Guest lecture

Guest lecture

Sunday, November 24, 2013

I cannot do anything right

It is Friday night.  I am in the train on my way home.   I am exhausted.

It is an insanely busy time.  We are in the midst of a massive transformation.  The largest in our company’s history.  So, it is not business as usual.  Everyone is under enormous amounts of stress.  And, understandably, not everyone is coping with it well.    

Me, I go from feeling energized (this is big stuff, interesting stuff) to feeling overwhelmed (out of control workload and not enough staff).  The hardest part is the constantly moving goal posts and last minute changes.   
But,  I am actually convincing myself that this kind of stress is not all bad.  Inspired by Kelly Mcgonical, see here, I am thinking of stress as my body getting ready to rise up to the challenge.  It is really about courage.    As long as I perceive stress as such, it would be a good thing.  It also opens your heart to be more compassionate.  All good stuff.   

And I think it works.  At least partly.   When the pressure is really on, I seem to have an unlimited source of energy and drive.   I am able to get so much done and can focus really well.  And I feel really supported by my team.  We are delivering.  On time.  A real sense of accomplishment. 

But, it comes at a price.   Exercise stops.  Reading stops.  Good night sleep stops.  Relaxation stops.  Weekends stop.  And I am not present, at least not mentally, for my family.  The only thoughts I have are work related.   To be fair though, I make these choices myself.  No one is putting a gun to my head.  In fact, my husband and daughters try very hard to make me stop.   But, I don’t really want to or can think of anything else.  Like an addict.     

I'm pretty sure this is not part of "healthy stress".  I also realize that I am desperately longing for praise.  I am vulnerable.  And my team is suffering too.   What we need is to be recognized for how good of a job we are doing. 

But, no…. 

I just looked at my messages.   Shit.  Shit.  Bad news.  My heart is pounding.  We made mistakes.  Stupid mistakes.  Sloppy.   They should have been avoided. 

Part of me is defensive. “ Of course, this was bound to happen.  We are spread so thin and the team is just beaten down.  Quality always suffers then."   

But the other part, the part that craves praise,  is hurting.   That part is about fear.  Afraid that I am not good enough.  Not organized enough.  Not detail oriented enough.  Not experienced enough.  Not smart enough.  

I hate this feeling.  The feeling that I cannot do anything right.   And that I am not worthy of praise.   
Which is ridiculous.   I am doing the very best I can.   Everyone makes mistakes.  I need to be nice to myself.  I am just human.  So, I’m going to stop thinking about work and hereby commit to

1.      Spend quality time with my girls

2.      Hang with my husband

3.      Exercise

4.      Take the dog to the woods

5.      Practice self compassion and gratitude

6.      Practice laughing

7.      Sleep in

Oh yeah, and finish up some work.


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