Resting without Guilt | The Daily Struggle

I had sat down and tracked out my weekend. I was ready to take on a productive two days that I had mapped out so meticulously. I am the queen of time blocking and that is basically what I did for all of Saturday and Sunday.

If you have never heard of time blocking or know what it is, here is a great resource: https://doist.com/blog/time-blocking/

Here is also a wonderful blog from my friend Lulu about planning time: http://www.afri-love.com/2020/01/planning-excellence/

All that to say, I love to plan. I love to be efficient and I love to get things done in the most effective ways possible. Time blocking many days is my saving grace for staying on task and managing all the hats that I am wearing in this season of life.

But… yes, there is a big BUT.

But, Saturday happened. I woke up drained, unmotivated, hot (Mombasa hot season for you), and then, frustrated at being hot, drained and unmotivated. Overall, I was tired. I do not even think I was that physically tired, but I was a bit emotionally and mentally drained from the week.

And so, I did what I do best in these moments. I slept. I am not talking about an hour or so, I am talking about the whole day – slept.

For any of you out there who are productive, task managers, conquerors of to-do lists and overall, high capacity people then you know exactly what happened when I woke up after sleeping the whole day away. I immediately was frustrated and mentally began beating myself for wasting a day that I had meticulously planned to be productive.

Can anyone relate?

Your body and mind say, “hey, you need some sleep” and so, you listen, but then, you wake up more upset, drained and overwhelmed then before because you wanted to be productive and efficient. Your mind immediately goes into thoughts of guilt instead of grace and you beat yourself up for resting. Has that ever happened to you?

That was me and is something that I have been struggling with for almost my life.

I find it hard to rest. Yes, I will come out and say it. Truly, resting is hard for me. Being still is difficult. Being fully present without processing decisions or thinking of what is coming next in my head, is challenging.

I see a day and the 24 hours, and I want to make the most out of every minute. That might be writing up a new program or having coffee with a friend – whatever it is – I want my minutes to be full and not spent wasted sleeping. Sound ridiculous, doesn’t it?

The reality is though, I KNOW am not alone in this. I know there are plenty of you reading this and understanding exactly where I am coming from. You know that feeling, right? When you have ten things on your to do list and you only get one done? Instead of rejoicing in the one accomplished task of the day, you concentrate on the other nine unchecked boxes and beat yourself of for it.

Welcome to my life. I am daily having to learn how to give myself grace and walk in that versus drowning in the self-inflicted guilt.

I do not have answers in this as I am constantly recovering from this state on a weekly basis, but I do want to give you some quick principles you can follow:

Principles to Remember

Do:

  • Reappraise the situation. When you feel emotions of guilt, ask yourself, what is the story I am telling myself that’s producing this emotion? Is there another way to look at this?
  • Recognize that the support you provide to others is a key component of your productivity; those contributions help your organization move forward.
  • Embrace the state of non-completion. Try to accept that your to-do list will never be done, and you will always have things you really wished you’d gotten to.

Don’t: 

  • Abide by lengthy to-do lists. Trim down your list and make the goals credibly achievable.
  • Overestimate time, energy, and resources. Make a choice to disengage from certain goals because they’re not worth your investment.
  • Expect these feelings to suddenly disappear. Wrestling with guilt is an ongoing process, and you need to be prepared to work through your emotions again and again.

(source: https://hbr.org/2020/03/stop-feeling-guilty-about-your-to-do-list)

Moral of the story (theme of this blog): Do not follow my lead on this and take the advice from the Harvard Business Review Article from above. More importantly, learn how to daily offer yourself grace, love and intentional self-care.

From the one daily recovering from feeling guilty over unfinished to-do lists,

Ethical Crisis Leadership | How to lead in midst of crisis and change

We have to recognize and understand that we are in a global crisis, which cannot go ignored. In everything we do, we are being affected.

As a leader, I have not exactly been in a situation like this and have been taking it day by day. I am having to learn how to problem solve in new ways for our collective and be a bit more proactive than normal, trying my best to project and anticipate our next move. One of my priorities is to ensure the safety of our artisans and staff and on the other hand, I have to consider how to keep our collective above water, so when our doors reopen, well, they can reopen. With uncertain revenue streams in the coming months, it makes a lot of uncontrollable arise and I have to ensure we are making wise as well as creative/innovative decisions in the next coming weeks.

