Busy or Productive and Dropping the Ball

Well, if you haven’t been informed by now, here is your announcement: I’m pregnant!
 
I have been waiting for this for a long time, and it’s here. Not really planned…just a total, joyful, surprise!  We could not be more ecstatic for all of the new beginnings already happening in our lives!
 
BUT…
 
If you’ve been reading my blogs over the last 2 years, you know I’m not going to sugar coat anything. I cannot sit here and tell you it’s been a breeze and that I’m even MORE high performing than ever. Because that would be lying, and I do not possess that filter.
 
I get that I’m supposed to be loving every minute of this miracle.  I AM TRYING, I swear.  But the reality is: I feel fat. I am exhausted. I am cranky. AND I DROP E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G.
 
No more can I plan a zillion errands in one day with the plan to relax and crash at night. Instead, I do about 3 of them, run out of steam, and then CAN’T sleep at night. Oh the joy!
 
No more can I jump on my bike and ride 13 miles just for fun. Okay, I know it’s been a while since I did that anyway, but I’m still grieving the fact that I can’t do it now if the urge hit.
 
And NOW it’s even easier to emotionally justify why my lunch should be Oreos and a glass of milk instead of a salad with protein or some fancy wrap.
 
I have struggled with my ideals of high performance during this pregnancy.
 
 
(Guys: I promise we’re getting to a part that relates to you...)
 
 
Have you ever gone through a stint where you just couldn’t be your high performing self? Maybe you were:

  • Swamped with a BIG project at work?
  • Expending a lot of energy navigating challenging team relationships?
  • Overcommitted to a lot of family obligations?
  • Or just physically was struggling to do it all?

You know it’s just a period of time. It will pass, but in the moment, it doesn’t feel good—right?
 
The only other time I remember feeling this “busy” restlessness was when I strained my knee about 4 years ago. It was a ridiculous skiing accident that left me unable to do all the things I loved to do. Actually, it left me unable to even walk down the stairs. I had to do the sit-down-shuffle thing.
 
From “Beach Body” fanatic to couch potato on doctor’s orders, it truly set me back.  Along with skiing, I love winter running. I would wake up every day and run three miles before work – no matter how cold. If the weather was warmer, I’d be riding my bike around town. Then at night, I’d think “well I better stretch after all this activity or I’ll be sore tomorrow”, so I’d add 30 minutes of yoga to end the day.
 
I KNOW…I’m rolling my eyes too – WHO is this chick?
Well, that was me.
 
Once I strained my knee, I couldn’t do any of that. This time also coincided with a break from grad school, so all I had was work, my dog, and Netflix. I enjoyed the break for about a week.
 
Then, all I kept thinking about was how unproductive I was. I couldn’t relax and enjoy “the little things” because my brain was guilting me into thinking I needed to do more.
 
I got so frustrated one day that I decided I was going to take my dog, Mo, for a long walk. The doctor did say I was allowed to walk flat surfaces, just not go up or down hills.  So off we went. Caveat…when I ride my bike or go for walks, I rather enjoy getting lost in new neighborhoods.
All those windy neighborhood streets of Bethlehem township had me confused and I could not figure out how to get back home. This time I really did get lost. Mo didn’t mind at all, but my knee protested greatly and I knew we weren’t even close to home.
 
What did my frustration and stubbornness get me?  More pain. Added recovery time. And more frustration with myself.
 
What did I learn? Being busy and being productive are two very different things.
 
My brain is constantly telling me I need to be “busy”. If it’s a slow day, I am searching my brain for things I could do. Is my desktop clear, emails purged, class planned, client follow-ups done? Like many of you, I work from home, my mind jumps between my work and the house. So does the pantry room need organizing? Could I do a load of laundry? What about the bathrooms? (I’m tired just writing about this.)
 
Do you struggle with the “necessity to be busy” because we’ve been programmed to be believe we can’t relax guilt-free if we aren’t checking things off a list until there is NO MORE to do? Let’s be real – because that’s all I do – the busy chores of life are ALWAYS going to be there.
 
I know I’m not the only one who feels this way. I talk with a lot of people who struggle in this world of “busyness” and desire to JUST BE…
 
…To be ok with a day of doing nothing.
…To embrace it. Savor it.
…To take the slow path. To reflect.
 
Every day cannot be hustle, hustle, hustle. We need to allow ourselves to purposefully enjoy a few days of calm.
 
Do you see yourself in this story?
 
If you’re not pleased with where you are right now, ask yourself, “Should I be pushing harder OR do I need to give myself some grace?”
 
I’m ALL ABOUT trying to get better and be better. But it’s important that we not fall into the toxic culture of busy, busy, go-go-go. There is a tipping point, where trying to eek out more will result in less.
 
So, who do you have in your life that will help:
…push you when you truly need it?
…slow you down when that’s what you actually need?
 
My hope is that you have someone who truly knows you, knows when you need a swift kick in the pants… yet also knows when you just need a break ­– because that’s the only way you will do your best work later.
 
As for me and my pregnancy mind…
 
I’m learning to take those naps.
I’m learning that I can’t be running around in this heat (is it really only early June??) 
I’m learning to slow down, because my body quite literally will not let me do more than it can do. No matter how hard I push it.
 
As Brendon Burchard teaches, I am learning to “release” the need to be on the go 24/7. My world is going to change in a few weeks, I am learning to enjoy this phase, even with all of its physical limitations.
 
So how do YOU know what you truly need? 
My unsolicited advice is to talk to a close friend or family member. Take time to journal about everything going on in your life. Give yourself permission to take an afternoon – or a full day – and JUST BE. 
 
I may be a high performance coach…but that doesn’t mean I’m full of over-the-top positivity pushing you to do more and more. Sometimes the answer is to just SLOW DOWN.
 
Give yourself permission to rest, reflect, recenter, read, and refresh.
(More on this to come…)!
 
At Compass Point we believe “you need to slow down to speed up”.
 
If you need a coach in your corner helping you determine what you need to do, as well as what you need to release, it’s okay to ask for help. Let’s chat for 20 minutes and I promise your mindset will begin to shift.
 
Now, could someone please pick up that paper I just dropped?

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Cheyenne Bennett is a Leadership & Talent Coach at Compass Point. Cheyenne developed the Leadership Lab 20/20 curriculum to help leaders focus on self-awareness, communication and healthy conflict. These are skill sets needed to cultivate high-performance leaders and teams within the family business.  Along with being a Certified High Performance Coach, Cheyenne is also DiSC Certified, experienced with Myers-Briggs as well as Gallup StrengthsFinder. Learn more about Leadership Lab 20/20.

Wondering if Executive Coaching is a better fit for you? Check out our High Performance Executive Coaching program.

Contact Cheyenne at cbennett@compasspt.com to discuss your vision of leadership.

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