I don't know about you, but the first 3 months of this year were insane. On my side, I did 8 public speaking events, 12 workshops/webinars, wrote 15 articles, hosted 16 podcast interviews, gave 3 podcast interviews, mentored 7 founders, did one-on-one coaching for 3 different people in 3 different time zones, wrote 3.75 chapters for my book, got an agent for my book (!), all while juggling another business, a toddler, and a 4 month old baby. *Deep exhale....*
So, at the end of March, I did the best thing I could do for myself and decided to take the month of April off. I didn't unplug 100% but I did the bare minimum to keep things ticking along and gave myself a break. I read all eight Bridgerton novels, saw my family in New York, took the pressure off to do, do do, and do, and am still on a slow burn until next week.
BUT, I know I can't - or won't - last like this. I am a do-er, an action-taker, a creator, and a mover, so I need to do, act, create, and move. But after almost a month off, getting back into gear is SOOOOOO hard.
We all face this how-do-I-get-going-again conundrum at some time or another at least once a year. Usually it happens after a career break, parental leave, summer holidays, Christmas, a sabbatical, or just a long weekend, and we find it hard to muster the energy to get going again.
So what do I do to get back into execution mode? Well, I start slow. After my "April off", I am warming up my doing muscles by writing a little each day and hosting just one workshop next week.
And I make plans, based on what is most important. I have sat down to map out what the first few weeks of May will look like so I get all of my submissions in to publishers and my mastermind gets up and running with a bang. I've even planned to go out for a long, leisurely breakfast cooked by someone else on the day my baby daughter starts at day care.
And I ask for help. This means my VA, my husband, and a few other select people I can trust to lend a hand. Asking for help is hard because it means letting go, but I would rather let go than be resentful of all I have to do (for me, those are the only options). The things I've asked for help with are as small as asking my husband to organize play dates instead of the family "admin" always falling on me, to ordering ready meals so I don't always get stuck in the kitchen.
That's it: start small (to build up the momentum again), make a plan (so I don't flail around feeling overwhelmed and stare blankly at my computer each day), and ask for help (so I don't loose steam before I have any to loose).
These small things have helped me time after time, and if you're in need of a mojo injection, I know they will help you too.
I don't know about you, but so often - sometimes every day - there comes a point in my day when I feel bad about where I'm not and what I am not doing. It might just be that I have an over-developed sense of guilt (I mean I went to Catholic school for 13 years and come from a big Indian family, so the combo turns normal guilt trips into epic guilt pilgrimages) or it might just be that I always feel pulled in too many directions.
When I'm working, I worry that I'm not spending enough time nurturing my personal relationships and when I'm spending time with people I love, I worry that I should be doing something for my businesses and when I'm working diligently on my businesses, I worry that I'm not investing enough time on my health and fitness.
It's a no-win situation that can drive anyone crazy. And I remember clearly the day a few years ago when I was going down a spiral of "I should be here, no I should be there, no wait, I NEED to be way over there..." and a really wise friend - who also happens to be a very successful, seemingly non-stressed business owner (who travels all the time for her business) AND is a mom of three - gave me the best advice I have gotten for my business and my life in general: Make a decision and then own it.
Now this little bit of advice might look obvious - and often the best advice is - but the profundity (now there's a big word for a Sunday) lies precisely in its simplicity. And I can usually tell how profound advice is by how difficult it is for me to implement.
In this case, it's that much harder because there are two parts: 1) making the decision, and 2) owning it. I find that as I've practiced and gotten better at 1, I've really needed to up my game when it comes to 2.
And damnnnnnnnnnnn, is it hard. Not because I abdicate responsibility for my decisions, but because with every decision I make, there is a tradeoff, and in my heart of hearts I am a maximalist who hates that I can't be everywhere, do all the things, and be everything to everyone all the time.
Tradeoffs suck, but the grown-up in me knows that tradeoffs are inescapable. And it's only with time and practice and catching myself that I've gotten better at accepting that truth and being truly present wherever I am instead of agonizing about where I'm not.
Because the thing is, once we make a decision, that should mean we have already considered the relevant facts beforehand. That should mean we have done our best to make the best decision with the circumstances we are given. And that should then mean that it is easier to own the decision - tradeoffs and all - and move on.
So now, whenever I am doing something to grow my businesses or spending evenings giving talks or taking afternoons to write my book, I TRY to be fully present and focus on delivering the best talk, having the best meeting, writing the best chapter, and leave everything else where it is. And then when I am with my family (my two daughters in particular), I TRY to focus fully on them, on what we are doing in the moment, and leave my phone and all of the things on my never-ending to-accomplish list physically and mentally out of the way. It's not easy, but I try as best I can.
And I firmly believe (know!) that we are not compartmented people, despite what we tell ourselves, and that we take everything with us wherever we go. But the key is not to let the guilt come there with us too, because it will consume us AND the fun and success we could otherwise be experiencing if we hadn't invited guilt to the party.
I get it. Like I said, I struggle with this on a near-daily basis. And there are no hacks that I've uncovered other than practice. So, the next time you start wishing you were somewhere else or feel guilty about where you are not, remind yourself that you decided to be wherever you are and then practice owning that decision.
It will make being a grown-up, a boss, a business-owner, a leader, a parent, a partner, and a person that much easier AND will be a reminder that choice is a gift we shouldn't always spoil by wishing we had made a different one.