When people have asked me how I’ve been doing recently, I’ve been responding with this little analogy:
I feel I’m running a marathon and I’m so burnt out that I’m crawling to the finish line. And I feel like the finish line should be soon, but it’s really 13 miles out… ’cause I’m only at the half way point.
So, have you ever underestimated how much time and energy something would take?
No, I mean like, REALLY underestimated how long and how much energy something would take. That’s where I’ve been. But not just for one thing or one project. I have severely underestimated how much time and energy every damn thing in my life and my business would take for the past 3 months (at least).
To try to catch up I’ve worked many weekends and late hours… hence the crawling.
And it’s started to wear on me. Stuff is slipping through the cracks.
Have you ever:
- Forgot to email a client that you were running behind?
- Missed a scheduled meeting with a new client or prospect?
- Opened email first thing and responded to “urgent” things all days, instead of doing what is really important?
- Tried, yet again, to implement a new project management tool?
- Forgot to pick up your son from school?
- Wondered why you didn’t just take the easy way out and go “get a job”?
- Wanted to dig a hole and stick your head in it?
Yeah… me too. And I realized something.
I like to imagine there is an end.
For example, I like to tell myself that once:
- That one project is done, I’ll be in the clear.
- I reach a certain amount of income, I’ll be happy.
- I successfully follow a system for everything, deadlines will always be met.
- My inbox is cleared out, I’ll be less stressed.
- My calendar notifications are fixed, I’ll never be late or miss another meeting.
- I stop opening my inbox early, I’ll never be sucked into the black hole of urgency.
- I fix my life and business, all we be well.
- Another project gets more complicated, after I wrap up that other one.
- I reach and exceed my income goal, and cashflow is still an issue.
- I follow a system, but still miss a deadline because I get sick and my baby gets sick.
- Clear out my inbox, but still feel stressed.
- Fix my notifications, so I get to the meeting on time… but get 4 phone calls because I was late picking up my son.
- Didn’t check my email first thing, but still focused on urgent, not important, things.
- Got my business and life to certain point… and then had NEW problems to solve.
And so, there is no end.
While I am beginning to turn around my ship of underestimating projects (think adding in LOTS of buffer, as I have LOTS of life that can complicate things), there really is no end.
Unexpected things pop up all the time and there truly is no destination for business and life. Once you get to certain benchmark, there’s always something you didn’t expect.
One of my new favorite songs is “Ride” by Twenty One Pilots:
“Yeah, I think about the end just way too much. But it’s fun to fantasize. … Oh, oh, I’m falling, so I’m taking my time on my ride.”
On more than one occasion I’ve blasted it, and loudly sung along in my car. (Especially after successfully dropping off all 3 kids to there schools/daycares.)
Since there truly is no end, what can we do?
Embrace the ride.
Make a plan knowing that things will probably not go as smoothly as you’ve laid out, and then hold on, go for the ride, adapt and communicate your heart out. Realizing you’re safe may help you with embracing the ride. For most of us, this is not life or death… this is the details of life. While our reptilian minds may feel like a failure or a mistake is life-threatening, it typically never is.
Know that you will sometimes disappoint people.
This one is EXCRUCIATING for me. I absolutely hate disappointing people. I hate saying no. I’ve had to practice more and more being honest and just say, “Nope, I can’t do this for you right now.”
People, we’re all figuring this stuff out. So sometimes we will forget things, sometimes we’ll get sick, sometimes we’ll say yes when we should’ve said no or sometimes we’ll be so depressed about the world we just can’t bring ourselves to work for a week. Cut yourself some slack. Disappointing people sucks, but for the most part with good communication it can be managed.
Remember you are a human
I like to imagine I’m a super-human or some shit. That sets me up not only to disappoint others, but to constantly disappoint myself. This leads to all kinds of underestimating how much time and energy something will take.
I used to double the amount of time I thought it would take me to do something, and that would work just fine. Now, I have bigger projects, bigger clients, more life details and have triple the amount of time and add a few more days on. Allowing myself a lot of space I need to complete things, is a my way of acknowledging my humanness.
Look at how much you’ve already accomplished.
Six years ago, I was just barely starting my business and I had less than zero business skills. (Seriously, I was an art major.) Today, I somehow meet people who invest thousands of dollars in a service that I’ve also learned how to do in the last six years. And some of my very first clients, are still my clients today. Crazy, people have liked me that much they’ve stuck with me for 3, 4 and even 5 years.
My point is, take a look back, I bet you’ve come a lot further than you’ve given yourself credit for.
Shameless plug: I’m going to be guest teaching an online marketing class in Karen McCall’s upcoming course, How to Have a Business that Feeds Your Soul and Your Pocketbook. If you struggle with money ups and downs, there is no one like Karen. I personally have worked with her to help me with my money issues and the work I’ve done with her in shifting my mindset around money has been truly invaluable. So, check it out.
Photo by the talented pair at Boy Girl Beauty World.