Signs of Overwhelm
It started with this note…
“I wanted to share with you that I have started to take better care of myself. I know quite some time ago I shared that this was an opportunity for me. I have been practicing meditation for the past two weeks. I am surprised by the significant changes I am experiencing. Last night was the best sleep of my life and I see that my immediate family is responding differently to me. I know that it is probably because I am approaching or respond[ing] to them differently. Whichever it is, the meditation is having a positive impact. I practice just 15 minutes the very first thing in the morning and my immediate goal is to continue for the next 2.5 weeks so that it becomes a part of my daily routine.”
Interested in learning more, I followed up with a call. The leader shared that every couple of weeks she touches base with her best friend. She started to notice that when responding to the question “How are things going?” her answer was always preceded by a sigh. The sigh was her “wake-up” call that something needed to change.
During our conversation this leader revealed that the new meditation ritual has helped her “be more in touch with herself.” She acknowledged that life gets busy and the result is what she called lots of mental clutter (conflicting thoughts, financial concerns, career issues, kids, etc.). She shared that her time for meditation is “the one moment out of the day when my mind is uncluttered and I have clarity. It’s improved my thinking, decision making, reactions and interactions.” She ended with “I’m not sighing anymore.”
During an update call with another leader, I noticed that his tone was lighter, his perspective was much more optimistic, and he had more energy in his voice. When I acknowledged the difference he responded with, “I took your advice about “taking care” and joined a buddy for a golf weekend in Miami. It helped a lot.”
After these conversations, I began thinking about what changes I needed to make. I became curious about how I might benefit by adding meditation to my daily routine. I thought about the meditation app on my cell phone and decided to try it for a couple of weeks. I started with the 5-minute guided meditation, working my way up to 10 minutes, then 15 minutes. The results are indisputable. The increase in my mental clarity has resulted in more insightful conversations with clients, a heightened awareness of my priorities, and increased discipline in the structure of my days.
I began the year by writing about the symptoms of the “Sacrifice Syndrome.” If you missed it, checkout Leadership Tools for the New Year. My conversations with these two leaders suggest that the Sacrifice Syndrome is real, so I want to encourage you to take the time to BREATH.
- Be aware of your signs of overwhelm. Your wake-up call could be as subtle as a sigh.
- Recognize that there will never be enough hours in the day, but reorganizing your day could allow you to do the “one thing” that might increase your effectiveness.
- Employ strategies that have the potential to reduce your mental clutter and minimize your overwhelm (meditate daily, journal at the end of the day to clear your head, make time for an activity you enjoy, evaluate how you are spending your time and eliminate time wasting activities, delegate appropriately, or use the last hour of your day to plan and organize for the next day).
- Accept the challenge of a daily commitment to do that “one thing” for the next 30-days.
- Take note of the difference it makes.
- Hold yourself accountable for finding the “one thing” that works and allow it to work for you.
It’s hard to believe that we are approaching the end of March already and moving toward the summer with lightning speed. I guess it’s true…”time waits for no one.” As the first quarter of the New Year closes and we step into April, be intentional about taking the time you need to BREATH.
Dr. Kym A. Harris is President and CEO of Your SweetSpot Coaching and Consulting, LLC. Her clients are high performing and high potential leaders and executives who are known for their strong performance. Her belief that “competence is more than performance” is fundamental to her coaching model which is fueled by the principles of Emotional Intelligence. She is the coach that helps leaders discover, develop, and explore their more.