“I feel like I’m failing at everything right now.”
That’s what I said to my husband and a few close friends in June.
I followed that with “I’m trying to give myself grace.”
Trying. That’s what I counsel leaders to do when they are experiencing similar emotions. But shoemaker’s child and all, there were days I was better at it than others.
Why did I feel I was failing? Because I wasn’t finding the time or making “enough” time for:
- Cardio on the fitness bike
- Strength training
- My physical therapy exercises
- Training our puppy
- Engaging on LinkedIn
What was I doing instead in June? I:
- Navigated health issues with our puppy, who is house trained but has incontinence issues, which meant LOTS of vet visits (and still no answers).
- Did A LOT of laundry (see point directly above).
- In partnership with my husband, made the emotional decision to ditch our plan to build a house and buy instead.
- Bought a house with a 21-day close, which included finding new insurance (because we live in a place where you must accept that someday your house may burn down).
- Unwound 18 months of progress towards building, which meant having hard and sad conversations with the professionals we’ve worked with and with whom we’ve developed friendships.
- Supported my parents from afar as my mom ended up in the hospital with a-fib and was diagnosed with congestive heart failure (on top of her existing COPD and dementia).
- Rolled off a client I’ve been working with for 2.5 years–it was time, but there is also loss and grief involved.
- Facilitated two successful keynotes and connected with a few prospects on new business which I’m incredibly excited about.
Yeah, I was doing some things in June. I recognize that.
So why was I beating myself up for what I “wasn’t” doing? Because our brains have a negativity bias, and we focus on the failures more than what we’ve achieved. I also hold myself to a sometimes ridiculous level of accountability.
My point in all this is that even though I coach and advise leaders on giving themselves grace when times are hard, I too struggle with feeling like I’m failing, letting others and myself down.
With practice and intention, however, I’ve built strong self-awareness. That allows me to recognize what’s happening and name it—the first step in working through it. Telling a few key people in my life how I was feeling and why allowed me to process and give myself a bit more grace.
And I did make time for some of the things that bring me joy–namely, spending time in nature with my dear friend Jessie Wilton, where we enjoyed a solstice sunset hike with some champagne on a mountaintop. She took the photo posted here, one I’ll always cherish.
This week I have some room to breathe. I’m taking it, sequencing back in those activities I love that I let slip in June. And giving myself grace along the way.
What can you give yourself grace for today?