Updated: Jun 9, 2018
So, here’s a thing.
You might be a senior leader in an organisation, you might be running your own business, a solopreneur, employing other people, working on your own, leading a team, part of a team, head-honcho, the boss or one of a pile of other words and phrases that describe people at work.
You might be loving or hating your job right now, your business might be doing really well or struggling to grow, your employees might be the best or they might be a complete bloody nightmare, your customers are generally great but some are a pain in the proverbial. Most likely, it’s a forever-shifting point on a continuum.
The thing is, aside from the You that turns up at work, I bet you have a pile of other life-roles going on too: You maybe the owner of small, medium or large children, owner of a teenager (I think they deserve their own special category!), a partner, a child of elderly parents, a sibling, a friend, a neighbour and many others.
The reality is that most of us, most of the time, are spinning a number of different plates in our lives. We are relied on by others, both at work and outside and it can be tough. Work can easily spill in to the rest of our life and vice versa. The complexity of managing a combination of roles can drain our energy, affect our ability to be at our best and we can feel as if there’s never enough time. Maybe nothing and no one gets the attention they really deserve or need. Prioritising it all can feel pretty much impossible.
Even if most of the time things are going OK, it might not take much to feel like we are heading towards or tipping over some sort of edge. Perhaps School phones to say your child is unwell just before you are going to meet a potential new customer or the Chairman phones with yet another unreasonable demand. At best, we can feel a bit crap and stressed. At worst, we feel utterly overwhelmed. We can feel like screaming.
So … at that point, you could take a trip in to Space and scream there - probably no one will hear you. If that isn’t an option as you don’t have time to get there and back before you have to pick the kids up, or do the payroll, or attend a staff meeting or write a Board paper – what do you do? Where do you go to scream, literally or metaphorically? Who do you tell that it’s becoming too much? Who supports you?
The obvious answer may be to talk to those closest to us, or to a colleague at work or our boss if we have one. The irony is that quite often those are the same people who are the cause of some of the overwhelm through their actions, behaviour and what they expect of us. They can be so reliant and invested in us being OK and on top of things that having a wobble in front of them just isn’t something that is helpful or constructive for them or us, for a huge range of reasons.
So, what other options are there?
My view that this is about the long-game. It’s about taking a more strategic view of your well-being and investing in the right type of support to keep well ahead of the overwhelm. If and when it does all hit the fan, you will have capacity and resilience to better support yourself. Getting yourself regular and effective headspace, away from your desk, working with a skilled, supportive and challenging coach will give you the opportunity to find different perspectives on the issues that go around in your head. You can spend time deciding what’s really important to you, prioritise and develop strategies to change things. Work out how to navigate what might feel impossible. And much more. You get to think out loud, to work it out, to take control and take action. You'll function better at work as a result.
To me, working with a coach whose priorities are only about work goals, action and performance isn’t the same thing. Such an approach can be effective for some, but it can also add to the overwhelm and the journey towards that tipping point. Working with a coach who has the extensive skills, training and awareness to be able to effectively support the whole of You and all elements of your life is key.
They will be able to hear you scream.
And are probably less expensive than a Virgin Galactic ticket to Space.