Can we avoid emotional exhaustion or does it come with the territory of being a business owner, particularly a female business owner?
Well last week, I faced this head on as I found myself booking a last minute bolt hole in the English Countryside. I was finding it increasingly more difficult to focus, practice patience and be my “positive and resourceful” self. My emotional tank was empty and I knew I needed to take action.
Oh the shame
I’m ashamed to admit that I almost didn’t write this blog. How could I, a Certified High Performance Coach, confess to feeling emotionally out of control? And that’s exactly why I HAD to. If “someone like me”, with extensive training in mindset and performance, can find herself lost and broken then it becomes my duty to be vulnerable in order to help others.
How did I get here?
This year has been tough. My dad got told his cancer was incurable; we have had parenting struggles and one of my daughters moved out. I took it all in my stride, as normal, until that fateful day where it all just hit me. Like a freight train. And it was as if my identity was completely knocked out of me and I found myself, well, empty!
What was interesting on my “retreat” was that I had to keep giving myself permission to “BE”. I didn’t need to be DOING something. I could smell the circuits in my brain starting to smoke as they dealt with this new concept. But honestly, there was nothing to give. Colouring, walking the dog and sleeping took up most of my time. However, I did short journalling sessions too and I want to share one with you here.
As I nodded off to sleep…
I asked, “Why am I here? What has happened to make me feel like this?” and got shown a barometer. The message I received was that as women, we have an emotional barometer. Each section of our life has an “acceptable” level of emotions that we can reveal. What we define as suitable for our relationship or home environment will likely be different to the boardroom or business. How emotional we are as parents is different to how we behave around our ageing and sick parents. The result? Emotional categorisation, suppression and ignorance.
Not only can this lead to our own physical and mental ill health but can I suggest that we also forget that our emotions are there are guides. By ignoring them we therefore ignore the very message they are trying to tell us?
I Asked What I Needed to Learn and Share With Others
1. The first thing I was told is – do not BE-come your emotions or let them define you. Rather, you must be in awareness of them and ask them what their lesson is.
Are they highlighting old wounds that you have not dealt with? Is there a possibility you are acting out of alignment with your values in something? Have you lost sight of what is truly important to you? If you let your emotions gracefully guide your next move, what would it be?
2. Secondly, emotions can direct us toward growth. It is easy to let them take over. You might argue and say, “I wouldn’t choose to stay this miserable/unhappy/lost” but the truth is, it IS the easy path. You are gaining somethingfrom staying here.
Avoidance of dealing with the problem
Permission to continue doing something that doesn’t serve you
Righteousness – trying to “prove” that you are right and someone else is wrong.
We chose to ask the emotions, “What are you activating, reflecting, bringing to the surface for me? How do I be aware of you, honour you and transition through you, back to a natural state of love, faith and gratitude?”
This is when we CHOOSE growth. And I’m telling you, it’s a really tough shout. Emotions (energy in motion) are very powerful. When they are also dredging up all the crap from years gone by, you don’t just feel bad for what’s happening now, you’re feeling bad for everything that came before it.
3. And thirdly, self love. My reflection showed that I don’t give myself emotional self love. I often berate myself when I witness “emotional low’s”; I have a tendency toward “too much work, not enough play” and I’d been ignoring my emotional signposts for way too long.
Self love isn’t just about liking who we are; nourishing ourselves well and exercising – it’s about giving ourselves permission to “feel the feels”. No really understand that we are energetic beings and that it’s our nature to “feel”. If, like me, you’re empathic sometimes those feelings are overwhelming. And we must give ourselves the grace of space to navigate around all that.
So, ‘grace yourself the space’ and ASK FOR HELP!. Work out where you need most support and ask for you. You deserve it.