This is about to get very real. I'm about to share a bit about my personal challenges as both a solopreneur and leadership coach.
In the last seven months, I've lost my mom, 2 dogs and have had cervical spinal surgery. I've also managed to embark on a new coaching certification and build my business in ways that I could never have imagined.
This isn't a personal pity party. My mom raised me to be a resilient, strong, fearless woman. But here are the facts. I've been going in "fifth gear" since September 20th.
For the first two months after my mother died, I focused my energy on cleaning out her house. Determined to get it on the market quickly, I amped up my project management skills. I coordinated auctioneers, cleaners, and teams of repair specialists.
I was devastated and angry about her sudden passing. So, I dumped all of that negative energy into dealing with the house. After two deals fell through (more anger, more frustration, etc...), the house went under agreement last month.
As the universe would have it, the focused launch of my business happened during this time as well. I had been serving in an interim executive director role for a year. That commitment came to an end with a merger celebration on September 22nd.
I found myself pouring whatever energy I had left into ensuring that this business would succeed. I kept my appointments with prospective clients. I did my best to keep my naturally positive disposition in the foreground. And despite everything, I found myself with a busy spring schedule.
During this time, wonderful people and organizations entered my life, including my grief counselor. I was not only trying to process my mom's death but during the winter, I lost my "boys". Two wonderful dogs that had provided me so much solace and compassion. I refer to Chase, my Cavichon, as my “mashed potatoes”, or comfort food. This gentle soul, with fur like a pair of Ugg boots, provided me a warm place to bury my head and his loss was profound.
My counselor was amazing. I felt like I was practicing good self-care every time I entered her office. She reminded me time and time again that grief is complicated. Understatement of the century. She also prepared me well for the next challenge.
On February 14, I had a cervical spinal fusion. After 8 years of chronic pain, my neurosurgeon had been able to pinpoint the source of my pain. Over the years, I had been relentless in pursuit of new treatments. If you have ever suffered from chronic pain, you know that there are times you literally feel crazy. Yes, I was going to get the surgery that I knew I needed despite the timing of everything.
During counseling, we talked a lot about how to create comfort post-surgery. Mallomars, Ramen Noodles, and the Bravo network made it to the top of my list.
A huge shout out here goes to my incredible husband, daughter, family and some amazing friends.
I pressed the surgeon about the time I should take off from work. He and his team told me that 8 weeks was the norm for those returning to an office. I am my own boss, so I took off just two weeks. I didn't work for at all for only the first week.
And, here's where things go a bit wonky, I started back into things in my office (the couch) in week two. I told myself I could do this and "paced" myself working a couple of hours each day. In early March, after sort of getting clearance to drive, I hit the road for a 100-mile drive.
I was now back fully into whirling dervish mode. Pushing through physical pain and a broken heart. Let's remember, my mom taught me to be resilient. And so, I stayed focused.
In the last 14 days, I have presented 9 times. I designed new sessions, launched new programs and I’m proud of where my business is today.
But, and yes, there is a but here...I am not proud of how I've taken care of my whole self.
In January, I went through the process of identifying my word of the year. Revitalize. LOL. Today, I find myself drained and depleted. This weekend was rough. The first Passover without mom. In seven months, I've never missed her more.
So why am I sharing this with you? I am a leadership coach. I facilitate and coach The Leadership Challenge. On a daily basis, I write and talk about the five practices of exemplary leadership. #1...model the way. And guess what, self-leadership is hard work.
I'm in the process of getting another coaching certification through a program called IPEC. It's based on a CORE ENERGY model. We talk about catabolic and anabolic energy. Most importantly, through coaching and counseling, I've learned the incredible importance of managing one's energy.
I realized today, that I have been running on the equivalent of battery back-up for 7 months. I'm not even sure where this energy came from.
I am taking accountability today for it not being sustainable. I'm re-committing and re-setting my personal leadership compass. I’m putting self-care back in play and reconnecting with things in addition to work that brings me joy. Photography, some good art supplies, and a walk in the sunshine with my Mia (our 2-year-old Mini Goldendoodle).
Life and leadership are journeys. I know my mom would be proud that I've plowed through all of this. But now, it’s time to practice what I preach.