Make Change

5 Steps for Grounding During Instability

I’ve found myself in many client conversations these last months about the challenge of responding to change on multiple levels: institutional, global, national, local, and personal. So, a few weeks ago, I prepared a video for you called “5 Steps for Grounding During Instability”, in part, to deal with the profound ways in which the upcoming election has us all stirred up. 

In different ways and levels of severity, I find this feeling of instability & volatility everywhere I go; it feels like it’s coming right at us. I do not know anyone who is not feeling shaky, either personally or professionally. I shot this video to offer you a process for dealing with the constant change. 

Then something happened that led me to use & review every single one of these 5 steps… and it wasn’t the national news.

We had a COVID exposure in our family. It demanded a rush of change and wave of response. We had to employ a greater level of quarantine than we’d experienced before, underwent multiple tests and that anxious waiting period for results. I held hushed late-night conversations with my husband & took part in tough friend and family discussions. Don’t forget the worry. There was lots of worry. 

We are okay. This time around no one in our immediate circle got COVID. The experience revealed a glimpse of the tremendous amount of stress people deal with as they navigate a positive COVID case personally or in their family. And that instability I wrote about? It was already on my doorstep weeks before the election… which I am also preparing for.

I used all five steps for grounding in these last weeks of uncertainty. They helped me and my family ride the wave of changes & stress together. I had the opportunity to practice these steps before the moment when everything was upended. I was in the middle of the hard moment with a plan, knowing what my family and community needed with a full heart.

I hope you find these steps as helpful as I did. Use them today and prepare for tomorrow.

A guide for those who want to follow the steps in writing.
 
May you, your community, and those at your workplace, be well,
Annie

Rheanna Smith5 Steps for Grounding During Instability
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Making a tiny shift

Well here in Seattle, we are over 60 days in quarantine. My days are a mix of cleaning dishes, helping with a tiny “preschool” of 3, supporting clients as they make tough decisions, reheating my coffee for the third time, and more dishes.

I know that we are all navigating new realities and changes. I am also very aware that we are not all having the same experience. This pandemic is impacting different people and different communities in painfully different ways. It is highlighting the deep inequities that already existed. Those who are asked to work even harder with less protection are often folks of color and women. Those who in more danger of not being supported if they catch the virus are also people of color. These stark differences are causing us to consider on our own experiences in connection to each other’s experiences.

I am noticing, regardless of our different experiences, most of us are in a place of reflection. If you have a lot of time on your hands you may be reflecting… well a little too much. And if you find yourself with less time, and even more to juggle than before the quarantine, you might find the reflection is in sneaking right before bed or while you wash all those dishes.

Go towards that reflection gently, don’t ignore it. 

What is that voice asking you to pay attention to?

What are you noticing… about you, your relationships, your work, our communities?

Is there a shift calling out to you? Something you want to change?
(Maybe it is not as grand as the pivot everyone is talking about.)

If you give this ask for reflection a few moments of your time you can begin to make positive changes in your own life, in your community. (Examples of people making positive changes in my own community.)

For more on my own reflection & a simple process for paying attention to the call for a shift, watch my short video. Want to go even further for a step by step reflection process below.

The first step toward a shift or change is to pay attention.

Step by step: How to make a shift in your life

If you have a little more time or capacity, here is a way to reflect on a change you want to make, without simmering in it (which increases overwhelm).

What do you want?
First, ask your self – what is the shift you are noticing, or wanting, or needing to occur? (Again, this can be internal, or in relationship to others.)

Write it down.
On a sticky note. On a piece of paper.
Whew you wrote it down! It just got real.

Now let it be for a while. Put it up somewhere you will see it.

Reflect on your role & capacity
Come back and reflect by journaling or thinking about these questions:
– What can you control in the thing you want to have change? 
– What do you have capacity for taking on right now?
– Where do you already see the shift happening? How can you increase what is working?

Start small and with you
Find the smallest, simplest step that you can take, which is in your own control, to begin the shift.
Even if you are hoping for a big change in your workplace or in your community. You can find your role within the change and start there.

Gather resources
Start paying attention to the conversations & resources that begin to come your direction in support of this change. Read them. Listen.

