Several times in the past week I have heard people comment that they can’t believe it’s March. Time seems to pass more quickly with each year. We are heading into second quarter. How can you make the most of 2019? Are you heading in the direction you want or do you need to shift anything? Do you know of anything that could get in the way of you attaining your goals? If so, what can you do to head it off?
Recently, I was coaching a client, Gary, who said he felt like he was running out of steam. After asking several probing questions we were able to dig deeper to find that Gary started out the year ‘full steam ahead,’ and now, he felt like he was just chugging along. He then mentioned that the same thing happened the past two years and he didn’t want this to be his pattern. He wanted to feel productive and happy at work and enjoy his family. I believe that’s a reasonable request and something we could accomplish together.
I asked Gary if he were fully committed to changing that pattern, and if so, I would be his committed partner to guide him along the way. Sometimes people say they want something to change but their actions don’t match their words. In this case, Gary was ready. He said he didn’t want to look back on another year and not have what he wanted. It was great that Gary recognized this and was ready to move forward. Too often people burnout because they lack the awareness that a change has to be made, or they feel that there’s nothing they can do to shift things.
After meeting with Gary, we made a game plan. There were several factors impacting his Gary’s energy level, physically and emotionally.
He had a high level position within a large company with many demands. At home he and his wife, who also works, had one child in middle school and one in high school. In addition, his wife’s mother’s dementia was getting worse, and she was living with them.
Like many people in similar positions, Gary and his wife had difficult decisions to make. And making big decisions can cause some sleepless nights and worry.
Regarding Gary’s long working hours, he made the decision to be home for dinner each night. Long hours kept Gary at the office and the negative impact was that he was missing family dinners and the chance to connect with his family. Moreover, at work, because he was so tired, Gary wasn’t as clear and focused and he wasn’t being productive. Here’s what Gary committed to do.
By leaving work earlier, Gary was able to enjoy time with his family and the conversations he would have missed. He got into bed earlier and felt more refreshed. We put together a workout schedule and a “relationship” schedule so that Gary and his wife had some time for themselves, couple time, and family time.
Gary and his wife are figuring out next steps with her mom. The two choices they came up with were having an aide in the house full time or putting her in a facility. The good thing is they have the energy and clarity to make those decisions together, and they are tough decisions to make.
It takes courage to take the steps that Gary has taken. When he told his supervisor the decision to leave work earlier, his boss was not thrilled but Gary made a life decision of what he was willing to tolerate. His boss saw that the longer hours weren’t necessarily equating to being more productive.
Even though we’ve got a long way to go in 2019, take a look at how your life is going. What’s your schedule like? What are you willing to sacrifice? What are your values and are you living them?
Make this the best year of your life!