Show of hands, how many people have kids? Great. Ok, keep your hands up. And now raise your hand and add to the group if you are in a significant relationship. Got it. Keep em up. Now add your hand if you own your own business. Ok, and how about if you work regularly and productively for someone else. Great, I think we got everyone.
If you raised your hand for any of these reasons – let alone qualifying for multiple categories – then you are a “builder.” You’re in a building phase of your life. This is certainly not a surprise if you’re a member of this chapter. And if you’re a visitor, the same is probably true. Showing up this early on a Wed isn’t merely for the bacon. Though Amy will tell you – that bacon is pretty damn good.
The thing about being an entrepreneur, or a parent, or really any kind of “builder,” is that we’re constantly channeling our resources with a specific intention. We’re looking to create a certain kind of output, a particular result or set of results. But sometimes, the universe seems to have different plans.
We can find ourselves in the impact of various circumstances.
Now life is essentially one evolving list of circumstances – we move past today and find new one’s tomorrow. But sometimes (and for some it’s quite a bit more often than just sometimes), they can all add up. And when that happens, we experience overwhelm or being “up against it.”
In just the past few weeks, in addition to the seemingly normal stuff, I’ve been in the impact of Joana breaking her foot and not being able to drive, little eleven month old Jakey having an extended fever involving visits to the doctor and at least one hospital, pulling my back out badly – which is why I was out last week, various issues with the new house, and all the while trying to coordinate schedules in order to look at sleep-away camps for next year, and also dotting I’s and crossing T’s to support a team of twenty-three new coaches to graduate their year long program this weekend!
I say this not to complain – I have a beautiful life. But rather to normalize the organic nature of the human experience. And, as I’ve heard it said, “If we all put our problems in the center of the room, we’d probably take back our own!”
So, we all have stuff.
Today I want to offer you five things you can do when you find yourself, “up against it.”
Own It – Don’t hide or cover it up or pretend like it’s not happening. And I’m not saying show everything to everyone. But make sure you are clear – especially with yourself – about what is actually happening in your world. “Fake it til you make it,” applies in a lot of places. Here, just be mindful. There is a way to take ownership on purpose without presenting it like a justification or excuse. Happy to share more about that – just ask.
Slow Down (Don’t Speed Up) – What’s predictable is that the reactive part of you – whose head is spinning – will want to do the exact same automatic thing you know to do only faster, bigger, stronger. Consider that the first step in finding your way out of a hole, is not to dig faster but to actually put down the shovel.
Ask (Clearly and Directly) For What You Need – It may be for a break, or for support. And support may look differently depending on the situation. Go to the sources you know you can rely on – or try to create partnership from new ones. And sometimes all we need is to be heard, understood, connected with. Once we realize we’re not alone, we may have enough to get back to the tasks at hand.
Self Care and Foundational Structures – Speaking of what we need, when we find ourselves in overwhelm, sometimes it’s simply that the ground we’re standing on is not set up to hold the towers we’re building. How’s your sleeping? Your eating? Your fitness or physical movement? How are your relationships going with self, others, spirit? Something might be out. If you find that gap, fill it on purpose. If you don’t, either it will remain empty or it may get filled through a back door. At best that could be a distraction. At worst, harmful.
We Don’t Need to Reinvent the Wheel – Contrary to that part of us whispering that we shouldn’t be where we are – we should be further, better, more together, etc. – we do not have a monopoly on gaps, mistakes, breakdowns, lagging timelines, etc. Look around. Chances are you know other entrepreneurs, parents, and “builders” just like you. You can always make your own choices, but again, don’t be afraid to reach out and learn from the experience of others. It not only serves you – it serves them too!
Life is going to throw curveballs. And sometimes it will seem like too many balls to swing at at once. While the volume of circumstances and To Do’s may increase, and that can lead to an experience of heightened pressure, remember that you’re not alone and you have a choice.
Slow down, ask for what you need, get supported and keep going.
Oh, and it never hurts to take a short break from the highlight reels of social media. Just until you’re re-centered and the drama shrinks back down to size.