Talk it out
Find someone you trust who will be kind to you while you reflect on what you want to change. Pick someone who will help you see other perspectives. Ask them for support, further conversations, & accountability.

What is working
Often our desire for change can come from what is wrong and not working. Hold on to the reminders of what is good and worthy of celebration – in yourself, your life, your relationship, your work, your community, & your country.

Listen to other perspectives.
Now that you have begun your own work. Continue to reflect on what may be occurring for others in the change you want to see.
– What could be their perspective, experience, & feelings?
Listen to those around you involved in what you want to see change.
See what changes in you when you open to their viewpoint.

Repeat each step, go further toward the shift you want to make.
Watch ripples in your life, your relationships, your work and your community!

Share with others – here, in a phone call or on social media… what positive shift are you making and how?

admin@annievonessenwebsite2015Making a tiny shift
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Say yes to life’s wild ride

Have you been contemplating doing something a little scary or exciting with your life?

Maybe you have been thinking about making a big shift in what you are doing or how you do it. Or perhaps you want try something new, like picking up a paint brush or a pen and creating something. Maybe there is something or someone you have been avoiding for a while and you are mustering the courage to have a conversation.

There is a lot of fear swirling around those of us living in the United States, and around everyone in this current world. Horrible, scary things are happening to people in the United States — from hurricanes to police violence. People around the world are fleeing their homes because of natural disasters and horrifying acts of terror. The fear is palpable. I can feel it every time someone begins a conversation about Hillary or Trump. (See? Didn’t your heart race a bit just reading their names?)

Fear is all around us. It can stop us in our tracks. It can pervade beyond where it makes sense—moving from a logical fear that protects us, to dwell in a haunted place inside our minds where it is no longer helpful.

Fear shuts us down from imagining new possibilities for ourselves and for others.

How can we answer this current, fear-inducing political and social landscape?

One way is to make the choice to say YES to the things in our own lives that we want to bring into being, even if they scare us a little.

This is my first blog post after seven months off. I did not intentionally take this time away from writing to you. It happened naturally when I made one of those gutsy life changes I am talking about. My husband Roberto and I decided to try and get pregnant and have a baby. And it worked! I am now very round and only three weeks from when this little one is due.

After I became pregnant, something unexpected happened. I grew very quiet and internal. I am not often a silent person. However, having a life growing inside me caused me to focus my energy differently. I was not totally aware of this shift until I realized I had slowed WAY down on my personal Facebook posts and had stopped writing blog posts. Part of my silence was because of this small, amazing miracle occurring and another side of my reticence to speak up was my own fear. Choosing to have a child is scary – you are committing to something much bigger than yourself, you are creating life when there is a lot that can harm the next generation, and you are guaranteed that you will not be a perfect parent. And this act of creation is already changing me in powerful ways.

There are choices we make that change us more than we realize.

After a few of these life experiences, we may begin to get weary of any change or new choice that affects our lives. Even if there are exciting opportunities ahead, we’re smart enough to know that transition is never easy and it never turns out how we planned. You can choose to try to stay on the same path and walk the line. But you know that usually doesn’t work either. Life will still send you some big game changers.

As I sit before one of my biggest life transitions yet, grateful, excited and—yes!—terrified, I encourage you to say YES to your next possibility, big or small. The growth that happens when we say YES to the wild ride of life is powerful. It is where the creation happens.

We need some creative, life affirming energy in this world right now. Let’s say YES.

Before you click on the next email or browser screen, take a moment. You’ve made it this far. Something is speaking to you. What do you want to embrace and say YES to? Or what do you want to stop doing?

Gather your courage. Gather your support system. And try it.

I am with you in this one. I am gathering my support systems and my courage and getting ready to bring a brand new, small human being into this world, in the midst of all of the fear and hate. It will change everything for me. This choice will also bring delight and possibility into my life and the lives of others.

Join me in saying YES to continuing to choose living in the face of fear.

 

 

You’ll be hearing a lot less from me for the next three to four months, while I’m learning to be a mom. I’ll be taking time away from my business, but before I take this break, I want to address how we can address the fear that pervades our current world.

