I’m a meticulous planner. Forget Type A, we’re talking Type A+.
From the moment I learned I was pregnant, I started planning for maternity leave. I brought on new team members, hired an assistant coach to help me run SIGNED while I’d be out, and hired a coach to take the reins in Pack Your Pipeline while I would be away. I set up new systems and detailed my processes and procedures for my team.
I also ignored everyone who looked at me with doubt and told me, “You can’t plan for what having a baby will be like.”
I chuckled and said, “Oh, I know,” but secretly thought: “Sure, other people can’t prepare for what having a baby will be like, but I’m different. I’m a planner, and I have this thing under control.”
Also, I thought I’d spend maternity leave reading books and working on business projects.
(If you’ve ever had a baby, or been around a newborn, I know what you’re thinking. You can stop laughing now.)
Basically, it’s as if I spent 8 months getting my house hurricane-ready, thinking that that was enough to withstand the storm.
And then I walked outside and stood directly in the hurricane.
I’ll tell you what happened next: the rain and wind battered me around and left me washed up on some distant shore.
Those first several weeks with my son Noah were so much harder than I thought they’d be. Outside of the physical recovery from an emergency c-section, and hormones, and just figuring out how to be a mom… I had to adjust my expectations of what maternity leave would be like, and how a baby would affect my business.
Turns out, I’m not different than every other mom after all.
In the weeks since Noah was born, I’ve outsourced even more. I’ve realized that a lot of what I spent my time doing was stupid.
And I’ve come to see that motherhood is not about maintaining what I had before, it’s about navigating my new normal, but with an old flip phone that doesn’t even have GPS on it.
To say I feel overwhelmed is… not even close.
This is what control looks like. Feeding my son while trying to run a team call. (At least neither of us is crying in this picture.)
Someone asked me recently what I’d tell one of my students if she came to me in this situation. And it wasn’t this perfect moment of clarity that fell over me, but it was a wake-up call. And I realized that I’ve been just a bit hard on myself.
Maybe I’m expecting things that I just can’t fully give at this moment.
Maybe I can’t create a new program in the next few weeks, or get through all of the books on my reading list.
But I can do what I do best: give my all to my students in SIGNED and Pack Your Pipeline, and help them land the consulting clients they truly want, and help them get paid more for every contract.
So as we settle into 2020, and you realize that we’re officially in the second half of January and you haven’t figured out your first quarter goals or how you’ll double your revenue and be present for your kids and stop climate change and make a difference —
— if you’re feeling overwhelmed, it’s okay to feel what you’re feeling.
Give yourself space to feel it instead of shoving it back down.
Take the time to think about what you really want your whole life to look like. Not just your business, not just your family, not just any one thing, because none of it exists in a vacuum.
I can’t think about my business without thinking about how it’s going to affect time with my wife and my son. I can’t think about childcare or Noah’s pediatrician visits without thinking about my own work schedule.
So take a look at all of it, in all its messiness, and really dig in on what you want for yourself, for the people around you, for all the parts and pieces of your life, and think about what you can focus on that will align you around that new reality.
If you say yes to more in-person workshops, maybe you say no to the volunteer position at the Chamber of Commerce. If you say yes to directing the 10th grade play in order to spend time with your daughter, maybe you say no to attending the conference in London.
And yes, of course it’s much easier for me to give you this advice than to take it myself. I see the intricacies of my life — from the exhaustion and guilt and overwhelm… all the way to the joy of watching my son sleep and seeing my students break through barriers — so change is hard. I only see a piece of your life, so it’s easy to tell you where to focus.
If you came to me a few weeks postpartum with a plan to read business books, I’d tell you that was a crazy idea. But when I plan to spend my time that way, it seems totally logical. Right up until I try to execute.
It’s sort of like Mel Brooks said, “Tragedy is when I cut my finger. Comedy is when you fall into an open sewer and die.”
Okay, it’s not quite like that — but you get it.
2020 doesn’t have to be the year you cross everything off your bucket list. You can find one area that’s the most impactful and important, and put your focus there.
What’s your one thing this year? Is it figuring out how take on less work and still make the same (or more)? Is it putting aside enough cash for a down payment? Or is it finally feeling like your business is in flow and you’ve got this?
Whatever it is, what’s the very first thing you’re doing to get there?
If you’d like help to get there, I’d like to invite you to book a call with my team to see if we can help.
If we can’t help you, my team will tell you that it’s not a good fit. No hard feelings — and no hard sell.
It’s a simple conversation, but it could be the one call that changes the entire direction of your year.
To your success,