We all have moments when life presents some time-consuming challenges that make our plans unworkable. In fact, that happens often! A sick child, a broken ankle, a friend in need, our own needs. Our ability to “shift” or “adapt” and recalculate what’s doable and what’s not is going to save us from trying to do too much and fail. We have to ask “In light of what just popped up, what’s reasonable for me?”
I had a conversation with one of the lawyers I work with. She was explaining how she has had a series of events outside her control that have impacted her performance over the past 30 days. She’s working hard to prepare for an event about six weeks from now and is very concerned about how the preparation time will adversely affect her performance over the next 30 days. During the conversation, it became clear to me which things she can control (her expectation about her performance) and which things she can’t control (e.g. health issues that need tending to). She ultimately decided to lower her expectation about her work load for the next six weeks and to set herself up for success on all fronts.
We’ve all been absorbed in pursuing some goal in a very intense and single-minded way. We ignore friends, our spouses, kids, even our own health as we drive to some goal (or through a challenge). Things get rough or demanding. And we decide to lean into them. Excellent because we feel driven, powerful, passionate and “in it.” Which is far more fulfilling and promising that feeling overwhelmed and frozen. Still, we have to give ourselves what we need to get through those moments. If we don’t take care of ourselves in the most demanding times, we’ll fail. It’s like that old story about being on a plane when the oxygen mask drops down. What do you do? Put it on you first! Then you’ve got what you need to get the job done. For me, those things tend to be very simple—food, sleep, water and exercise. If we know our “basics,” then we know our bottom line needs…and can dive in when we need to.