Three weeks ago my productivity came to a grinding halt. While I had two new exciting projects to tackle—my mind was focused on one thing.
The thing for which I had no control.
The thing I judged myself for obsessing over even as I wrote this.
It seemed like such a teeny, tiny thing relative to all that was happening in the world and for other people. And yet, there I was. In a place where it was the only thing I could write about.
My daughter’s New York City middle school placement for next year.
A week later, I now know where she will go and the uncertainty is over.
But when I sat in the unknown—waiting on this important piece of data for our family—I was driven to ask, “Why is this taking up so much real estate in my brain right now?”
I’m an entrepreneur. I live in the space of uncertainty. My job and my path are completely unpredictable to me—and I thrive in this world where I create many things out of nothing.
So what’s different here? Why for weeks, did I painstakingly finish my writing and then decide to do my 57th Google search to see if anyone had heard anything about the day the placements would be released? With each search, I simultaneously prayed that I would be a more evolved parent by the time we hit high school and college anticipated results.
I’ve deduced that it wasn’t about:
My daughter’s mental state, because she was 100 percent cooler than me throughout the process.
The actual schools, because I know they are all good in their own ways and that we, as parents, have the power to make them even better.
Yet, it was about a practice of:
Releasing perfectionism and the notion that there was one more thing I could have done better in the process.
Breathing through my pre-feeling of what I expected her emotions to be.
I can’t protect her from disappointment or heartbreak and if I do, I’m robbing her of the experience of learning resilience in the face of those life moments.
And so, I breathed. I let go. I instituted a Google embargo for the week the results were released. I sat with the discomfort in the hopes that it was the very thing that would make me evolve before the next milestones come our way.
I did what I do during moments of stress. I wrote (thanks for listening), walked in the park, belted out show tunes with my girls and played rowdy games of tug of war with my puppy.
I drew the direct line between the career-focused resilience I’m helping my clients build in our work and the moment my daughter was facing—and I knew that no matter what news would be revealed, we would learn and we would be OK.