Catching Up On the Last Week

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Hi All.  I wanted to take a minute tonight to talk about where I’ve been the last week.  First, I’ve been working my way through B-School and it is INTENSE.  The program is amazing but it is making me evaluate everything I thought I knew and the next steps at every turn so it is a lot of work.  Then it was an incredibly busy week.  I had a system go live at my 9-5 that took up a ton of time last weekend and through Monday and Tuesday.  As I was going through testing on Tuesday for the go live, my throat began hurting.  I’ve had a history of sore throat issues my entire life so this was nothing new for me but it was definitely painful.  When I woke up on Wednesday I had a fever and I could barely swallow.  I made my husband take my son out of the house and then I went to a fast clinic and stayed home and then was dead to the world.  I tried to go to work on Thursday but I couldn’t talk and I only made it an hour.  Then I woke up on Friday and my son was getting sick as well so I tried to work on Friday and I got through about a half day.  Even though I felt a little better by Friday, I was exhausted.  And my kid needed me.

Work continued and I saw my colleagues pulling together because we are dealing with some urgent situations right now.  I felt completely guilty for not participating and I felt out of my element because I would always make every effort to participate but I simply couldn’t.  I was literally a forced stop.  And I am incredibly grateful for it.

See, with me being sick, with the world falling into chaos right now, I think we all have to re-evaluate where we’re at and what we’re doing.  The forced state of working from home and the ability to still get things done has proven that we can shift things and how we function.  This has proven that not only is it possible, it is necessary now.  We can do things we didn’t think were possible before and if we allow ourselves to adapt and do things differently, then we will surprise ourselves with what we can come up with next.

The general sense, for me, right now is a pause.  We need to just take a break.  Taking a break is sometimes the necessary thing to do.  It’s only when we’re not jumping from thing to thing and we stop keeping ourselves constantly busy that we can see what’s around us.  Yet again, a situation where I haven’t practiced what I preached until I couldn’t do anything but pause, but I’m learning.  And it truly is a beautiful thing.  What a gift for all of us to be able to see a different way of doing things.

There are many systemic changes that need to happen and none of it would happen if we weren’t forced to take this pause.  Because from this terrible situation we see that we can’t move forward as we were.  I have felt this stirring in me for some time as I’m sure many of you have.  After all, that’s why we’re here—we’ve agreed and felt the call for something more.  Truthfully I never anticipated it would come from a pandemic. I had hoped our consciousness would be strong enough to encourage us to reach out for more and the change would come naturally.  Regardless of the catalyst, the day is here.  We are at the precipice of what comes next.  We can either move forward as we were before or we can recognize that it’s time to change.  And believe me, I feel in my heart that there are far more people crying for change even if their voices haven’t been heard yet, than those who want to stay the course.

I pray we recover and that we do better.  I pray we recover and decide to change.  I pray we recover and heal.  I pray we recover and release our fears.  I pray we recover and recognize the value of community.  I pray we recover and recognize the value of time again.  I pray we recover and recognize that outdated systems that no longer serve the majority are at their end—and that we peacefully agree to put them to bed.

Change isn’t a bad thing.  It’s a necessary thing, it’s part of life, and it is constant.  This is a circumstance we have been avoiding for too many years because we’ve been placated with things and distractions and now, given a global health crisis, we are being forced to take that next step.  We have the opportunity to find the common ground in a global community.  So, really, what a gift this is.  It may be wrapped in a terrifying package right now, and we are on shaky ground because we don’t know what the next step looks like.  But we have the chance to make something beautiful out of this.  More than anything, I pray that we choose to do so.

Take this time and enjoy.  Put away the things that distract you and spend time with those closest to you.  Don’t look at this as a negative thing—look at this as doing your part.  Look at is as the chance to tap into your creativity again.  To connect again with the things and people you love and to connect with yourself again.  Sometimes you don’t realize how disconnected you’ve been until you see how much “busy” you’ve put in your life.  So pause.  We will get through this no matter what it looks like on the other side.

