How to realign when you’ve lost momentum

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We all get off track from time to time. This happened to me last week. After a great (but hectic) week of business travel I returned to lead a retreat with my group coaching clients. While I loved it all, it wasn’t long before my body had had enough.

I first lost my voice, then lost energy and got achy, and I had no choice but to slow down, rest, and heal for the rest of week two.

Happily, I am now on the mend. But I am facing a big back-log of tasks. 

It’s a challenge to get back in your groove when you have been knocked off course — whether by travel, illness, a family emergency, an emotional rough patch, or anything else.

Here are 3 tips I use to get back on track

1. Go slow

If you are anything like me and the accomplished women I work with, you are an achiever. You work hard — often too hard. This is not the time to follow your impulse is to jump back in and tackle your backlog fast. You will likely sabotage yourself with that approach.

Be thoughtful as you give yourself permission to build up to your usually pace.

Ask yourself these questions:
• What can I delegate, get help with, or defer?
• What to-do's have the highest priority, that I can map on my calendar now?
• What low-hanging fruit can I batch and take care of quickly?
• How can best I communicate to those waiting for replies that I will get back to them soon?

Resist the urge to over-promise. It’s always better to set a reasonable expectation and meet it — or delivery early.

2. Show yourself some love

You may need to set a later wake-up alarm than usual, or skip your usual morning work-out. Or, you may find you have a productive morning and then your energy wanes. Listen to your body! Give yourself the rest, nutrition and movement that you need. 

If your muscles ache, schedule a massage. If a nap will refresh you, go for it! If you are stressed, take a break and meditate, draw, or walk around the block. 

Self care now, coupled with self-compassion, will pay big dividends.

3. Steadily pick up the pace

You will know when you are ready to work a full day again. In most cases, careful pacing and attention to self care will help you to catch up and resume your usual routines fairly quickly.

This is a great time to reflect and reassess. Think about the balance in your life, and the intensity at which you had become accustomed to living. Maybe pushing a bit less hard is a better pace for you in the long run. Maybe you discovered some new ways to work smarter, not harder. Maybe you introduced some self-care that you want to continue and make your ”new normal.“ 

This challenging period can teach you a lot. Take note of your insights.

I'd love for you to share what works best for you at times like these. We can all learn from one another. Or, if you have particular questions, ask them. Leave comments below, or email me, and I can share this feedback in a future post.


The trap of going it alone

Is there a big lesson you’ve learned the hard way in your life? A key lesson for me had to do with feeling like I had to do it all on my own. And I see it all the time in my coaching work. Lots of people are hung up on this issue.

Why do so many of us feel that if we don't figure it all out and do it all ourselves, we’re not good enough? Not smart enough? Not working hard enough? Not proving how capable we are?

This has been coming up over and over, so I want to shed light on the subject.

1. The root of the “I have to do it myself” mindset.

My story stemmed from a parent who was self-made (and very successful), and who took great pride in having done it all on his own. But the unspoken subtext of that message took me a long time to identify: there was shame if you needed to reach out for help. So, I was determined to prove my ability to do it all on my own. And that took a toll on me in many ways.

It was, frankly, impossible to be great at everything that needed to be done in my business, and exhausting to carry such a huge load in my family at the same time. When I finally sought help of many kinds, the pace of success in my work — and my personal life — was thrilling. (Early additions to what I think of as my “team” included my housekeeper, and later a brilliant coach. More recent additions to my team have been a fantastic bookkeeper and a great virtual assistant. Each person I bring into the mix lets me do more of what only I can do, and lets me do it better.)

Do you know the root of your story about doing it all on your own?

2. The “Am I worth it?” trap.

I see a lot of people who feel unworthy of asking for or getting help. This is a sign that lots more self-love is needed! Because we all deserve what’s best for us and what will let us be our best in the world. And, while making a financial investment in ourselves may feel daunting, there are options even when resources are limited. If you are a whiz at writing marketing copy, try and barter with someone who has a skill you need (say, nutritious cooking or deep-tissue massage) and would benefit from your services. Be creative to get the help that will make your life and work smoother and less stressful.

3. The “Where do I start?” question.

All of us are different, and we have different needs at different times in our lives. There's no “formula” for what help will be the most beneficial for you. You may need coaching support to make an important career change. You may need a great pet-sitter so you can travel on short notice without stress. Maybe investing in a personal trainer is what will make the biggest difference for you in the next year. Perhaps the services of a professional organizer will help you to resolve chronic low-level stress you feel when working in your office. Take the time to think about all aspects of your life and work, as you consider the kind of support that will benefit you the most. Then make it a priority to find the help you need.

Do you have a story about doing it all on your own — or what happened when you brought great help into your life? I’d love to hear it. Please leave a comment below.