The fact is that sometimes life does come at you fast. It can hit pretty hard too.
Actually, that just happened – my wife is an essential worker and has been from the start of the pandemic. I’m in the middle of launching my business operations. This means that we have found it useful, even necessary to have our kids in daycare. Well – today the daycare announced it is closing for a couple of weeks due to COVID exposure.
It’s just one more thing that was piled on top of a laundry list of others – let’s just say… undesirable circumstances that eat up cognitive bandwidth. In other words – a stressor. Can we just go ahead and admit most of 2020 was a giant stressor? It doesn’t mean that there weren’t bright spots. But in general, 2020 has the distinction of being a year that stressed most of us to higher levels of static stress than anything we’ve ever been accustomed to on a day-to-day basis. Thing is – it wasn’t a fever-pitch kind of stress. No, this was taking an average stress level of say 2.5 out of 10, and pushing it to a constant of approximately 6. If’ you’re thinking 6 out of 10 isn’t so bad… consider this: at 2.5 you can count on a normal oscillation that goes from 0 to an occasional 4 or 5. At an average of 6 – you are hardly hitting 0 even when you sleep, IF you sleep. What that does is nibble away at your capacity. Capacity to reason, to anger management, to engage stress coping mechanisms or releases… it means you are setting up to burn out or break down (or both).
After the phone call that essentially meant I’d be spending the next two weeks as the full-time caregiver of a 1.5- and 4-year-old… I had what you might call “a moment”. There was venting, grumbling, self-pity, and a strong desire to say “I’m done – I quit!” (There is a WHOLE lot more to it than just the call from daycare – that was just the icing on the cake.) The irony? This is great – you really can’t make this stuff up. The irony is that particular call and subsequent cathartic venting – came just as I was putting the final edits into a blog on dealing with some of the exact kinds of stressors and issues! When my mind processed that – I thought “if I give in to this moment of frustration any longer, I’m a fraud – a fake – a sham!”
When I had a little distance from the stressor that set me off and had spoken to my wife, my marketing director, and my brand manager (3 different individuals in case you were wondering) – I recognized that this was proof that I was not immune to the things I’m coaching people about! It also made me realize that I owed it to myself and my audience to share that this is real, it’s stressful and it sometimes tries to get the better of us. But we – as leaders (don’t try to sell me on that “well I’m really not a leader” line either) –
We as leaders need to accept a few things.
- We’re human
- We’re not immune to the world
- We’ve got more than ourselves to consider
- We’ve got to set the example and overcome these challenges
That said – I will be pushing back the dates of the launch of the Driving Transformative Breakthrough for Leaders so that I can take care of family. And I challenge each of you to make similar priorities with your life, your business, your teams. Here’s why – and don’t stop if you’ve heard it before – read it again. (Repetition is the root of learning.) You put family – even close friends above “work”.
You do this even if you own the bloody business. Why? Simple. I have known a number of people in my short almost 50 years on the planet. And I have said a final goodbye to more than one. You know what I have NEVER heard an older individual lament? (Not just folk at the end of their lives, but simply people who’ve seen their kids grow up and move on…) I have NEVER, not one single time, heard anyone wish that they had spent more time at the office, or with their business. In fact – I’ve only ever heard people say that they wish that they had spent more of that precious commodity – TIME – with those they cherished! People – you DO NOT get a moment back once it is gone. Take the time you need – to spend with the people you care about the most. Invest that time with them when they need you. I guarantee – at the end of your stay on the planet – if you have the luxury of a long and full life, you’ll be forever grateful that you did.
So, the new dates are posted – we’re shifting the startup time by a week. As best you can – stay safe, stay healthy, and hug the people you love, and tell them that you love them!
Until next time!