And I’d like to add a personal side note: If you don’t have to go out, don’t.  In all seriousness, as someone in the healthcare industry for nearly 20 years, we need to flatten the curve to give our hospitals the best chance to logistically help us through this.  It won’t do anyone any good to have ill healthcare workers and minimal supplies when this reaches its peak.  Please respect your neighbors, yourselves, and your community enough to not spread this disease any more than necessary.  I realize how guilty I was of this as I attempted to go in twice this week—and I will never do it again.  Even though my situation isn’t Covid-19, the same applies.  When you’re sick, stay home.  Your body needs it and will thank you—and so will your co-workers.  What a beautiful act of solidarity—simply taking care of oneself to take care of others.  How gorgeously radical.  😊

Sunday Gratitude

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Today I am grateful for the amazing turn in the weather.  I know a lot of people complain about Daylight Saving Time but I woke up early (I thought it was 6:15 but it was really 7:15 hahaha) and I immediately took the dog for a walk.  My son and husband still slept so I got outside right away.  That is how I want to be able to start my days—a beautiful walk, connecting with nature.  Later in the day we were able to go to the lake and my husband fished while my son and I took a walk all the way around the water.  It felt like a release after being pent up all winter.  It felt like being alive again.

Today I am grateful for that time with my family.  It is in those moments that I truly feel like all the nonsense just slips away and there is a connection with what is really important: enjoying time together, and enjoying time in nature.  I’ve been so busy with work, with school, and with taking care of the family that we seldom have those moments to just unwind and just enjoy being a family.  It was very needed today.  The type of thing you don’t realize how much it’s necessary until it happens.

Today I am grateful to realize where I need to redirect my focus.  As I mentioned earlier, I’m torn between quite a few projects, and while I feel I’m making progress, I feel like I’ve been running with the gas pedal to the floor for a long time.  I need to focus on replenishing.  My classes are going through the basics of what it takes to run a business and I’m learning that I can’t just grind through this.  I need to slow down and get specific.  I need to find what it is in me that wants to get out.

Today I am grateful to reconnect with my husband.  I’ve been grateful for this before, but seeing the concentrated effort put into our family makes me remember why we decided to do this together.  If I’m honest, I know I stepped off the path for a little bit too.  I was so focused on breaking our cycles and finding myself that I didn’t give a lot of consideration for whether or not he was with me.  I can see how he felt left behind and how we started to drift for a while.  There were other reasons as well, but we have definitely come back to seeing the value in the team so to speak.

Today I am grateful for my health.  It has been a long time since I’ve been able to take that kind of walk, let alone two in one day and I am grateful that my body got me through it.  Though I’m not as nimble or quick as before, I am still able to do it.  It gives me motivation to keep movement and health a priority in my life.  I’m not a kid anymore so I can’t treat my body like it’s a dumping ground.  My health needs to be a priority.

Today I am grateful to have a plan.  Even if it isn’t what I originally thought, I am grateful to be able to move forward and modify as needed.  Truthfully, I’m not really even sure if it is a plan.  It’s more of a way to move forward without the self-induced stress of before.  I know that the things I want to take care of can’t always be a priority and that I will have to be flexible.  It doesn’t mean the things I want to do won’t get done.

Today I am grateful for self-acceptance.  I really do try to spend as much time on the weekend with my family as possible because that is a priority for me, but there are a few days that emphasize how important that is for me.  Today was one of those days.  Between school helping me narrow my focus and today spent with my family, I think it became clear what it means to accept myself.  I’ve tried for so long to be this successful business executive who wakes up at the crack of dawn, hits the gym, comes home and gets ready for work, all the while being the ideal wife, the amazing mom, the girl who has it all together.  The one who doesn’t need sleep and can do it all.  I’m not sure if that is real, but regardless of that fact, I am not that woman.  And the more I realize that, the more I can focus on what IS me.  I can try all I want but I am just not at that phase of my life.  I have a toddler and my husband leaves for work by 5AM so I can’t leave the house.  Even if I want to work out at home in the morning, my kid wakes up the second I’m out of bed.  I live nearly an hour away from work.  I’m in school (which is for the big picture in my life). Understanding all of these factors helps me cope with the fact I’m not the picture of who I thought a successful woman is.  It sets me up for creating success where I’m at.

Today I am grateful for self-love.  Tagging along with self-acceptance, the more I accept the phase of life I’m in now, the more I can love these moments as they’re happening rather than lamenting what I’m not doing.  Yes there are things I want in my life and I feel like I should have them because I’m at a certain age where that seems a standard accomplishment.  But that’s not where I’m at.  I have a full life and I am doing more than my best in the areas I can—and that is enough.  The path I am meant to follow may not look like everyone else’s.  Ironically I preach walking your own path all the time—I need to practice it as well.  I actually feel a little bad because I have spent so much time believing that deciding to go your own way was enough, without considering the emotional ramifications of wondering why you’re not “allowed” to follow the traditional path.  That may be a topic for another day but suffice it to say, loving yourself enough to support your own calling is key in this world.

