I’ve been thinking a lot about my reaction during the early days of the pandemic and during the long days and weeks of this pandemic this winter. 2020 has been rough on me, but yet have NOTHING to complain about in this season. I’m one of the lucky ones, my family is safe and healthy, my mom got her vaccinations, so did my son, the teacher. I’m all good. Yet this long standing lack of social contact, no going to restaurants and group activities. It’s hard on this extrovert. No need to list the obvious here but seriously, my resilience is looking for more resilience.
Why am I telling you this? I have noticed something this year. It’s not new to me. I love overworking. I thought it was the path to success in my early coaching/first years of business phase. Every time I hit a new goal I revved up, worked more, networked more and although some of that worked, most times it really made no difference. And it wore me out.
Overworking has helped me to feel better when so many things just feel pretty dang awful. But for me, overworking has also kept me away from the things that I love. I’m noticing it isn’t working for me. I justify it in all sorts of ways but when I really look at it it is robbing me of what IS available to me. When I’m in overwork mode: I don’t make time to hang with my husband, I don’t invest time with family and friends. It just keeps me running hard (without any productive effect on my business and is harming my well being. That is why I am paying attention.
I’m getting to the key of business growth for me, and lo and behold you know what my secret is? All the obvious, creating great network relationships, investing time in growing my expertise as a coach, making offers, etc. But what is the real key TRUST. I’m learning toI trust my efforts and trust my decisions, trust the beautiful coaching ideas, trust the programs I bring to the world, trust my podcast topics…all of it. I’m learning to trust my business in a way that I don’t need to overfill my calendar to feel great about my business.
Because we have been taught to work in this way and it is a great buffer to negative emotion it’s as simple as that.
Let me explain the first point. In our culture we have been sold on the concept that our hours of work = results. And thank goodness this is not true. So as I hear my brain warn me when I’m not working hard enough, long enough etc. I remind myself that I’m the boss of me, my mind and my business. I know when there is enough. The brain can be noisy and annoying when you’re figuring out your ideal work schedule. I just remind that annoying voice that I trust that what I’m doing is working and rest and recuperation is part of my business plan.
When we try some new rhythms with working and resting, yes our brain will be noisy but you can also build evidence that having blocks of time to recover, or adding some flex time to your week or simply taking a walk or nap in the middle of the day is not only ok but FUELS your business and you. But as we experiment with these, the brain can get noisy……ignore it’s tantrum and it will quiet down. Because you will start building a case of how a powerful rest rhythm really IS working.
There is another sneaky reason we overwork. When we are experiencing a lot of negative emotion, it is a powerful buffer. It is softening the blow that we’re sad about something, frustrated about something. It helps us to ‘feel’ better or ‘feel productive’ instead of experiencing the emotions that are up in our life.
Overworking is one of the most effective buffers known to man……..
Our brain interprets negative emotion as danger. Yet negative emotion is simply a vibration, sensation in our bodies. The brain is screaming warning danger ahead, that small part of our brain that works subconsciously but is not always helpful. So it LOVES to avoid experiencing those emotions at all costs.
Overworking provides a buffer, just like over anything. Over eating, over drinking, over SMing. It distracts your mind but it also robs it of being present. That is why I’m discussing it here. It steals our joy too. We take the day off and we don’t quite know what to do with ourselves. We keep on moving instead of stopping and taking a needed breath.
Back to the pandemic why am I overworking, because it is so much easier than it feeling like groundhog day. Because I want to avoid my discouragement that I cannot travel to see my family. Because I just want to feel better.
How do we stop overworking?
- Plan your day intentionally: Pick 3 top key items that need to be done and if you get them done, take a break and decide on purpose what to do next instead of reacting all day.
- Be in touch with how you’re doing. Identify your top 3 emotions you are experiencing each morning. This is a great way to be present with what is going on vs racing through your day trying to avoid them.
- Build trust in your decisions by always asking what IS working in your business. When we give our mind the evidence we can build momentum and confidence in the work we have put in. Confidence that we can put our businesses to bed each night and close them on the weekends OR any day you choose.
I will get into this in another podcast but one reason overworking steals so much from the business owner is it robs you of thinking ABOUT your business vs numbly being in it in reaction mode all of the time. That’s what makes it work to try these 3 steps.
Be intentional with your work day, stay in touch with the emotions that are riding along and trust that amazing work you are doing.