I had to have surgery last week. While preparing to be out of office for the day, I set up my work email responder to make sure I directed any urgent inquiries to my business partner. I was amazed to see that I had not set it up since August 2019. In other words, I have not taken a single day off since then. Not even a national holiday.
There are a lot of advantages to owning your own business. But there are also a few significant downsides. Under normal conditions, my profession is filled with more deadlines and urgency than almost any other career, other than firefighting and surgery. (I’ve always found this so stupid, given I’m not out there saving lives. It’s the biggest downside of my profession.) Needless to say, 2020 has not provided normal conditions. I won’t go into too much detail but: it’s been a very, very difficult time to keep a business afloat, especially one that depends on nonstop strategic brainpower, endurance and sheer freaking will. I take our responsibility to the people who work for us very seriously, and can NOT let them down.
Even with this scary climate, I still find myself beating myself up for not being productive enough. By productive enough, I mean: healthy enough, making the right business decisions, working hard enough, being a great mom and parent, being a good person. I just read an article profiling a prolific, famous author, who credits her success doing all these things to her “upholder” tendencies. She said for years and years, she has woken up early and run at least 8 miles and this is why she can do all she can do, even now during this terrible time.
Let me make this clear: I don’t resent the author. She works hard, and she deserves her success. What I fault is my own tendency to seek out and read these kind of articles.
At the risk of boring you all, I’ll remind you that stoicism is what ends up always keeping me afloat.
So. If you are feeling less than, if you are feeling you’re not doing enough or you’re scared about the future (and who isn’t??) – here’s what I can tell you.
Savor today. Savor this moment. We’re alive! We’re still here.
Spend time with your loved ones (within your household, or pod, or whatever). Watch a fun movie together tonight if you can. Or go to sleep early.
Seek mental health resources, if you need to. This is an unprecedented time of stress, fear and anger.
If you can work out, do so (it makes us all feel better). I can’t work out right now, but I can nurture my body with good food as opposed to bad food. I am trying to be better about that.
Take actions you can to make our world better.
These words, from a wise friend, made me feel better.