unlimited leader - trapped

I can’t. I literally can’t. I work my ass off 60 hours a week. At no point has a PTO day been remotely “O”. I spend more than half of my days off answering emails, fielding calls, putting out fires, and trying to get actual work done. And yet, I’m still hearing that I’m “inaccessible; no one can ever get a hold of me for answers or direction”.

I’ve rewritten next week’s strategic plan three times trying to hit the ever moving target of Stan’s message and direction. I’m just gonna leave it; can’t do anything else at this point.

I can’t stop thinking about my tone and delivery during today’s team meeting. Angela was visibly upset and left without making eye contact with anyone or saying another word. 

Not to mention, it’s 11P and I have 50 emails to get through along with the project plan I promised Stan 3 days ago.

Sh*t! I just remembered I have the 7:30 meeting tomorrow morning and Zac needs a treat for his class party. **** it! I’m just going to bed.

[Fast forward 2 hours later still lying awake].

I feel horrible about what I said to Angela. I didn’t mean for it to come out as harshly as it did. She was visibly pissed and immediately shut down. I really need her to take a big role in next week’s presentation. Now I’m worried she won’t want to after today.

I should have taken a breath and counted to 10 before I just blurted out I wasn’t onboard with her idea. I know pausing helps me find more filtered and compassionate words. I didn’t even give it a fair shot.

Damn it! Why did I do that? I’m her manager. I should know and act better. Great example I’m setting.

UGH! Tomorrow will be so awkward. I don’t even know what to say. I really don’t want to deal with it. 

[4 hours later when the alarm goes off]

Oh for the love, when will this stop? When will I have some control?

Oh ****! I still have to get those damn treats. 

When Life Feels Out of Control

This is an excerpt from my life 2 years ago. When it seemed as if level one lens was superglued to my face and I was convinced the weight of the world was mine alone to bear and there was absolutely no way to escape it. It was, and always would be, my life. There was no way out. I was stuck. 

Not only did I feel I had absolutely no control over my situation at work, nor any say in how to make it better, but my husband was a SAHD because he had just left his job. I was the sole breadwinner and I had just taken a new position. There was no way I could leave so quickly. It would definitely be noticed and noted on my resume. So, every morning, I woke up to this crippling despair and anxiety because there was literally no way out. 

The Zone of Destructive Energy

This is the zone of no glimmer of constructive/anabolic energy. It is destructive and catabolic through and through. It’s the zone of apathy and inaction. The moments when you’re so overwhelmed you don’t know what to do, so you choose nothing. It’s as if all your decision making skills completely vanish because you don’t see anything but what you’re experiencing. The thoughts and feelings are so deep and have such a strong hold, you’re convinced life couldn’t be any other way; there are no other options to explore. You’re blocked from seeing a way out. And it’s in this space your sense of worth and confidence are little to even non-existent. You’re constantly worried about what happens and what’s said feeling shame for your part in it because you “should” have done it differently. All of this weight prevents you from moving forward.

This is also the space your inner naysayer is screaming the loudest. Why? Because the thoughts and feelings are so heavy. They’re painful and so your naysayer steps in to offer a bit of protection from them. That’s how he/she/it got there in the first place – to minimize the weight that comes from experiencing destructive energy.

But … Not All Hope Is Lost

One of the most imperative tenets on this topic – i.e. energy and how it’s experienced – is that there is no good or bad, right or wrong, black or white. Whatever we experience just … is. Plain and simple. And while based on the narrative, it may not seem as if there is any upside, there absolutely is! When experienced, this energy allows for moments of sympathy and support from others.

Think about your own experiences in this space. No doubt you can pinpoint when others gave you attention and offered their sympathy, and maybe even some advice and help to initiate action. 

BUT … There’s a Flip Side

With every advantage comes a disadvantage. Experience this energy too often (that is, form unconscious thought, feeling, and action patterns when it surfaces) and you run the risk of alienating friends, family, and coworkers because you’re unable to get out of your own way. You’ll struggle to get out from the weight of your thoughts and feelings, and genuinely believe your naysayer’s message that you’re unworthy, making it that much harder to go after what you actually want.

Moving Forward with Awareness

The first step in any journey is awareness. Awareness that this energy exists. It’s a part of the human condition, though we’re always at choice as to whether we experience it or not and knowing that if we do, there’s a reason for it, which brings us to the second step in the journey … 

Taking the Next Step with Acceptance

Acceptance that it’s perfectly normal to experience everything that comes with this energy state. Because of course it is! You’re human! You live to be autonomous; to make your own decisions; to freely practice free will. So when your life experiences continue to pile on (from work, work, family, or even a global pandemic) and their collective weight seems insurmountable, it makes total sense you feel

  • overwhelmed and unable to keep up
  • worried about what will or won’t happen next
  • guilty about what you could have done differently with hindsight being 20/20

Speaking of 2020, this year is a phenomenal case study in this energy space. With 95% of our choices taken away from us, we collectively put on our level one lenses and spiraled to some dark places. (Hell, I’ll be the first to admit as a coach who’s trained in all of this, I had some ROUGH moments to be coached through over the last 7 months). Places we weren’t certain we’d ever escape, and yet here we are! Open to seeing more options available to us, and making every effort to move forward to the third step on our journeys. 

What Can You Allow Yourself to Believe?

Maybe you’re not yet out of your 2020 funk, or regardless of this year, this energy state is prominent for you. One, it’s perfectly normal. When this energy is experienced, it’s a lot to work through. It incites deep established patterns of thoughts and feelings around being trapped and overwhelmed, which take time to unravel and repurpose. So take just a few steps forward to recognize there are options available.

  • Step 1: Gain awareness that change/something different is possible and it’s what you want
  • Step 2: Accept that you absolutely have the courage ability to make whatever change you want happen.
  • Step 3: Continually allow yourself to believe in your awesome and unique talents and creativity to bring it to life

What can you allow yourself to believe about yourself that will propel you one step closer to stepping into your power and creating a life true to your most authentic self?

Challenging yourself in these moments takes courage and support. If you’re struggling to alleviate yourself of this energy and feel consistently stuck in a pattern of overwhelm, lack of options, and inaction let’s connect. There are several coaching options we can explore to get you moving forward. I’d love to hop on a 20 minute call to hear what comes up for you in this space. What’s the number one thing that keeps you from going after what you want?

Live your truth. Unabashedly you. You are worthy.