All that to say, it has tested a new strand of leadership for me.

Ethical Crisis Leadership.
With my academic background in leadership development and communication, I tend to live and breathe all things leadership. I have spent the last decade studying ethical leadership, transformational leadership, servant leadership, adaptive leadership and many more, but I have never encountered a leadership that is completely transformed by a crisis.

As soon as COVID-19 entered our world, I started grabbing resources and reading about crisis management, ethical leadership (redefined), and leading in a culture of change.

I wanted to understand what it was going to take to be even more resilient, evoke confidence in our team, and continue to run our collective with our highest standards even in the midst of this pandemic. This could easily turn into a research analysis, which is not my intention for this blog and for you to endure…

(note: unless, you love research then give me a call and I can chat your ear off for hours! Perfect time to spend quarantining – geeking out over theories while sipping fresh coffee)

What I do want to leave you with in this blog is a bit of advice on how to effectively lead a team during a culture of change and crisis.

Understand that in a crisis, there are three stages and throughout each stage, you have to show up fully. As the leader, you have moral obligations to carry out and you want to ensure that you continue to lead a healthy organization or team through this. The three stages of a crisis are: pre-crisis, crisis event, and post-crisis.

Pre-crisis:
This is normally the longest stage in any crisis and many times, leaders get overly confident that they have all the solutions. This is where we need to be careful and not grow complacent or allow any human biases (decision making or judgement) to hinder our critical thinking processes.

In this time, ethical leaders show up big. They normally help detect the crisis, identify pain points and continually develop strategies. They are constantly learning, growing and looking for long term solutions rather than just the short term. They are identifying trends and trying to stay ahead of the curve, while leading their team with the right information. Most of the time, a crisis management plan is put into place and through this planning it allows for the leader to keep moral principles aligned as they plan during a new territorial time.

Crisis Event:
This is where ethical leaders are the most involved and active. They are leading in a crisis and the reality is focusing on damage control and the immediate threats that are affecting the individuals and/or organization around them. This is where the crisis management plan is put into place, but it is also a time where the leader is giving accurate information to those around them. During a crisis, there is a lot of misinformation and false news that circulates, so it is of utmost importance for the ethical leader to be transparent, sharing the most appropriate and true information to date. This is a time for the leader to shed light on the situation, enact a plan and calm fears through proper solutions. Take deep breathes and take it day by day as this stage can also be the most physically and mentally exhausting.

Post-Crisis:
This is a time of reflection and regrouping. As an ethical leader, it is a time to reflect on what was done right, make notes of what can be changed in the future, but more importantly to be there for your people. It is a time for healing to take place and as leaders, a time to listen and be there for your direct community. This stage is a time to renew focus and replace negative emotions of stress and anxiety with positive ones. Ethical leaders pay attention to details and shape memories around a crisis to honor those around them, while finding ways to heal and take steps forward.

Overall, understand that through these three stages, as leaders we have to be adaptive, flexible and show up BIG in ethical crisis leadership. Here are my 3 practical tips for you to be able to work through these phases:

1. Understand the Change
In everything, understand the change going on around you. Try not to be negatively affected by media, but have your facts correct. People are looking to you for answers and what the next step will be, so you want to be giving the most accurate and up to date information to your people. Stay in tune, so you are able to communicate the changed vision and empower those around you during a time of uncertainty.

2. Moral Purpose
Keep integrity. Through it all, being an ethical crisis leader is challenging and comes with its own stresses, but this is a time to shine. Allow your moral compass to never change. Be a moral agent for your community and help others overcome opposition through your positive character and courage. It is a time to show up and be the moral motivation that everyone needs during a time like this.

3. Be Sensitive
Everyone is affected differently in a crisis, so be an active listener, change perspectives by putting yourself in their shoes and practice humility. This is a time to reflect servant leadership and be there for your community in a new way. In all the phases, know people are looking up to you and it is our time to show a more sensitive side to our leadership, if you do not already.

You got this friend. Stay strong, true and be the ethical crisis leader you were meant to be.
We are in this together, always.

From one leader to another,