When I return in a few months, I expect a few exciting changes in my business, and to continue to do awesome work with my clients. I promise to send you a picture or two via my email!

admin@annievonessenwebsite2015Say yes to life’s wild ride
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A bigger reason for living

Do you believe you are living for something larger than yourself? I believe most of us are living for a purpose greater than ourselves. You may not have gotten explicit about the big purpose behind what you do every day, but I imagine that you could name many reasons — reasons that are beyond your own needs.

  • Are you making choices so your children learn how to grow up as loving humans? Perhaps you’re making hard choices so your children can have opportunities and new experiences you did not.
  • Are you working on a project that will make our communities better places to live, or our schools better places to learn? Are you working for a world where people will have more access to resources, care, and love?
  • Are you trying to act in a way that causes the people around you to experience a little joy and kindness during their day?

I believe we were put on this spinning planet for a short time in order to give something of ourselves. That “something” does not have to be grand or heroic. If we are all thoughtfully trying and giving in our own sphere of influence, it will matter. The effect will ripple.

Take a moment to get clear. Take a breath. Then ask yourself, “Right now, what bigger reason am I living for?”

Now write down your bigger reason for living.

Think of one way recently you have done your best to live into that bigger purpose. It could be a grant you wrote. A project you are working on with a team. A conversation with your child, your parent, your best friend.

The way you treat someone on the bus today, how you move around people on the sidewalk, how you talk to someone serving you coffee… every action is an opportunity to make a small connection with another human being. A connection that lets the other person know you care, even just a little. And that is living with a bigger reason than yourself.

In the midst of all the violence, occurring in our world and in our backyard, we need this – to connect to our larger purpose.

And here is one more thing: When you see someone trying their best to live out their purpose, see them and say something. You could say, “I see you being an awesome parent, friend, partner.” Or, “I see you working hard for our community.” Say thank you. There are a lot of us trying out here. Let’s remember to keep trying and keep saying thanks.

Here are a few examples of ordinary people, like you and me, living out their bigger purpose – here and here.

This world is rough. It is full of injustice and suffering. In the midst of all the brutal news, we tend to forget our bigger purposes. As we recognize all the ways we fall short as humans, we forget that most of us are working to improve this world.

Remembering our bigger purpose and acknowledging others will allow us to keep expanding our hearts.

How are you living out your bigger purpose? How do you see others living out their bigger purpose?

Post your thoughts in the comments below.
Join the conversation on Facebook.

Do you want to commit to finding ways to have a calmer, more connected 2016?

My Room Next Door class begins on February 14th. Choose now to be less stressed next year. Get more info and purchase your seat here.

admin@annievonessenwebsite2015A bigger reason for living
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Maybe it’s time to start something new

I know I often write about de-stressing by taking things off your plate, but maybe it’s time to try something new.

Whoa! If your schedule is packed and you do not know how to fit in one more thing — or you don’t even feel like thinking about new things — this may seem like a very unhelpful suggestion.

Hear me out.

I imagine there is something you’re wanting to try. Something new that you’ve been thinking about, but haven’t shared with anyone. Maybe this new thing does not even require extra time in your schedule.

Trying new things is how we spark and light up. It is how we learn and grow.

New things can make us smile and giggle. New things can make us almost brim over with fear, and then experience the glorious release of saying, “Well, screw it!” and jumping in with both feet.

It’s like trying a bite of an unfamiliar new dessert at the bakery. It can be a sugary surprise and it is almost always worth it.

I am trying something new right now. For the last few months, I have been going to the gym and joining 10 other women of various shapes and sizes in weight lifting and interval training. This is way outside my comfort zone. My notion of myself has never been strong or athletic. Instead, I have seen myself as klutzy and goofy. I am more likely to be found bumping into the corner of a table than I am lifting a weight. Now I put on tight blue pants and running shoes and join the circle of women to receive our marching orders in a smelly gym.

You know that sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach? That’s how I felt as I parked my car in front of the gym for the first two months.

Then WHY in the world am I going?

Here is the reason: I have always wanted to feel a little less clumsy and a little bit stronger. And because something in me was resisting the idea SO fiercely, I knew something in me really wanted to try.

So in a practical sense, this is my new thing right now: This amazing class that is teaching me how to do a burpee. Every time I go, I dread it a little bit less. And I am getting stronger.

But do you want to know what the new thing in my life really is?

