I have heard from so many friends lately that they are feeling blasé about work. Unmotivated but not necessarily depressed. Unenergized by many of the old extra activities you used to do with gusto. Can’t seem to find your focus or stamina to do anything of note. Feeling like you just. Don’t. Care.
I am with you. I know that feeling too.
Let’s begin by acknowledging that some day out into the future we will look back on this era and recognize how WILD it was and we will realize that we prevailed through it. The constant low-hum battering from the pandemic, the world seemingly on fire at every turn and the constant uncertainty of it all has taken a toll. One that we’ve become so accustomed to that we don’t give ourselves grace or credit for enduring. We will look back someday and say, “That was unreal.”
Unfortunately, we are still in the thick of it.
I don’t have all the answers, but I think the path feels something like (1) doing less and (2) [pay attention, this part is important] being okay with that.
Much like you would heal a stress fracture in your foot, you stay off of it or move gently. This seems obvious. So why aren’t we allowing ourselves to feel and heal the stress fractures in our souls?
I will only offer two ideas here for us to consider as we heal our soul fractures. This is one giant note to self.
Know what is important now in this season of your life, and be okay with it.
You know what I care about the most right now? Being there for elementary school bus pick-up. Being there in general. Which keeps me pretty tethered to the corner of Beechwood and Beaumont. Anything that takes me away from being there better be pretty freaking important.
Since the world shook us up and spit us back out, I think it is a very good time to reassess what is most important to us in this season of our lives. As in, really take a close look. Not what we used to value. Not what people told us is important. Not even what have told ourselves our jobs, self-images or “personal brands” require. [If you would like some help, perhaps start with this “Values Assessment” activity]
Now comes the hard part. Being okay with it. I might recognize that I really want to be home when my kids get off the bus. It’s a whole other thing to not attach some level of shame, should or other shitty feelings to that. Here’s what that might sound like:
- “I guess this is all I am good for.”
- “No one is hiring me to travel, so I’ll just be the bus mom.”
- “Am I just wasting my skill sets because I am choosing to transport my kids around instead?”
I have plenty more tacky things I could write, but you get the point.
I can’t heal and recover my soul fractures if I judge myself about the priorities I have chosen.
Do less, and be okay with it.
Have you ever taken a day off of work because you knew you desperately needed it, but then quietly judged yourself all day or felt guilty that you weren’t at least getting yardwork done or something else “productive?” It’s no surprise that those days off feel less restorative than we hoped. Multiply that by every day. It’s no wonder we don’t heal.
If you feel like doing less hustle, less grind, less climbing the ladder… do that. Slash and burn commitments on your calendar that don’t match your needs right now, especially the recurring ones.
Do less work (your 80% is better than most peoples’ 100%). Do less activities (do you really need to be on that chamber of commerce committee right now?). Do less youth sports (your kids probably aren’t getting scouted). If you are burned out and aren’t motivated to do more, then do less.
And once again, the true healing is being okay with it. Not tolerating it but truly at peace.
It may mean having to rewrite who you think you are. It may mean having to give up a 30-year pattern shaming yourself to give more and achieve. Replace “should” with “could” or “I choose.” These are choices, after all. I do not claim this is easy. But it is necessary to heal our soul fractures.
I have found a new sense of peace this summer on the little league baseball field. The slow pace of the game, the warm breeze and the general sense of “being there” hits just right. Twice a week I sit on the sidelines, look up to the sky and take some deep belly breathes soaking up the serenity of it all. It’s one of the few times I don’t feel as though I should be doing something else. I try and bottle up the soul healing.
I hope one of these ideas sits with you as you feel and heal. If not, I have only one thing left to offer. I see you. I hear you. I deeply feel what you are experiencing, seemingly floating out there in ocean without a plan or a path or a motivation to swim. I’ll wave as we drift by each other.
About the author:
Katie Rasoul is a keynote speaker, writer, leadership coach and Chief Awesome Officer for Team Awesome, a leadership coaching and culture advising firm. She is a TEDx speaker alumna, author of the best-selling book, Hidden Brilliance: A High-Achieving Introvert’s Guide to Self-Discovery, Leadership and Playing Big, and co-host of The Life and Leadership Podcast.
Learn more about Katie’s signature talks at www.katierasoul.com.