In the past week, I have had such a variety of things happen that SHOULD BE CLUES TO ME to slow down! I booked and rebooked a flight at the wrong time – twice! I drove away from the gas station with the fuel nozzle still attached to my car. I became incapable of running two errands at once because I couldn’t remember to do the second one. I could go on… This isn’t a new pattern for me but the distressing thing is I have this story that I SHOULD KNOW BETTER. When I am in a coaching conversation with someone who is exhibiting this kind of behavior, I am full of strategies and practices for them to consider in order to regain their center and move about with greater ease. Why is it so hard to take my own advice!
So, I ultimately took the helpful step of exploring this with my own coach. Oh, that I would have done this a week ago!!! Anyway, what he offered to me was so useful that I thought I would share it with those of you who might occasionally find yourself in a similar state of discombobulation.
If you suspect that you are going to be at risk for running at a break neck pace, do some prep work
- bring to mind the behaviors you tend to exhibit when you are stressed or overwhelmed, so that when you see them you can take steps to shift them
- make a commitment to stay connected to the here and now – when we are preoccupied, we are already living in the future and thus not in the best position to do a good job with the task in front of us right now
- be deliberate about setting aside time to do something that grounds you each day
And when you start to notice that you are out of breath, anxious, irritated or distracted, take steps to intentionally shift into a lower gear
- set aside the story you are telling yourself about the need to get it all done as soon as possible. Unless you are headed to the emergency room, this is rarely the case
- let go of a habit or behavior that is adding to your angst (too much caffeine; saying ‘yes’ to new requests)
- have compassion for yourself – beating yourself up for not getting it all done or stepping on a land mine just adds to your sense of inadequacy and anxiety
- ask for help
- stop what you are doing now and use whatever grounding technique works for you – breathing, visualization, walking, engaging with nature
I know from first hand experience that if we don’t take these mindful steps on our own, the universe will do it for us. It tends to work out better when we choose.