Sometimes numerous things happen around the same time that leave a person feeling overwhelmed. Recently, I have been processing the death of two extremely important people in my life (my Uncle Ray and David Hussman). Then add in any additional stressors in your life (we are finishing our basement that is months behind schedule, client not paying, etc), well, I’ve had a few things on my mind. So much that I couldn’t think about what I would want to blog about. So I decided to be raw and express why…everything seems critical and yet at the same time nothing seems important. I know, it makes no sense but bear with me…
For example, we just received the “you didn’t provide enough details to be approved for the Advanced CSM” email from Scrum Alliance. My initial reaction – my honest initial reaction was “screw this – I’m not writing useless comprehensive documentation solely for an approval”. Then my logical brain starts to work again and know that I will probably find updates/improvements by writing this out plus I know how hard it is to review other people’s materials. Unfortunately, then I wonder “is this really worth my time?”. The feedback felt critical and super important (failed at this – failed at everything – crazy) but also completely unmotivated to keep going.
As a leader, you are expectant to have your stuff together, your emotions in check. Sometimes, with all of the other aspects in your life, this is just easier said than done. Right now, I am not overwhelmed by the workload; I’m overwhelmed by life. Unlike earlier in my career, this time I’m well aware that my emotions are running high. I am well aware that I need to make sure I’m taking care of my self. Here are some of the things I’m currently doing:
- Giving myself permission to do nothing. It’s ok. I can choose to watch old movies all day long and not feel guilty.
- Reading non work related books. Getting lost in a story helps my mind from racing.
- Collaborate with people. I may not be able to be motivated by the work right now but I do still love collaborating with people (and I never want to let someone down).
- Share stories of the stressors in your life. Sometimes saying something out loud takes some of the power away from the weight of the stressor.
- Refrain from engaging in situations where emotions can get the best of you – don’t attend an event that might trigger you, don’t say yes to an additional engagement, etc.
- Talk through the emotions with someone outside of your work circle.
- Increasing my health focus – exercising consistently
I believe emotions are valuable as a leader but only when not erratic and overwhelming. Here’s the new part I’m figuring out now, as you get older, these stressors are more frequent. Sure, no one wants a number of them to happen at the same time. Yet, I also need to be taking care of myself proactively not just reactively when the emotions start rising. That I can do.
What do you do when emotions are running high?