If you’ve been following along, you know that I’ve just come through an intense period on the school-front with my older daughter. The lead up to learning about her middle school placement was stressful, and frankly, consuming—even though I coached myself through it several times a day.
Now that time is over. We know where she will go. We do feel lucky—especially given that placements were determined by lottery this year, and yet the day after we learned the news, I could not move on. I was still in knots and this was truly bad timing for my stagnant energy.
I knew I could use a break, a weeklong vacation, a day off (even an afternoon of playing hooky!) but I had much to accomplish that week: namely two corporate proposals and a workshop to plan on top of existing client sessions. I had the time blocked out on my calendar to do these bigger projects, but I was simply unable to string coherent sentences together.
I slammed my laptop shut, got some coaching from a colleague and friend, and was able to get what I needed to move on without booking an immediate beach vacation.
Here’s how to move forward in the short-term, when you know you need a break:
1. Acknowledge your effort
Man, I went to 12 school tours, countless meetings, managed a village worth of expectations—including those of a ten-year-old—and I was exhausted. I let this wash over me and you can too. Remind yourself of all you’ve done, the time and energy you’ve spent. Even if the results weren’t completely how you desired them to be, you worked hard and you did your best. Own it.
When I thought about my reason for needing a weeklong vacation at that very moment, it was to de-pretzel. To relax. To renew. I put on my sneakers and walked in the park until I began to feel some release, some relief from this stuck place. You can do whatever you do that brings you energy and moves you through stress.
3. Reconnect to your "why"
After doing some work to put my recent past to rest, I needed a way to get my momentum back on the projects in front of me. My friend asked me a brilliant and simple question. "Why is this work important?" And I was back. Once I began talking about this work that I love—supporting employees in defining the leaders they want to be, while having the courage to be themselves instead of making comparisons to others—I was hooked and excited to dive in. What’s your "why" for the work you’re doing?
While I was able to complete my work last week and feel truly proud of what I accomplished, I did fight that nagging feeling that there was more I could have done. I knew I still wasn’t working with a full tank and to make it through I needed to set expectations accordingly. Be happy with quality, not quantity. Do the highest priority items and let some less important things slide. Hello, pile of mail growing on my counter. I’ll commune with you another day! Most importantly, I took the whole weekend off: Passover with family and extra time with my girls. While the beach isn’t in the cards just yet, I continue to build in mini-breaks so I can slowly get my mojo back and move on.