it was nothing a hot bath and a good night’s rest couldn’t cure. I alerted my closest girlfriend (just in case there needed to be a middle-of-the-night ER run), and decided I’d tough it out for the night.
The next morning, the symptoms were still there, although they had now also spread to my back. I thought to myself, could I seriously be having an appendicitis AND be passing a kidney stone at the same time?
So, like any Type-A professional would, I checked off a few ToDo’s, plowed through my morning conference calls, and headed to the doc just as soon as everything was all wrapped up.
There was no kidney stone, and no ruptured appendix. The diagnosis: SHINGLES!
My first thoughts were “What the heck is shingles?” and “How the hell did I catch it?”
The doctor informed me the illness is not at all contagious, and that in my case it was “100% stress-related.” Stress related? I burn the candle at both end, sure — but don’t a lot of us?
I am a single mom of three, running a business, and shuttling kids to and from sports practices and tournaments. Busy is my middle name! Over the years, I’ve grown pretty adept at managing everything, with friends and clients frequently asking how I manage to do it all. I get things done and still manage to make time for myself. I’m a performance coach for Pete’s sake. I’ve got this!….or so I thought.
What the doc said next caused me to really reflect:
“I hear you in that you have a lot going on, and see that you are managing a lot of things quite well, but what are you doing for YOU? What are you doing to slow down? To rest? To regroup? No one can run 90 mph 24/7 without crashing at some point”
She was right! As much as I pride myself on high performance, great results, and on getting things done, I rarely give myself permission to slow down. I pretty much have a schedule, a strategy, and a plan for all areas of my life, yet the plan for taking care of yours truly was the one taking a back seat.
This illness was God’s way of forcing me to fix that….and pronto!
Over the last two weeks, I’ve continued my routine (albeit modified) of working with my clients and taking care of the kids, but I’ve had to force myself to carve out more time to just “be.” Time to relax my body and my mind. I have forced myself to rest when I need it, called in friends to help out way more that I would normally do, and have even said no to a number of things I would normally say yes to.
This forced “slow down” — this unchosen hiatus — has already started to make me focus more on the journey than on the end result. In just a short time, it’s clarified a lot of things for me – both business and personal. It’s letting me THINK instead of just DO.
I have no idea how long this illness will last….the pain is very manageable, but the exhaustion really takes it out of me! I’m lucky in that we caught it very early, so I am not as bad as many of the cases I’ve heard about. Whatever the duration, I am thankful for the lessons, and for the Big Guy hitting the pause button for me.
Sometimes we are moving so fast, for so long, that we need a reset. Time to take our foot off the proverbial gas for a minute and check in on how we’re doing — mentally, physically and emotionally. My slow down was forced upon me (& has some not so fun side effects). For you, though, why not choose to slow down a bit now and get clear on where you’re going, and how you want to show up on the journey.
Ask yourself the following:
- How am I showing up for clients? Friends? Family?
- Do I have the energy & stamina to get through my day, or am I wiped at the end of it?
- Am I just checking off ToDo’s, or intentionally living my life?
- Are there people or things draining my energy, instead of replenishing it?
- Who in my business and life is helping keep me on track?
Fix the things that need fixing. This will allow you to perform at the highest of levels, in all areas of your life. Personally, I am thankful for this little blip in the road. What I have learned already will have a huge impact for me, my girls, and my clients!
Sometimes we don’t need the answer, we instead need the journey.
One more thing.…
Somewhat serendipitously, two days after my diagnosis, my copy of Brendon Burchard’s “High Performance Habits” arrived in my mailbox. My periods of rest have been consumed with devouring this book (which talks about some of the exact things I mentioned above). I can’t wait to incorporate all I am learning in my own life, and with my coaching clients. I’m even looking into going through his CHPC program! Talk about timing!! #HighPerformanceHabits