Does this sound familiar? You have had a rough morning and you feel like you have done a million things to get the family ready before your “work” day even starts. Your day is full- back to back meetings with clients, deadlines, and all the normal daily tasks. You are overwhelmed and wondering how you will summon up the energy to get through the day.
We have all had days like these (some more than others!) and we need to make a choice as to how we show up. Do we show up exhausted, ungrateful, and scatterbrained? Or do we show up and choose to be present with whomever we are meeting with?
Too often I see people not showing up. Their energy is lacking, they are complaining about what’s happening with them, and they are generally a drag to be around. Now, please don’t get me wrong, everyone has bad days and that’s fine, but I urge you to be aware as to how you are showing up and what it means for those around you.
So, why aren’t people showing up? This is a good question and the answer is different for everyone. However, the most common reasons I hear for people not showing up are:
Too many things in our brain box
We all play a number of roles in our everyday lives including parent, partner, boss/employee, friend – the list goes on. Each of these roles comes with so many things we need to think about and do. For some people, when things get too much, the automatic response is to shut down and not show up.
Can’t be bothered
This one is a big one. We all seem to be running at such a fast pace these days which results in the feeling of utter exhaustion. When we have nothing left in the tank the simplest of tasks can feel like mammoth ones. In these instances, it can feel easiest not to show up properly or even at all.
The numerous roles we play and the heavy workload that comes with each of these bring a massive sense of overwhelm for some people. Overwhelm has a huge impact on our ability to show up. I have spoken about overwhelm and the need to say no in my previous blog – check it out here.
The effects of not showing up are big, and can have an ongoing negative impact for us:
The work compounds
If you don’t show up, workloads compound. Unfortunately, the work doesn’t just go away, and given the general reasons for not showing up (see above), in some instances it can result in the work compounding to a point of no return.
People notice – and notice us for the wrong reason
It is really obvious to people when you are not showing up. People are perceptive and they notice the energy that we bring with us. If you are bringing a negative energy to what you do people are going to avoid you.
A bad reputation
People are quick to judge and build their impression of you. If you are not showing up, chances are this impression is not going to be a good one and unfortunately, they are likely to tell others of their experience with you. A bad reputation can have irreversible damage to your career/business.
The above being said, when we do actually show up it can lead to amazing things. I want to tell you about a client of mine who consistently shows up. She is amazeballs! Dani is a senior business leader in her community, she runs a number of businesses and she sits on two boards. She has three children and the normal issues around running a busy household.
A number of years ago her, one of her businesses was not doing terribly well and so I was working with her to turn it around. She had to pivot her business (I hate using that word, but pivot is the right word!), as her industry was in turmoil and she knew if she didn’t change something that she would no longer have a business. We were due to meet at 10am in the morning. Overnight, Dani had received some interesting (read: bad) media and she was fielding calls from reporters and the business world, all wanting to speak with her.
The impressive thing to me was that 1) She showed up to the session (I would have fully forgiven her if she hadn’t shown up that day); 2) She was present and focused throughout the session; and 3) She did not take a call or look at her phone the entire time that we were together. Within six months, she had turned that business around and she had managed to keep all of her talent and turn a profit. I have no doubt that the outcome was so positive because of the way she showed up, time and time again. My experience with Dani was very similar each time. She was consistent in how she showed up.
So, the key question is what can we do to ensure we are showing up? I know I talk about self-care and mindset a lot, and the reason is because they are both so important. You need to ensure that you are looking after yourself so that you can indeed show up when needed. Some of the things I do to ensure that I am looking after myself and in turn show up are:
- Allow time between meetings, and if possible, arrange meetings away from my place of work so that I walk to and from the meeting. I find that pre-meeting, this allows time to set myself up for the meeting, and post-meeting this allows time to reflect and reset for the return to the office. The added bonus is the natural sunlight and fresh air I will get on the walk.
- Book (and keep that appointment!) an hour a week with myself to sit, reflect, think and journal.
- Use 10 minutes a day to practice mindfulness; slowing your breathing, slowing your pace, and just appreciate what is around you. I find doing this in the morning after the crazy of the family morning routine but before my “work” day starts can help me set a positive mindset for the day ahead.
- Get up at the same time each morning and go to bed at the same time each night. We all thrive on routine and regular sleep is key.
- Turn of all technology an hour before bed, this goes hand in hand with the above point. Switching off technology before bed and similarly not looking at it as soon as you wake up will assist in better sleep and a clear mind.
- Focus on one thing at a time. We all have so much going on in our lives but it is important not to get overwhelmed by it all. Make a list and prioritise. Focusing on one thing at a time will ensure that we are more effective in achieving what we need to, rather than being busy and not achieving anything.
- Play to your strengths Don’t try and be all things to all people. Focus on your strengths and delegate or outsource the things that don’t bring joy or when you know the task is better suited to others.
- Know your peaks and troughs Everyone has natural energy cycles throughout the day. Think carefully about your own cycle pinpointing times when you feel more focused and productive and use these times to your advantage
- Build your “no” muscle. Saying no is like anything else, it’s hard to do to start with, but gets progressively easier with practice.
If you feel like you may need a little more help in showing up, get in touch. I offer tailored coaching programs. As a coach I am here to bounce ideas off; help you take some time out to reflect on how you work; look at how you are reacting to situations; assist in preparing for a difficult conversation or levelling up your performance.