Finding your Focus When It All Breaks Loose
My job requires to me to travel from time to time and as a mom it can take some real mental superpowers. Saying goodbye to the kids is never easy. Aren't we are always harder on ourselves than we need to be? I often find myself thinking “Will they resent me as they get older ‘cause I was never around?” It is really easy to beat ourselves up as moms, especially working moms. Over the years, I have found success with getting in the right mental space prior to a business trip. As I leave, I have to find a strong focus in my why. Not the deep emotional life driven why, of course that is my family and God. I’m talking about my focused why for my trip. For me, it is focusing on the people that I get to do business with. I also focus on the desired outcome of the trip and I have to put myself into full work mode. It is compartmentalized living for sure, and I don't know if it’s healthy or not but it is my survival mode when I hit the road. I am sure that we all have these routines and ways that we cope. But what happens when you get thrown off the path of focus?
Let me share with a trip that I recently took that interrupted my focus and what I did to get it back. So this trip, it’s a long one. Almost two weeks. I have the normal night before and morning of guilt and sadness but by the time I have the luggage checked, I have my game face on and am in full go mode. Because of my mind set that I talked about earlier, I am now fully focused in my "career world". I don’t know about you, but I find that the time on the airplane is the most productive time of my life. No phone, no interruptions. As usual, I got super organized and accomplished so much during the two flights to Canada.
Then the derailment.
As soon as I land and turn my phone off of airplane mode, the emails come flooding in. Normal, right? Well not one, but two emails come from my two kids' teachers. In both emails the teachers are needing help, my help, with issues going on with each of my boys. Boom! There goes my nice neat little compartments. Guilt kicks in and all focus goes out the window. One thing that I have learned over the years, when emotion is high the brain does not work well. So of course I call the parent on duty, my husband. His emotions also went high due to the emails…..in a different direction emotionally but still same notion about the brain-hey emotion is emotion, anger or guilt. And of course, as with all in life, everything got sorted out and we had a glowing email from a teacher the next day.
But all this took me off course. It took away my focus and it was not easy to get it back. This one thing that spiked my emotions had a spillover effect causing me to feel incredible overwhelm in my job. Overwhelm is not a place of power. I knew I needed to get my mojo back if I was going to make this trip a success and not loose my sanity. I tried some things and you know what? It worked! I wanted to share with you what I did to find my focus so that if you find yourself in a place of being a hot mess, feeling overwhelmed and needed to find your footing again, you had the power to do so.
First Things First
Sometimes you just really need the grace of God. It makes things easier when you first slow down, and ask him into the situation. Seems easy, but amazingly I forget so many times that it is his strength and not my own that gets me through.
- Dump list
I made a mental dump list. I grabbed a piece of paper and wrote out everything that was causing overwhelm. Everything. Really, everything. No rules, just write.
Once that is done...
- Deal with it
You would think that this would be #2, but with the burden of all that was in my head and being overwhelmed-there is no way that I could clearly deal with the issues. I picked up the phone and called my husband and made a plan that would work to take care of the kids. Partnership is key and I am sure that this is why we had the glowing review the next day.
- Crush it
Looking at my overwhelm list, I picked three things that would take a minute or two to complete. There is something about crossing it off the list that moves you forward. At this point I am no longer in a place of overwhelm, but in a place of getting it done. There is power in that.
- Do your thing girl!
Whatever it is that makes you the amazing boss lady that you are, do it! For me, it was meeting with a client that was struggling (funny enough, she was struggling with overwhelm). When I was able to “do my thing” and help her-I was back in the zone, I reconnected with my why, and was able to find my focus again.
When you are do it all wonder woman, there are going to be times when it all breaks loose. Having the tools to build ourselves back up is what makes all the difference.