It is THINKING about myself differently. I am now trying on this idea that I am a strong woman. A woman who is totally capable of lifting weights and doing wall sits. This is the biggest shift. I have to give myself a talking to almost every class. It goes something like this: “Annie, you are totally capable of doing this. You are doing this! You are strong and you are getting stronger. Get it!”

So I turn back your direction.

What is the new thing you’ve been wanting to try? Is there something you are already doing that is new and scary and out of your comfort zone?

It could be an addition to your life – a new skill or hobby. Or it could just be a new way of thinking about yourself. I bet there is something, if you look closely.

Acknowledge this new thing you are trying on. Maybe you can begin to see yourself in a new light. You can say, “Hey, I am strong. I am capable. I am learning this new skill. I am becoming this kind of person.”

Look yourself squarely in the face. (Really do this. You could even go to a mirror.) And acknowledge the new thing you are trying on – the new person you are becoming.

And if you even want to tell someone about it, do it! Tell someone you love about this new thing that you are living into.

You can even tell me! Feel free to write me a note or post a comment below.

Do you want to commit to finding ways to have a calmer, more connected 2016?

My Room Next Door class begins on February 14th. Choose now to be less stressed next year. Get more info and purchase your seat here.

admin@annievonessenwebsite2015Maybe it’s time to start something new
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Is the time you spend, well spent?

Sweaters are on and little kids are leaving our building to walk up the hill to school. Last week, my husband Roberto packed up the car and left for his school up north. We have resumed our routine of weekdays apart and weekends together. So far, this year is easier than last, because as with most change, it is easier when you know what to expect.

Last month, I wrote to you about my full plate and the need to decide what to set down and what to pick up. I have been reflecting on this idea and talking to people about it, including a few conversations that came out of my last email letter.

When you are busy – don’t you find it is a bit more complicated than just re-evaluating your life and your time and saying no to a few things in order to make room for more? The advice we all get is to learn to just say no. It has been the advice I have followed and given plenty of times. I tell myself every time I overschedule and I tell my stretched thin clients – “Just take something off your plate.”

Is it really that easy? I don’t think it is. Yes, I should say no to a few more things. But there is a bigger question that wants to be asked, “Why does it seem like my packed calendar does not match what I want from my life or I thought I wanted from this season of my life?”

Before you say “yes” or say “no”, you need to know why. What do you value? What do you want from your life and your time?

Have you ever had a moment where you are not sure if your time matches your priorities, values or dreams? Maybe it is happening right now.

When reflecting on this for myself I came up with a different answer than I expected.

As this busy summer ended I felt like my time had been packed to the gills and I had an uneasy feeling that I was missing something. I had spent my time doing more work with clients than ever before. And more time with my husband and immediate family.

I checked in with myself and asked “Is how I am using my time matching with my priorities and values?”

The knee-jerk reflection was NO! I “should” have had more time this summer swimming in lakes. I missed seeing friends!

Then I reflected further and realized that something else had shifted. Normally, being outside and with friends is what is important to me during the summer. I love my friends! Yet I was delivered two amazing gifts this summer – my business is growing and my husband, who usually does not live in the same town as me, was home all summer. My priorities have changed for the time being. I put my husband, close family and business first. My calendar reflects a change in priorities.

My mind did not catch up and felt like something was left behind. And it was. When your priorities shift, even momentarily, you do have to say good bye to other things. You have to make hard choices.

Maybe this is true for you too. Maybe something in your life has shifted. External circumstances beyond your control can completely change what you need to focus your time on. It can take a while for our brain to catch up with the change.

When you feel like what you spend your time doing is not in line your priorities and values you may begin to feel sick – physically or emotionally. Your body knows when you aren’t living in a way that is true to your core needs or when you have not acknowledged a shift that is happening or needs to happen in your life.

Perhaps, right now you are feeling great about what you do with your days. For the most part, what you spend your time doing matches what you care about and what you want to move forward in your life.  If this is the case in your life right now, reflect on that and then CELEBRATE the HECK out of it!

However if, like me, you find that your time is not being spent in a way that matches your values and priorities. The first trick is to notice this. Maybe your priorities have changed. Maybe your time has been overtaken by outside forces.

