We were 45 minutes into our weekly video meeting when he started to transition from niggly to irate. H-Man, the three-month-old starburst of a baby. My assistant’s newborn.
Let’s pause here, I suggested.
She was grateful, but I could sense her internal struggle. She knew she could push through. She wanted to keep our meeting on track. She was driven to honour her work.
AND she wanted to soothe her babe who had gone from sleeping, to chatting with me, to play time, and was now as done as any baby was ever done with waiting.
Let’s pause here, I insisted. No longer a suggestion, but rather a final decision.
We weren’t putting out fires. We weren’t saving lives. We weren’t on the precipice of cracking the code that would change everything.
No. In fact, we were talking about getting our team on board with creating new accounting systems for my business. Which is ironic. (You’ll see why in a moment.)
So there are about 100 different directions I could take this. About how we’re trying to build a strong team where work and life balance is an actual thing. About the shame I feel in how late I was to recognize that we ought to pause. About how me even making the recommendation could be construed as patronizing, even as it was intended to be compassionate.
But I want to talk about the feeling that I could see that she was experiencing in that moment. Because it’s a feeling I know too well.
If I would just push through, then... I would feel good about that. But not THAT.
It’s a dance that plays out so very frequently with all of us.
I am exhausted, but I think I ought to push through. Because:
People are expecting...
I am expecting...
It will mean...
And in each of these narratives lies a story. Could be a true story. Could be fantasy. But I wonder. If you are exhausted and pushing through is an option rather than a necessity, isn’t it enough to recognize that as such (as in, you are CAPABLE of pushing through, but at a cost) and choosing something else instead? Something like kindness? Something like rest?
Check your narrative.
Try this out instead: Yes, I CAN do this. But that doesn’t mean I have any business doing it.
There are parts of my business that confound me. It is hard to admit. But there it is. I am baffled by projections and taxation tribulations. Largely because I have kept my head in the sand while I’ve contracted professionals who KNOW these things to HANDLE these things.
But it doesn’t feel good. It doesn’t feel whole. It doesn’t feel true. I love my business and want to know it from the inside out. So the fact that my assistant and I were talking about me off-loading a new accounting system to my team makes me chuckle at myself. That Buddha Babe H didn’t just have a message for his Mama. He had one for me too: It’s your turn to dig deeper here, Tanya. Do what you say you want to do. Be the kind of business owner you say you want to be. Figure this out. For yourself.
Just because I can get the help, doesn’t mean I should.
On the other side of me figuring it out is a sense of deep knowing I’ve been seeking for the decade I’ve been running this business. That’s what I want. That’s what I need. That’s what I should do. And can.
Just because you CAN power through, doesn’t mean you should.
Just because you CAN do that job, doesn’t mean you should.
Just because you can pass off that task, doesn’t mean you should.
Just because you can drink that extra glass of wine, doesn’t mean you should.
What serves what you say you want? What serves the greatest good? What will grow you the most? What edge needs to be explored? What honours your vision?
And again: who do you want to be on the other side of that decision?
Discernment is the key.