I am pretty sure I know what the answer to that question is.
But let me start with my last week: I definitely DID struggle last week. I had it all planned and laid out, all my tasks were nicely put into my calendar (after all I tell everybody that what’s not in your calendar, does not happen, so I better walk my own talk).
Monday worked out fine. On Tuesday I started struggling and felt that while I was working on one thing my brain decided to ask many critical questions: “Does that really make sense what you’re working on here? Is that really what you want or should focus on? Why does this not produce the results that I thought it would?”. That resulted in my concentration going and the pressure increasing. I should add that I am pretty good in terms of putting pressure on myself – might have to do with my impatience.
The following night I did not sleep well. Do you know the feeling when you wake up in the middle of the night and it’s almost like your brain was lurking in the dark, just waiting for you to open your eyes to start screaming and throwing all sorts of thoughts at you? Well, this is what happened to me. Not once, not twice, but 100 times (I know, I know, that’s probably not true, but it felt like it).
And what should I say: It got worse from one day to the next. I frantically worked on lots of tactical stuff (which was in the calendar), everything took longer than normal due to the lack of focus (and probably sleep) and the doubts about my work and myself grew day by day.
Scanning through LinkedIn, Facebook and the like, where it looked to me like everybody (of course except myself) has a honkey- dory, carefree life celebrating success after success and spending time at the most amazing places in the world, did not help.
By Thursday I felt like my head was full of mud and an incredible amount of thoughts which were all tangled up! I basically wasted the whole day by starting probably 5 or 6 different things: I started writing a blog, I did some research for a course I am working on right now, I started recording a video…none with any tangible result. Whatever I did – I just couldn’t get into any flow.
At 4 pm, I finally gave up and hit the brakes. I got up, took my coat, went to Starbucks (thankfully and unexpectedly I met my man in the lift, so we went together), had a coffee and did some people watching (we both love that). Afterwards we strolled a bit through the city. In other words: I escaped the whole situation and put it on hold for some hours.
Friday morning there was still no solution in sight, the thoughts and doubts were rushing towards me like before.
I love Fridays. Not, because it is the last day in the (work) week (well, not only), but because I have a call with my accountability buddy. For those who wonder what the heck that is: We share with each other what we have achieved in the week gone and commit to each other what we are aiming for the coming week. This basically means, come Friday you better have done what you promised (yourself) or a damn good explanation (not excuse!) why you didn’t do what you said you would.
That helps both us to stay on track and to progress.
So, the skype call came and after the usual hellos I poured out my heart about what I had faced: The mud in my head, the lack of clarity, the doubts and my impatience and frustration in regards to results.
And an amazing thing happened: After a long chat, where we did not talk about any achievements, but considered the why all the above happened I felt so much lighter and better. We had a very personal conversation, which helped both of us. Funnily enough we realized that our weeks were rather similar! (And yes, now I know what I need to do to untangle my thoughts, but that’s some material for another blog).
Opening up and admitting that I did not walk through the week like my usual effective and focused self, but being disorientated and not having answers to everything, took some courage.
And while I was at it, I was completely and utterly honest, when, a couple of hours later, my close business partner in Switzerland asked how I was and I answered with: “I had a really bad week!” (Well, buddy, you ran into that one…)
And even more amazing was that during that conversation I learned about a coach who can possibly support me in exactly what I need right now.
Friday night I had the best night sleep of the whole week.
Had I not opened up in either conversation I would probably still mulling over massive amounts of thoughts and would run in circles with no idea how to find the way out.
This way I found a starting point to resolve my issue, my confidence level immediately rose and I might have even found a coach supporting me in finding the right solution.
Showing vulnerability, asking for help, peeling away some of the usual outer layers which protect our inner core daily, often results in much deeper conversations where we start understanding what is really happening. With ourselves and probably the other person. Opening up - in my experience – always results into the other person doing the same. Which often leads to a relationship shifting to another (better) level than before.
Choose carefully though: Depending on the topic, don’t just start spilling the beans to everybody, as this might end up being awkward.
But why not showing the people we work and live with that we do struggle from time to time. After all we are all human. And the reaction might just be: " You do? Phew, and I thought it's only me!"
And I am sure you did not just guess, but knew it – the answer to my initial question, if I am the only one struggling is clearly no.