Here are a few reflection questions to help you figure out if your calendar does not match with your priorities or values and WHY:
  • Has something in your external world changed?
  • Has this change brought about a change in your priorities or how you need to spend your time?
  • Have you changed?
  • What are you craving from your life now? In the future?
  • What are the most important things to you right now? The people? The things you want to support?
  • Does your calendar reflect your priorities, hopes and values?
  • AND does your calendar have breathing room for you?

It can be hard to look at how we spend our time against what we care about and what our goals are. If we look closely it could mean a major life shift is happening or needs to happen. It could also mean we will need to change behaviors.  The tricky thing is if you do not take a look at your priorities and your time, that disconnect can lead to continuous stress and even worse, illness.

If your calendar does not reflect your priorities and values, what are the small changes you can make?

What might be the bigger changes you could examine?

Be gentle and take a look. See if your priorities and time align. What has to shift?

Annie Von EssenIs the time you spend, well spent?
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“I’m tired of it!” Now what? – THE CHECKLIST: PART TWO

Here are a few more ideas to carry with you whenever the work is hard and you’re “TIRED OF IT”. And here is the first half of the checklist of ideas if you missed it.

Reach out for support

We often struggle with asking for help or reaching out when things get tough at work. I am one of those people. I do not like asking for help. I want to be strong and take care of others but I don’t want to be seen needing support. Look at the line of work I am in!

Here’s the deal: People want to help and support us. This is what connects and brings us together. If you are truly tired, exhausted and thinking about throwing in the towel on that project… then that is THE SIGN you need help! You probably need two kinds of help. You need help actually doing the work AND you need some human contact.

First, ask for help with the workload. Talk with a few people you trust. Tell them about what is hard for you right now. Hang out with the humans you love and have fun. If it’s helpful, ask for check-ins and accountability. (Remember, we almost always CAN ask for help, but we usually DON’T!)

Remember a time when you got through it

We have all worked hard, pushed through and accomplished things we did not think were possible at the time. Find some examples in your past. Make a list — on paper or in your mind — of five times you have worked through something very hard. Be mindful of these times. What did you do? How did you feel? You are capable of working through this tough time. Remind yourself.

Work differently

There is always a new way to work. You can do things differently now. Once we have been working on something for a while, we begin to only see one way for things to happen. This is one of the most dangerous traits we have as humans: Our inability to see that there is a different way to do what we have been doing. If something is not working or if it is incredibly tiresome, try doing it a different way.

Sometimes we are stuck and we need others to help unstick us. Get together with a group of people and talk through fresh options. Pick people you want to talk with, people who will listen. And remember to let them know you are looking for ideas, not answers. You still get to decide what you are going to do. Imagine a change. Get creative. Build a plan.

Get “gritty”

Remember, as human beings we have the ability to do a lot more than we think we can. We see examples of this all the time in sports stories or survival stories. People can get through a lot when they need to. You can, too.

Dig in a little deeper. When you think you have reached your limit and you cannot do any more, try stretching even further. That is when you’ll begin to find out what you are made of. You have guts and abilities you never even knew about.

Take good care of yourself. Get support. And then put your back into it! Tell yourself you can do this. Then keep doing it. You are much stronger than you think.

You’ve got this. And when the work is done, you are going to feel good!

Annie Von Essen“I’m tired of it!” Now what? – THE CHECKLIST: PART TWO
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“I’m tired of it!” Now what? – THE CHECKLIST: PART ONE

In this series (check out Part 1 and Part 2), we have been thinking about what to do when you want and need to continue working and creating, but you’re exhausted, tired and frustrated. How do you keep going?

Here is a checklist of helpful tips that work for my clients — and for me!

Ritualize the hard work

You may have heard people say, “Do the hard work first.” I totally agree. Sometimes when we are tired of the project or exhausted from the work we avoid the hardest parts. Those hard bits and pieces keep lurking around, getting bigger, and wearing us out. The more we avoid them, the harder they are to accomplish.

What I like to say is this: “Do the hard work first AND build consistent rituals that make work easier to get in to.”

What does ritualizing the hard work look like?

Create a time, a place and a method for getting the work done.

