This past month we saw 4 Nor’Easters blow through our region and each one sent schools and offices into a state of panic. (I won’t go into a whole rant about how I feel the Philadelphia region is ill-equipped to plan for and handle storms in general, keeping fear at bay, and offices and schools open). Needless to say, the region lost a ton of time and productivity. My child hasn’t had a consistent school schedule since sometime before Christmas.
As much as I enjoy a good snow day, the reality is, the shutting down of all the things really does take its toll on everyone and everything.
I found myself frustrated with the school. The communication, while timely, consistent, and helpful, also focused on a lot of things that to me, didn’t feel like the priority, especially since so much school has been missed since January. I remembered a few years back when similar snow storms hit us one after another and how much time I lost working on my previous business, how much time I couldn’t regain, and the reactive mental and emotional place I was in, desperately trying to salvage and reschedule everything.
By mid April I acquiesced and realized that I not only lost the time due to the storms shutting everything down, but I lost time being reactive.
Reactivity and desperately trying to save things doesn’t make us productive or efficient. It keeps us stuck.
It burrows us further and makes it much harder to move forward.
It took me months to realize that the releasing was actually a really good thing. In fact, I needed to have done it sooner. I was mired in limiting beliefs that my output determined success and worth. I told myself that I had to save all the tour dates, make all the follow up calls, make every deadline, give the funders exactly what they needed, and on. These thoughts kept me clinging to unrealistic goals, outcomes, and timelines that in turn wore me down on the inside. When we can work past those blocks and see that our worth and value are not attached to success and failure, we think and act from a good place.
The letting go frees up our mind to create space for new ideas and starting over from a more abundant space, not the reactive space of lack. We have new space to reorganize, reprioritize, to only put our time, energy and attention on those things that are truly in alignment with our values, our brands, our work.
I now look at these moments as the universe slowing us down, forcing us to re-evaluate and prioritize. I see that maybe there was too much going on to begin with. I trust that the important things will rise to the surface and I’ll handle those first. Beyond that, I no longer believe everything needs to be salvaged or rescheduled right away, or even rushed through half assed just to get it done. I trust that things can wait.
As for my frustrations with school —personally, I would have let the school projects go, and revisited/rethought how things could look at a smaller scale after the break. They chose to keep going with the projects they felt fell most in line with their values and asked for some extra help from staff. For our part, we picked one thing and did our best to bring our best. Ultimately, it didn’t matter how any of it looked. What mattered was I was present that day for my child.
If you’ve lost time due to any form of set back, I urge you to pause and reflect. Honor your feelings of frustration and anxiety. Remind yourself it’s normal to feel this way. Remind yourself you have figured this out and gotten through this before. Give yourself a little space to not think of all the things. What are some coping skills you have when you find yourself in the reactive place?
Then, when the time is right, and you look at all the things, ask yourself what rises to the top as being the most in alignment with you/your values? What are the top 3 priorities? What are the easiest things to do or reschedule? What isn’t really necessary? What can be revisited in a month or two? What can be reconsidered from another perspective?
Chrissie DiAngelus is the President & Founder of Art & Connections, a company that launches inspired, purpose-driven women creatives into higher levels of leadership and success. She blends business strategy, arts and a desire to serve into her offerings. Learn more about the company and about Chrissie. Interested in exploring how to work together? Contact Chrissie today.