I Feel Like I’ve Lost My Way…
…Or have I? Have I lost my way or have I been struggling with some personal and business difficulties over the last few weeks that have made me feel more like I’ve been wading through treacle than skipping through fields of daisies? Do I still love being self-employed – most definitely 😊 Do I love being able to call the shots and not feel constrained by the culture of less than brave decision making? You bet I do! So is it OK for us to feel that we’ve lost our way sometimes? To feel less than fabulous about how things are going, even when we’ve made bold choices about what we want to do, and where and how we work? If we’ve made bold decisions in our lives, do we feel less able to say we’re struggling in case someone says “but this is what you said you wanted”?
“But You’re Always Fine!”
I was writing a presentation recently, to be delivered to a group of Managers and one of the slides I added says ‘can you lead others to be well, if you’re not well?’. It’s something to think about isn’t it? Do we have to be in tip top condition constantly in order to lead by example and demonstrate role model behaviours? I don’t think we do personally. I’ve led and managed teams of people over the years and have struggled with low mood and depression at the same time. Did my team know that I was struggling? Some of them did but typically I don’t wear my heart and feelings on my sleeve so people will only know I’m struggling if I tell them. And sometimes when I did tell them, they didn’t believe me anyway because they’d put me in a ‘coping’ box in their head and so any admission of difficulties and struggles did not resonate with them and they rejected my claims. I was always fine apparently ☹ Does that resonate with you? Are you in people’s ‘coping’ box and so are not allowed to struggle, even when you find the courage to admit that?
What’s Your Score?
If you felt like you’d lost your way, what would that look like? In times of stress, anxiety and worry we can all lose perspective, so it can be difficult to see how we’re being affected by factors that are causing us stress, anxiety and worry, particularly if those factors have increased gradually over time. Reflection is a wonderful aid to us managing our emotional and mental health. Try this exercise to think about how your stress levels and stress tolerance have changed in the last 12 months.
What’s my stress, anxiety or worry score at the moment?
On a scale of 1 to 10 (1 – really struggling and 10 – feeling really calm and relaxed), score your stress, anxiety or worry level right now.
How has that score changed in the last 12 months?
What score would you have given 12, 9, 6 and 3 months ago? Is your score getting lower or higher across the 12-month period?
If your score has surprised you, by being higher than you realised, it could well be worth accessing support, either by talking to people you love and trust or by talking to your GP, a mental health professional or a Coach to discuss your current situation and how stress is affecting your day-to-day life. You might be surprised to see that your score has steadily increased in the last 12 months. If so, think about the factors that have changed in that time and how that has impacted on your ability to cope and manage other life events. Physical and mental health problems, financial difficulties, relationship problems and work issues can all impact your ability to cope and even the most resilient of people can be adversely impacted if there are a range of issues affecting them at the same time. Reflecting on your day, week and month, and longer periods of time can help you to see that your ability to cope and your levels of stress, anxiety and worry can change. That is normal. That makes you a fully functioning human being 😊
“Out of Adversity Comes Opportunity” – Ben Franklin
Great self care will support those times when you feel that you’ve lost your way, or are feeling discombobulated – a very useful word, defined as confused and disconcerted. Because no one can sustain their determination, fight and courage all of the time. I’m sure Steve Jobs, Michelle Obama, Richard Branson and Deborah Meaden (Dragon’s Den) have all had moments of doubt. Or days and weeks of it like the rest of us!! If you don’t feel like you’ve lost your way sometimes then you won’t question your direction and challenge yourself to think differently. And sometimes those times are when the best ideas come up! From adversity, struggles and self-doubt. So while feeling like I’d lost my way for a bit wasn’t great I do know that I can work my way through it and return (like a Phoenix! 😉) to more dynamic times.
Communicating your difficulties to the people you love and trust will help you to build a wider perspective on how other people struggle too. If they say “but you’re always fine” then they have definitely put you in a coping box in their head and so might not be the best person to speak to. That’s why sometimes it can be easier to access independent, professional support. Those people don’t have you in any box in their head and you can leave your stress, anxiety and worries with them – fabulous! 😊 Dig into your self-belief to help you through those difficult times. It’s not always great when people don’t think that you will never struggle but there definitely is a reason why they think that. Because you’re fabulous! But as no one can be fabulous all of the time, make sure you get the right help and support to make sure that you can be well, to lead and support other people to be well. If you feel that you’ve lost your way, step to the side of the road, metaphorically and tread water for a bit. I’m mixing my metaphors there but hopefully you know what I mean!
There’s A Value To Feeling Lost
Being driven and determined, focused and courageous are great strengths but as a human being it is OK to feel lost sometimes. If you keep pushing yourself, despite struggling, you’ll gradually achieve less and less, so feeling a bit lost is OK. It gives us time to regroup, recharge our batteries, possibly reconfigure our plans and reconnect with our inner strength. We sometimes need to take one step back before we can move forward but feeling like we’ve lost our way can definitely bear fruit. If we allow ourselves to navigate it with kindness and great self care, we will definitely come out the other side and find our way 😊
Take good care please, be a bit lost if you need to be and have a great day.
Best wishes, Karen