Lately, I have found myself in a bit of a vicious cycle. I have always been someone who loves Mondays. True story! 🙂 I love the fresh start to the week, and I love what I do. But lately I haven’t wanted the weekend to end. Not because I want more of the fun stuff I’ve been doing on the weekend (although I do!), but because I didn’t *have* a “weekend”. I just had 2 additional work days that didn’t have Zoom meetings. And so I wasn’t my usual energetic self come Monday, which meant needing more time to get stuff done, which meant doing it on the weekend, which meant no down time… Does this loop sound familiar to you??
To be honest, I was berating myself for this a bit. I’m a coach, after all, so I have the tools to make better decisions and overcome limiting beliefs and bad habits. Why wasn’t I implementing them?? Well I happen to also be human, and a human living in a global pandemic at that!
FIGURING IT OUT: FEELINGS
If you watch my Thursday Thought videos, you’ll know I am a huge proponent of putting a name to our emotions. Which is why I was really thrilled to read this NYT article from Adam Grant (a great follow on LinkedIn btw!) about exactly what I was feeling. Turns out, this loop I was in has a name: It’s called languishing. Not burnout, not depression, but a state of feeling somewhat joyless, and lacking focus and motivation. Potentially the most prevalent emotion of 2021. Being able to identify what I was feeling has truly gone a long way to making me feel a lot better about it! Does it resonate with you too?
FIGURING OUT: PRIOIRITIES
And rather unsurprisingly [really, how often does the Baader Meinhof Phenomenon come up these days?! It’s very prevalent!], one of my favourite podcasts – The Happiness Lab – just last week did an episode on the importance of a Day of Rest. The context was about Judaism and the celebration of the traditional Jewish day of rest, Shabbat. But the overarching theme was how critical it is to our overall health to take a day off. To rest. To step away from our devices. To lay down the burdens of work.
Which brought to mind a book I read a while ago, The Why Café by John Strelecky. [Auf Deutsch als “Das Café am Rande der Welt“ erhältlich.] He too talks about the Consumerist Loop: Work harder so you can get more stuff, which requires you to work harder, so you can get more stuff. The book is a bit cliché, but the central tenet is an important one: to question what it is that truly makes us happy. To discover our why. And while admittedly I sometimes find the “what’s your why?” ideology a bit too saccharine, I *am* a very big fan of doing the work of self-reflection to figure out what truly does make you happy. And for that, The Why Café is worth a read.
I do love when my podcast faves interview each other, and that was the case with Arianna Huffington interviewing Dan Harris (of the Ten Percent Happier podcast) last week. They talked about self-compassion, meditation and mental health. I particularly loved how Harris pointed out that “you think that you are thinking your thoughts. But in fact, you are thinking your culture’s thoughts”. And precisely in this time of a global pandemic, we are indeed internalizing a lot of the world’s anxiety. So this was a really encouraging and timely listen.
FIGURING OUT: YOUR VOICE
A significant amount of what I read and listen to is for my own professional growth and development as a coach. Often that does overlap with what my clients are interested in as well! And I think this episode of Coaching for Real Leaders on Finding your Leadership Voice is just such an example. It not only demonstrates how powerful and effective coaching can be, but also provides some excellent insight. I found this quote in particular to be really spot on:
“Feedback like ‘be more confident’ isn’t particularly useful because it’s not actionable. Confidence is not an action. It’s a feeling that is created as a result of actions and behaviours. And so the real question is: what are the actions you can take that will help you feel more confident about yourself and help others feel more confident in you?”
In this time of overload, anxiety, and the confusion of our new not-really-normal, coaching is such a powerful tool to help figure yourself out and identify what your unique version of professional success and personal fulfillment looks like. The fear of choosing the wrong coach can be a barrier to entry though, and I thought this article on choosing a coach was really helpful.
If the idea of coaching appeals to you, let’s chat! The opportunity to take a step back and think; to carve out some time to reflect with a neutral party; to gain focus, clarity, and balance is always valuable but in a period of change overload and uncertainty fatigue absolutely INvaluable. I’ve got a couple of coaching spots coming available in May. Get in touch if you’d like one of them to be for you!
FIGURING OUT: WHAT TO READ NEXT
Having just read a huge tome set in the late 12 century, I would normally have chosen a different genre for my next read. But somehow the appeal of that time period was still fresh in mind, and so I picked up Outlaw by Angus Donald, a story of Robin Hood and his merry men. Quite a fun read and again a real escape into another world. Perhaps not the most historically rich novel I’ve ever read, but no less entertaining. Turns out it’s a series (all the best books are!) so watch this space for me to mention the ensuing editions!
I’d love to know what resources resonate most with you. Let me know! 🙂
Until then, happy reading, listening, and reflecting!