High performers come in a varitey of shapes, sizes, and colors. The attributes they possess are particular to each individual and the unique way they’ve been wired, energized, and gifted. And, they seem to all share a few traits too. Recently, I reminded one of my clients that his focus needed a bit of a redirect. He’s been feeling tired lately, like he’s drowning, and even feeling like a loser, not much of a leader. He’s been feeling stupid that he’s not built a more sustainable model for his masterpiece. In summary, he told me that he’s been feeling like a dumb shit. I listened and tuned in to my friend, heard the hurt and the sadness in his tone, and saw it etched across his face and shoulders. So, I did what I tend to do. I tried to challenge him to focus on the facts not the feelings.
On the left side of a sheet of paper write all that is good in your work, I encouraged him. And, on the right, all that is not so good. He couldn’t come up with much after a few minutes. I told him to keep writing and I waited. His pen picked up the pace as I poured more coffee in his cup. After a few minutes more, I asked him to read me what he wrote. All that he read me was a bunch of negative feelings that were projecting negatives into his future. I asked him to recall the facts of the road he’s traversed this past year. The facts revealed something quite contrary to his current feelings. You see, he had just dug himself out of a deep hole. He had been on an adrenaline high as he fought for his work/life. Now that he’s out of the hole and standing above ground, suddenly his nervous system has returned to normal and the chemical rush has subsided. Naturally, he feels down.
This is normal. Fact.
As he let these facts roll over him, his face began to crack a bit of a smile, as did mine. Together, we began to focus on the facts facing him and his team. Energy returned as quickly as he turned his focus away from how he felt. Feelings, you see, cannot always be trusted. Focus on the facts and marry your mind to productive action, regardless the shit storm you’re in. You and I cannot control circumstances, other people, hellish tumors, and certainly not the future. We can catch our feelings when they go negative and stop them from spreading. We can turn our focus to the facts and choose to act. Productive action doesn’t always feel good. Sometimes productive action is acutely painful. Productive action is good. Fact. God, help me remember this fact. God, help me choose productive action in both good times and bad. God, help me. What feelings do you need to re-evaluate, friend? What facts are you focused upon and what’s the baby step of PA you’re ruminating ‘round? Choose a baby step. You’ll feel better. Fact.
Live hard. Love harder (Thanks, Teeks)…