It’s a familiar challenge for the ambitious, up for it woman. You want to achieve a lot, you feel you are ready to go to the next level but when it finally all starts to happen you find yourself dealing with more meetings, calls and tasks than you ever imagined. Not to mention the unexpected problems, unfamiliar challenges plus loved ones complaining that you are not making enough time for them.
The old saying, “Be careful what you wish for” can spring to mind at times like these. A typical reaction is to yearn for the days when it was easier and think, maybe “I’m not cut out for this” or to just get your head down and suffer silently.
Does it really have to be this way?
We love to make a difference to women and are thrilled at the growing community we are creating. As our lives have become more and more ‘on purpose’, we have found ourselves dealing with a lot of new challenges as our time becomes more and more in demand. So we recently re-committed to moving back into a space of ‘flow’ without losing the goals and growth we feel so excited about.
Mel – enjoying the moment
Truthfully, my breakthrough came quite recently when it was pointed out to me quite forcefully that I had begun to lose myself inside a ‘masculine’ approach to life: focusing so much on targets and results that I had lost touch with how much I had already achieved and instead of taking time out to enjoy the emotional and material riches of those accomplishments in the moment, I was racing ahead to the next goal.
I had got my business to ‘VAT level’, launched a successful new coaching programme and started working abroad again but I barely registered these as great accomplishments. Why do so many of us race to achieve stuff with our heads in a future that hasn’t even happened yet?
As John Lennon famously said, “Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans”. My main problem with overwhelm was that I had become ‘comfortable’ inside overwhelm and had started to see it as a normal way to live. Since receiving my ‘tough love’ coaching I have started to look for ways to slow down and am now happily experimenting with that. I’ve turned down work that no longer suits me, or fits my calendar, scheduled in ample holiday time, had early nights and am currently refining my priorities. My income and my effectiveness hasn’t suffered one bit, if anything it has improved. I intend to maintain that peaceful inner space, it’s been far too long the other way.
Catherine – Treating myself to tenderness
Like Mel, I have been in a period of rich new learning over the last few months…to be honest, I would rather not have to have been handling what I have, but often these are not the choices for us to make.
A member of my Team, a diamond of an Associate suddenly became very ill and has now taken early retirement. At times I have felt completely overwhelmed by sadness; we have known each other for over 30 years and she has grown with me and my business as we have taken a pivotal position in the Safeguarding Children and their Families world.
I have been overwhelmed by intense feelings of sadness; by the giving of sad news to very many in our professional network; by the magnitude of the task ahead in renewing and evolving my business into the next era and doing all of this whilst temporarily taking on my ex Associate’s workload too.
What I have noticed about this unexpected turn in my path is that I am much kinder to myself than I have been in the past. There are occasions that I have a little tearfully re-scheduled events, explaining just enough to have others informed but not bleeding my woes over them. I have noticed a greater compassion towards others too – we all need time to absorb and process bad news and to gather our resources. It is important learning for some of us in the caring professions who have perhaps been a little clinical and procedurally driven in the past. Pausing to feel and be with each other, to give and receive comfort and to experience our own humility is elevating indeed.
With much love,
Ishreen – accepting that I don’t have to get it all done
As with Catherine, this has been a challenging year for me. The illness faced by my son and my husband in the first six months of this year have helped me appreciate on another level how special they are for me. Taking time out to look after them as they went through the healing process has brought us even closer.
The one thing I have learned is that I have to stop trying to be ‘Wonder Woman’ – getting everything else done that I would normally get done while spending 2-4 hours a day with one or other of them – continuously for the past 5 months. I have learned to take time out for myself as well… accepting that the goals I set for myself at the beginning of the year will still be achieved – just not to the timescales I set back then. Letting go of that and accepting the peace that comes with it has been a real nurturing treat for me.
I am grateful that until this year, my family has been in excellent health. I am more grateful to the reminder of what is important in life… the time we spend with dear ones – whether they are ill or in the peak of health. Visiting my son and my husband while they were in hospital has been a beautiful experience. Just being with them and being there for them has often felt like a refreshing break from the daily routine… a time of love, laughter and joy for all of us. It has also let us see what an amazing community of support we have… people who really care for us – and who support us with their love, time and wisdom… whether it is bringing us a meal to keep us going, advising us on treatments or prayers that will make a difference or spending time with us – bringing humour and love.
On the other side of overwhelm is one of the richest experiences of my life. The luxury of time and the appreciation of all the special people in our lives.
Thank you for being one of them.