In my business I have a few pieces of work I avoid. I love my business. I just do not love bookkeeping! Bookkeeping — actually, AVOIDING the bookkeeping — can make my whole business feel like a chore. But I am learning that if I make this task a ritual, it eliminates the stress and strain caused by avoiding it. I do my bookkeeping the same time of the week and month, in the same place. I give myself a treat (tea and music). And I put on my “Get it done” attitude.

Do you have a task or two that are making you dislike your whole job? Figure out the pieces you really do not like. Do not put off those tasks. Create a ritual for getting them done. (Or if you are lucky, maybe you can hand those tasks to someone who would enjoy them.)

 

Take a break

Take a break! Take a break! Take a break!

Walk away from the desk. Walk away from the work. Walk away from the project.

Do this for a short time every day. Do it every week for a longer period of time. And please take a real break. Do something nourishing and DO NOT talk about work.

For more about the benefits of taking breaks, check out this post [link] AND this post [link]. Really, taking breaks is one of the BEST things you can do for yourself.

 

Know why

If you’re going to keep going when the work is tiresome, you need to know why you are doing the work in the first place. Then when the work gets hard, you have to remind yourself of the reason you are doing it.

Ask yourself, “Why do I want this?” Write it down. Put that note somewhere you can see it.

(Oh, and check in with yourself about that “Why…” If your answer is about guilt, obligation, and pride you may want to examine if you really want to keep going.)

 

Exercise

Move your body. It will reduce stress. It will give you new perspective. It will increase your creative problem-solving ability. It’s fun.

You don’t need a big new routine. You don’t have to join a gym or buy an exercise outfit. Walk around the block. Stretch in the mornings. Put a happy song on your iPod and take a dance break.

Trust me, getting in touch with your physical self really helps when times are tough.

 

Sleep

Sleep will… well… make you less exhausted! If you are tired of the work and you are not sleeping, it is hard to keep going. Go to bed 30 minutes earlier for starters. Create a cozy ritual around bedtime. Don’t take your phone or your tablet to bed.

If you are having trouble falling asleep it could be the stress from work. First increase your exercise during the day. If that doesn’t help you fall asleep more easily, talk to a health care professional.

 

Meditate

Meditating for just five to 10 minutes a few times a week will give you a different perspective. Meditation does not always bring immediate relief, but you will discover that it does help throughout the day. Meditation reminds us of our breath, of our connection to each other and nature. It helps us take things a little less seriously.

Stay tuned to my next post to see four more tips in the checklist.

Annie Von Essen“I’m tired of it!” Now what? – THE CHECKLIST: PART ONE
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“I’m tired of it!” Now what? PART TWO

You’re doing your work. You’re involved in a project. You want to keep going… you need to keep going… you must keep going… but you’re TIRED OF IT!

What do you do now?

In my last post I suggested taking the time and space to think things through. I suggested asking yourself, “Is what I’m doing right now the right thing for me? Am I doing it the right way?”

Which answer did you hear?

Answer #1. “Stop doing the work because it is no longer good for you.”

Answer #2. “The work is good! Keep going and do things a different way.”

Answer #3. “This work is important and you need to do it! Keep going and don’t stop even if you are tired.”

Answer #4. “Wow, am I confused! I’m unclear about whether to keep going forward or change direction.”

 

Let’s take a look at each of those scenarios, because each one requires a different strategy.

Scenario #1. Stop doing the work.

Just for you, I have a series of posts about this! Check out my three-part series “When things aren’t working at work.”
 

Scenario #2. Keep going but do things a different way.

This scenario requires two strategies.

First and most important: Take good care of yourself while you’re still working. This means getting good sleep, taking breaks from work, and getting physical exercise. Start with a few little changes. Go to bed 15 minutes earlier. Take a walk during the workday. Stop eating lunch at your desk. Or start your day with five minutes of stretching.

Second: Reflect on the ways that you could do your work differently. Create space to reflect with trusted friends and coworkers. Ask yourself and your colleagues, “What if there was another way to do this work? What could we change?” Get curious and creative. Problem-solve with your team. Make a new plan and get help implementing it. Notice what works.
 

Scenario #3. This is the work that must be done and you know you must keep going.

This scenario requires a few additional strategies.