Total Honesty

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Is it selfish to want to be your best?  I was watching an amazing motivational video today from Simon Sinek and he spoke of the dynamic with business, specifically that you have to take care of people, take care of others in order to succeed.  So much of what he said resonated with me until he started talking about the self-help industry and how he hated it.  That gave me great pause.  I will start this by saying that I haven’t read any other comments from him regarding this, so I will not jump to a conclusion but this is a statement I have heard many others agree with—and I am obstinately against it.

Hearing Sinek equate the self-help industry to a bunch of whiney people who were self-serving mad me tense up a little.  I feel this is the very belief that eats away at a person’s ability to take care of themselves.  The simple answer is that we need a middle ground.  No one can survive by giving too much of themselves or focusing too much on themselves.

I also take a very different view of self-help because it is something that helped me profusely.  Self-help applied correctly, meaning helping identify the areas you legitimately need work and walking you through that, can be a game changer.  When you are able to function from your highest capacity, in tune with your purpose and abilities, THAT is when you do your best work for others.  This supports the idea that there is a middle ground, moreso, that the act of caring for self and caring for others are dependent on each other.

To mistake self-help as self-serving is a misinterpretation of what it is at its core.  There is a need to be at your best in order to give successfully, without resentment or expectation.  Your needs have to be met on some level and the truth is not everyone is going to give you what you deserve.  This is where you need to be strong and have enough sense to realize when you are able to help and when you are not.  It isn’t selfish to set a boundary when your energy is depleted beyond what you can spare.  It isn’t selfish to make sure you’re replenished because you can then give that energy in whatever form to others, really to those who need it.

Don’t let others dissuade you from something that works for you.  No matter what it means.  When you are able to apply the healing aspect of introspection into helping others, that is when the work has come full circle and that is what we need to look for. I feel that we are in a certain time where that industry is focusing on an area that needs it—we all need to heal.  When we heal, when we are whole, when we are connected, that is when we can do our best. That isn’t to say that I don’t understand the point of how easily self-help can become self-serving—it most certainly can.  But at its core, it’s about being the best, most fulfilled self you can be and helping others do the same.

Sunday Gratitude

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Today I am grateful to delegate my time as I see fit.  I was able to make the choice to work on some B-School projects as well as this work.  I was able to spend time with my family.  I was able to do a small meal prep.  And I LEFT EVERYTHING ELSE UNDONE!  Yes, it felt uncomfortable, but as the day wore on, it felt amazing.  It was necessary and it made me feel more productive than when I tried to get through the same to-do list as every weekend.

Today I am grateful for the amazing morning I had with my family.  My husband made breakfast (because I did it yesterday) and we literally spent the morning playing.  We kept the TV off and listened to music and we played with my son.  We danced and we laughed.  We spent time with the animals and played with them too.  It was truly an organic moment of being together and enjoying each other—and I wouldn’t have traded that for ANY load of laundry.

Today I am grateful for the reminders about what is really important in life.  I work in healthcare for my 9-5 (management, not direct contact with patients) and we have some scary situations going on right now that impact members of my team.  While this is happening, we are working with limited information but it goes to show how vulnerable we can be at any given time.  Take the time you have and spend it wisely and don’t take anything for granted because you never know when things will shift.

Today I am grateful to be taking massive action toward my goals.  I am starting class tomorrow and I am so thrilled to have been working through a couple of the early modules because this is literally progress I can see.  It feels amazing.  It also feels amazing because a lot of this work is about defining where I am going.  I have looked at my initial plan and now I see where I need to adapt and change my intentions as well as my plan.  It seems so basic in retrospect, but doing this work has made all the difference.

Today I am grateful to simplify.  I’ve had to make decisions over the last few days and it has made all the difference.  It means that certain things aren’t getting done—like they won’t get done now or they may  not ever get done.  And I have to be ok with that.  Stretching myself too thin won’t help get me where I want to go no matter what so it’s better to make focused, actionable steps rather than a million little steps in a million directions.

Today I am grateful to be preparing myself for the future I am building.  I am recognizing where I need to be and the actions I need to take and it is literally transforming me into a different person.  This person needs to be able to adapt and change and needs to be willing to go outside of her comfort zone.  That is some serious work for me.  Again, working in healthcare for as long as I have, there is always a procedure and I am now venturing into territory that has no clearcut path.  But I am taking the steps necessary to get myself there.