Don’t Let Overwhelm Spin You Out of Control

Some days I get to be reminded of all the lessons and tidbits I write, speak, and coach about. This week is one of these weeks. With roofing and contractor woes, unexpected car breakdowns, PC challenges, unrealistic demands at the corporate day job, and following up on exciting opportunities for my business as well as satisfying existing clients, it has been a week of staring overwhelm and burnout right in the face.

What I learn at times like these is that life is an ebb and flow so “stuff happens” and will show up from time to time. There is no such thing as avoiding every last little thing that might not go perfectly. (Of course, however it goes ends up being “perfect” for whatever lesson I need to learn at the moment). The secret to successfully navigating these moments has to do with self-care, integrity, and values. Let me explain briefly what I mean.

First and foremost, if I feel that I am taking good care of myself on all levels (getting enough sleep, having spiritual quiet time, eating healthy, exercising, having fun each day, etc.); I can handle the bumps in the road with tact, patience, and grace. If I am missing one of these elements, I can quickly turn from responding to reacting. For example: my roofer did not finalize all the details with me before showing up and starting to rip my roof off. Responding looks like calling him (he’s done great work for me for years) and having a calm, neutral, curious conversation about what is going on and then clearly stating my opinion and desires going forward. Reacting looks like calling him up, having a nasty tone in my voice, and asking him why he is screwing this up. Fortunately for me, I was able to take several deep breaths and do much more responding. The good news is responding creates more desirable results from others and builds rather than destroys relationships so it is well worth the effort.

Integrity is doing what you say and adhering to your own personal code of conduct. Integrity is unique to each individual. As I go through a difficult week, the trick is to make sure I stay in integrity with all that I say or do. As I explained a bit ago, it is often easier to just react, especially when I am unhappy, a little pissed off, and feeling out of control. However, I stop and ask myself — “Am I staying in integrity with my actions?” For instance, since I have worked with this contractor for years and he does impeccable work, I let the ball get rolling on this project without having a written estimate and detailed scope of work in my hand. In the past it has always just worked out well with him because he takes pride in his work. However, as we encountered a few operating difficulties (especially with the subcontractors) and I spoke with a friend about it; I realized that I was out of integrity. I would never begin to work with a client in my business without a written agreement. I also wouldn’t work with a coach, consultant, or other service professional without a clear agreement of our working relationship. So, why did I make an exception here? Is it because of the hidden belief that it is hard to get something in writing from some contractors? Was I afraid of being considered bitchy by demanding it first? I’m not sure, but I made myself a commitment as I stood on the lawn looking at my roof half ripped off without the proper covering on it for protection that I won’t make this oversight again. While nothing “bad” happened (for once the weather forecast was right – no rain), it was a little lesson and wake-up call for me.

Values come into play with how I choose to be with the people I am interacting with. For instance, when my partner called stranded with car troubles late at night I could be bitchy because it interrupted my bath and time to read and go to bed early OR I could tap into the fact that I truly value my partner and acting in a loving way. So, I drove hither and yon to make sure she was ok and the car problem was handled. Another example is that I value respect. I want others to respect me and in turn I respect other people. So, even if I don’t love the people working on my roof and am unhappy with a few parts of the project, I speak to them with respect, treat them as I’d like to be treated, and ensure whatever is not meeting my expectations is getting resolved.

How do you handle overwhelm? What are some of the challenges you face when it comes to handling difficulties with grace? I’d love to hear your comments…..

tags:
lesbian ,
lesbian business owners,LGBT ,
GLBT ,self-care,stress,burnout, avoid burnout

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Comments

  1. The Unsticking Coach says:

    Spot on Paula!

    The key is to be in integrity.

    The challenge is to keep those daily practices.

    And, to realize as you noted that life is an ebb and flow. I think too often we expect it to be linear — it's not. Calm follow crazy times.

    B well,
    Lyle
    The Unsticking Coach™ http://www.CreativeCareersUnleashed.com/

  2. Paula — how is it that you manage to write exactly what I need to hear when I need to hear it? THANK YOU!

How to Prioritize When Everything is a Priority

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