What can you gain by giving up?
We all know the feeling. Especially during the holidays and, well, many times throughout 2020. It’s all just too much. Too much work, too many worries, too much to do. Too little time. In business, they call it burnout or being overwhelmed.
It just makes you want to give up. There’s a whole genre of business communication that has placed an undue amount of admiration to “hustle culture.” It’s a somewhat perverse view that unless you become a martyr to your career you’re not trying hard enough or you won’t be successful. Yes, I know. Making a business work takes a lot of work. But as many failed businesses will admit, putting in freakish hours doesn’t guarantee success.
I’m not against hustle. I like to work hard. But I confess, I can’t do it nonstop. My brain needs a break to refresh and restore. Judging by the number of worthy ideas I’ve had while painting my house, raking the leaves, or cutting the grass, I’ve begun to believe I should get paid for those activities.
Stop. Sit. Process.
We all react differently when we become overwhelmed. Some strike out in anger. Others become introverted. Some become anxious.
My daughter just sits down. This can happen anywhere. Many times when we take her to the grocery store, a museum, or some other public place she will just plop herself down a few feet inside the door. The wild swirl of colors, the noises, the movement––for her, it’s too much. She just sits down. We have to convince her it’s okay, coax her to get up, to take our hand and follow us.
I’m sure there are times we all feel that sensation at work. It’s just too much. And sometimes, the right solution is to just sit down. I have noticed when my daughter takes a seat in the grocery store or any unfamiliar area, she’s not just sitting, she’s also taking in information and processing it, and deciding whether the new environment is safe.
I’ve tried it, too. So when work (and life!) becomes too much, it’s okay to just take a mental sit down, process information, decide what should go first, what’s really important and what’s really a danger. Then when you’re ready, take someone’s hand and give it another try.
This article is the fourth in a series of lessons I have learned from my daughter, a young lady with Down syndrome and autism. She doesn’t speak, but she does communicate. I will share some of the many things I have learned from her in this weekly series.