From breakdown to breakthrough
I was once told that you need to have a breakdown to have a breakthrough. Not the sort of breakdown where you need medication and hospitalised, but the one where your mind and body shouts out, ‘ I can’t take any more!’, ‘Please slow down!’ and ‘Something has got to change!’, and I would say that is pretty much what’s happened to me recently.
Ironically since setting up Making Things Easy, my life became temporarily more difficult! And the ‘temporarily’ is key here, because acknowledging that something isn’t working or something is more difficult means that you are going to address it and change it. Many people I know, never get to that point – they just keep on going or doing things that aren’t working for them. I’m always helping others to make things easier for them, and I guess now it’s time for me to listen to my own advice, ha!
I have a very honest relationship with myself and I tend to share it in my writing and webinars to inspire others, because I am only human and often – especially in the modern world – people ‘pretend’ everything is okay, when in fact it is much better to say, ‘Woah! This is NOT OK, what can I do about it?’ And that is where I’m at now.
I’m no stranger to hard work, I love working, but I do, in the throes of being passionate about what I do and being the creative person I am, have the tendency to underestimate the time things take, particularly in light of the fact that I am a single parent to four-year-old twin boys. I’ve been forced to look at my strengths and my weaknesses and take a good long look at what I want out of my working and personal life.
So in the name of the brand, I’m making things easier for myself. Let me explain…
In the last three months, I have moved house (and moved counties), set up a new business on top of Fit For A Princess, that still requires a lot of my attention and also involves doing 5 x 130 mile round trips a month, had my PA away for two weeks at a crucial business launch time (my fault for approving this), had to settle my children into a new environment and nursery, had two weeks without broadband (and when setting up an online business that is quite hard!), and then had some unforeseen staffing issues in both businesses – PA resigning because of family matters and two trainers leaving the UK to live abroad with their partners.
At this point, I was in the middle of a live online bootcamp which means I am committed to deliver certain things at certain points and had another live program to do which involved filming over 220 minutes of fitness videos. Now I love what I do, particularly this side of my job, but whichever way you look at it, that is a lot of work!
Then, I have been training up two new staff members, dealing with end of year accounts and after my twins’ nursery decided to separate them without telling me, I had about 10 days where the boys were getting up over half a dozen times a night which meant I felt like a zombie for half the time and was pretty emotional because I often had to peel the boys off me as I went into my office because they had separation anxiety.
Oh, and that is on top of fitting in an hours training every day, writing articles for some media projects, teaching classes and re-branding Making Things Easy because I realised throughout all of this that I wanted to primarily coach women. My parents were away for over three weeks which meant that I lost a lot of emotional support and also additional childcare and that of course is on top of running a house, doing all the domestic admin and chores and as well as doing 7-8 hours of office work each day, I also do all the early morning and evening times with my boys. Most mornings I have been getting up at 4am to get some work done ahead of my boys getting up – and this includes the weekend and I’ve also been working most evenings once the boys go to bed.
If I’m honest, last week, I did have a bit of a breakdown, but in a really refreshing way.
So, as the majority of my work load eased in recent days, I made a decision and told my new team (who are fab by the way and I now know more than ever that things do happen for a reason) ‘ I AM NEVER GOING THROUGH THAT AGAIN!’ I took a half day on Friday, relaxed at the weekend and my motto for moving forwards is running the businesses with ‘EASE, STYLE AND GRACE’.
Because I love what I do, I did what I needed to do to deliver what my clients deserved and paid for and because I love what I do; I was prepared to work hard. I also know that staffing issues will always crop up in business and that is just life, but a lot of what happened was my fault without a doubt. I had taken too much on, I had tried to do too much and I had underestimated what a big move would be like. As a single parent, I have to ensure that I am organised, do things more in advance because sleepless nights and making sure the children are okay if they are upset or want to spend more time with you, will always be a priority.
The great thing is that when you can take responsibility for all of your actions, you are in a much better position to learn from mistakes and ensure that you get things right in the future. You live the life you create and so I made a decision that I don’t want to work or live like that again. The time has passed, I achieved an AWFUL LOT in the last three months (and actually if I’m honest, I think I deserve a medal sometimes, ha!)
My steps moving forwards are this:
• We have adjusted the timeline on some projects so there is less pressure
• I’ve delegated some project planning to my new PA so we are better organised
• I’ve got the right people around me (and sometimes you don’t realise you don’t have the right people around you until you find the ones you do!)
• Between now and Christmas, I’m finishing work at 4pm
• NO 4am starts with work, unless it’s by choice, not force!
• From January I’m going to take every Thursday off – I know this might seem weird to not take a Friday, but I crash by the end of the week and I think that taking a day off on a Thursday will give me good energy for Friday and the weekend
• My parents have agreed to have the boys overnight once a week and a long weekend every month (thanks guys!)
• Have asked my team to push back on me if they think timelines are too tight
• No emails after 5pm
• No work at the weekends other than teaching classes
• Working smarter not harder (something I’ve always coached people on and I needed reminding myself again)
• Creating some space in my life for me on a regular basis (because right now Mr Knight in Shining Armour could knock on my doorstep and I’d be too tired to say hello, let alone go on a date)
Basically, I’m making things easier for myself and that is a wonderful feeling. It’s great being back in control and I’m really looking forward to taking both my businesses with my new team to the next level and doing it with ease, style and grace.
Every so often it is really important to address work-life balance – even for work-life balance coaches like me!
So having a little breakdown to have a breakthrough is a brilliant thing. Burning out is not.
Here’s to a very chilled Christmas and a wonderful 2013!
Very best wishes,