Just as in Scenario #2, practice self-care techniques while you’re still working. Get some sleep. Taking breaks. Move your body. (I’ll share a lot more about this in my next post.)

Then, do the work. Really tell yourself you can keep doing it. And do it.

Next, put a time limit on how long you will keep working with your head down before you check in and think about how it’s going. It is helpful to set up a check-in with someone. Tell a friend, a coach or a trusted co-worker, “I am working really hard on this. But in two weeks, if it’s just as hard and I’m not making progress, I’d like to check in with you and reflect on a different way to do the work.”

And most important, rally the troops. Get support doing the work. Ask co-workers and colleagues for more help. Delegate! And get connected with loved ones outside the work. They can provide a sounding board and an escape valve.
 

Scenario #4. You are confused about whether you should keep working or quit.

For now, do not stop doing the work. BUT slow down. Put in a little less effort and time. Make some breathing room. Back off the throttle as much as you can without losing momentum.

As in all the other scenarios, practice techniques that allow you to take good care of yourself while still working: get good sleep, take breaks, and move your body.

Then build in more time for reflection. Find time to get quiet. Take a walk to get coffee during the workday. Take a moment in the driveway before you go into the house. Gently ask yourself, “Do I want to keep doing this the same way?” Talk with only a few trusted confidantes about your struggle to understand whether you can “keep going.”

And be gentle. Give yourself time to figure out the direction you want to go. A new direction may come to you in a flash or it may dawn as slow awareness. Or you may just finish the work you are struggling with. And when you’re finished, your reflection time could lead you in a new direction.

Are you still craving a more techniques for revitalizing the work you are tired of? Stay tuned for a checklist that can help you keep going when exhaustion and frustration set in.

Annie Von Essen“I’m tired of it!” Now what? PART TWO
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“I’m tired of it!” Now what? PART ONE

What can you do when you’re tired of the work, but you know you need to keep going?

You know what I mean by TIRED OF IT?

You might be feeling this way about your job, a project, or a personal commitment. (You could also be feeling this way about a relationship, but we’re not going to get into that!)

It could be that you are completely exhausted. It could be that you have spent all the energy you can muster and there is still more to do. Or maybe you’re just fed up and sick of the whole thing.

You want to be done.
And there is more to do.
Now what?

Before we get in the nuts and bolts of “not giving up,” let me remind you that I am not a proponent of blindly pushing forward. There are times when we need to stop and choose a different path. For more about when it is time to quit, check out my three-part series: “When things aren’t working at work.”

Let’s talk about what to do if you have to keep going — and you’re TIRED OF IT!

First things first. Stop.

Do not keep going without knowing why you are pushing forward. If you keep pushing forward without looking up, you could miss an important part of your journey. You may look back with disappointment when you realize there was a different path to take. You will almost certainly end up feeling empty and exhausted.

Allow yourself time and space to figure out if you are going to keep going and why. Step away from the work that is exhausting you. You may need a few hours in a quiet café, or you may need to retreat for a day or two and listen to your own quiet thoughts.

Spend time in reflection. Write in your journal. Take a stroll. Sit quietly and meditate. Ask yourself:

“Is what I’m doing right now the right thing for me? Am I doing it in the right way?”

Then listen.

What does your gut say? Here are four possible responses.

Answer #1: “Stop doing this work! It is not the best thing for you anymore.”

Answer #2: “The work is good, and it’s right for you. But let’s do some things in a different way.”

Answer #3: “This work is important. Keep going, and don’t stop, even if you are tired of it.”

Answer #4: “Good question. I have no idea. I’m confused. Let me get back to you.”

 

If you’re getting Answer #4, and you feel confused and unclear about what you should do, keep working and moving forward, but set a slower pace and continue taking time for reflection.

If you’re getting one of the first three answers, you’ll find helpful tips in my next post. I’ll help you understand how to work with Answer #4, too. And then in my final post in this series I will share my “Go To” tips for not giving up.

In the meantime, I don’t want to leave you hanging! It is important for you to get enough sleep, take breaks, and move your body. I know these little things feel like clichés, but they really work. Pick one tiny thing you can do to take care of yourself, and do it every day. I promise it will help you keep going.

Stay tuned for Part Two.

Annie Von Essen“I’m tired of it!” Now what? PART ONE
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