#23 - Giving Too Much
Most clients don’t come to coaching because they’re bored and underutilized. They come because they’re overworked and running on empty. One commonly held view is that their bosses, clients, boards or political masters are to blame, asking too much, over and over again.
I’d accept that view if these strong and capable individuals were enslaved and deprived of rights. If they had no resources and faced incommensurable hardship if they dared voice their opposition. There are many places on this planet where this is the case. But in Ottawa, Canada?
Yet, many start the conversations convinced that there’s no way out. They count the weeks and years until their release, while checking their smart phones 16 hours a day. They clench their teeth when reading most messages and furiously type out half-baked answers, their fingers vibrating with frustration or impatience. When asked where they find happiness in their lives, they allude vaguely to life outside of work. Maybe a hobby or an upcoming trip.
Sadly, this is what happens when you place little value on your time and efforts, on while you probably place a higher value on everybody else’s needs. Believe me I’ve been there, done that! And it’s a hard habit to break.
How do you get back in the driver’s seat? Not easy when you’ve been riding someone else’s bus for years. It takes the courage to accept that you’ve created this reality by forgetting who you are, and what you truly care about.
An invitation to explore the following:
Pausing: I’m often surprised as how few holidays professionals take. When did time off become a sign of lack of commitment? A change of pace will take you out of the ‘Giving too much’ matrix, and help you regain the perspective you may have lost.
Rewinding: How did this spiral start? What are you moving away from? What are you fearing? What need are you ignoring? You can begin anew by asking yourself some tough questions, while being gentle with yourself when you do come up with your answers. A coach, mentor or good friend can help.
Fast Forwarding: You may want to project yourself into the future and see what comes up for you. If you continue this way, what happens? If you stop, what is the worst that can happen? There’s a risk in shifting gears, AND there’s a risk in the status quo. What’s your choice?
One of my clients recently read a saying that stopped him dead in his tracks: “Today is the Tomorrow of Yesterday.” In that moment he realized that Tomorrow would come anyway, and that Today was meant to be lived with purpose and courage. Today was for taking charge and moving forward, while forgiving himself for all the Yesterdays where he gave too much and didn’t put himself first in his own life.
This holiday season, give yourself a much needed gift, and do one thing that puts you first.