Let’s be honest…you are reading this right now because your plate is too full, and it is easier to read this blog than figure out which crisis to face next, right?
One of my clients made me think of you recently because she came to me hurt and irritated that everyone from close friends to respected colleagues was telling her the same thing:
“Your plate is so full, (name here), of course you are dropping essential tasks…late picking up your kids…responding late to clients…wasting time on social media…getting sick…”
She heard this repeated message, as “You can’t handle all this. You are failing. You should try harder.”
My client runs a successful business. Early last fall she was preparing to launch new services, bringing in new clients and enjoying the freedom of being her own boss. Then life outside of the business got difficult. Two close family members died in quick succession, leaving holes in the family and complicated estates that required her attention. Her home that had been on the market prior to the deaths suddenly sold, creating both opportunity and upheaval. A long-term employee gave notice just as a new employee started. Each situation required more time, energy and engagement from my client than she had to give.
Her plate was indeed too full. And most of what filled it she hadn’t chosen.
Owning her own business also meant she didn’t get paid time off or paid vacation as she dealt with the grief as she handled the tasks.
Much of the time our plates are too full because of choices we made. We say yes too easily, misjudge our capacity, and have porous or non-existent boundaries for what is important. These are topics for a future blog.
When your plate is full as a result of situations (and emotions) you didn’t choose and couldn’t control, there aren’t easy solutions. In witnessing my client’s experience these past several months, and reflecting on my own journey, I do have some strategies to offer:
I don’t believe there is a “right way” to navigate those times when personal challenges get in the way of our ability to be effective business owners. I do believe we all need help when the needs around us get too big to find the clarity we need to find a path forward that is integrity. That’s why I do this work.