Last week I broke all kinds of records in my business. It was impressive! I medaled in procrastination, laziness and even binge-watching. You're welcome, Netflix! I stared at a blank screen that taunted me into frustration and shame. Then, as the last hours of Friday afternoon ticked by, I reviewed my week's accomplishments and requested of the universe a do-over. Knowing that was not going to happen, I took a walk instead. While taking in the beauty of the trees in spring bloom and the familiar sites of my neighborhood, I took time to reflect on where it all fell down on what should have been a perfectly viable five-day stretch.
Here's what I picked up on my wisdom walk that not only shook me out of my funk but also gave me the idea for this post—creative bonus!
1. You dumped it, but that's ok.
It truly sucks when we brush up against our humanity. Just when we think we're changing the world, creating work that moves people, delivering projects on-time and on-budget, we fall. And it hurts. After my triple-medal week, I had to look at myself and say, "It was not your week. That makes you a human, not a bad human." Acknowledging your "failure" and going a step further to accept it, neutralizes the situation in a way that helps you move forward. It could even bring you into a moment that connects you with others, knowing that you can't be the only one who experiences productivity fails!
2. Do something that brings you joy.
This is counter-intuitive. My first instinct was to punish myself and continue to stare at the blank screen while I dodged the barrage of self-directed insults. But, at my core, I'm all in on the "F it" approach to intuitive living. When something feels like a struggle, do what makes you happy and see what happens. While this method was not wholeheartedly appreciated by my loved ones during my high school years, my long-standing practice has served me well. When I set out for my walk, my senses were hungry. I took it all in and it was exactly the peace I was seeking. I was flooded with ideas and explanations that reconnected me to my path.
3. What can you learn?
Once I was in a more accepting place, I was able to turn my rough week into an opportunity to learn what works for me and what clearly DOES NOT. What was different this week that could have thrown me off my game? I was slowly getting over a head cold. I gave myself four days to heal and I was NOT budging after that. I had to get back to work, right? It was just a cold. Because I was sick, I also took a nearly ten-day break from exercise. This did not work for me! I needed my release for both my body and my mind. I would have changed the game for my week if I re-set expectations. If I admitted that I was still sick, rested more and walked instead of going for my run, I would have been able to at least move my body—rather than sparring with my blank screen. What was different for you and how can you turn your productivity-fail into the answers you need to keep you on track?
Most importantly, for all of this to work you MUST believe you can get back at it with renewed fervor and momentum. You MUST deposit your unproductive week into a distant past and re-commit to the things you need to put in place in order to get back to work! I say this as I sit in my favorite writing coffee shop at my best writing time with my most effective caffeinated writing fuel. I threw everything I had at this morning so I could crush any lingering doubts. And that, my friends, is how it's done.