The loss of my dog Reagan this last week has been an inspiration for my conversation with you. My dog was bearing a heavy burden of managing his illness as well as continuing to protect our family. His final hours were outside in the yard keeping us safe from birds, people and delivery trucks. I’m inspired by his strength and lack of complaining, but his pain must have been tremendous and he barely showed it. As our family is healing, I now turn my thoughts to you who may have a heavy burden to carry in your life and work. 

In my last role, there came a point of tremendous chaos for which I and my team were scrambling to keep up with the multiple quality issues.  We swiftly identified the problem, moved quickly to deploy resources and established communication plans, but it soon became overwhelming. The mental load on myself and the team was extraordinary. I remember coming home to my husband and saying something has to change because I can’t seem to mentally unwind and see my way out of the stress. It was one of those inflection points I remember deeply and never want to return. It’s the same state of being I see in so many C-suite leaders, founders, and CEOs that compels me to provide a framework to manage the mental load and hopefully navigate through with more confidence.

Pause and acknowledge it. It happens and sometimes without warning. I propose you take a moment and shut the door. Breath. Turn down your laptop, silence your phone for a few minutes. Close your eyes and recognize the feeling and bring yourself down. Maybe clean out some files. Clean off your white board. Water your plants…just something to create a break between spiraling and feeling frazzled.

Prioritize your next move: Do you need to reach out for help? Do you need a whiteboard for all the issues to see everything so you can prioritize what you work on and who can help you? Block out time on your calendar for what you will work on today and not work on so you can get real focused and gain some clarity. It’s about working on the critical few and pausing on the less important. Your leadership behaviors need to ground you and project a sense of calm for both you and your team. 

Be Patient with yourself for not doing the routine work as you can ask for forgiveness, delegate, delay or even miss a week on doing something. You are a Super Human, but you don’t have to be superhuman all the time!  If you’re worried about other things not getting done, block out time in the future for when you will have the time to get it done.

More private or people time – go to your source of energy or rejuvenation. I know I prefer to be alone, but I also like verbalizing to my spouse. I also prefer walks or running to get out the excess energy and gain clarity. Others like to be with friends as a source of energy. 

Clarity is the ultimate goal: when you’re in a mental overload, we have to give time and space for the “ah ha” moment to provide you some clarity. During a challenging time and while running, I invented my Framework of One – one team, working in one way towards one goal – simple and clear.

Pause / Prioritize / Patience / Private or people time is a framework for which you can gain Clarity; the ultimate goal of mental overload.

On a personal note, my husband and I are still in a place where we’re mentally challenged, going through the phases of grief. We’re talking to each other, cleaning our home and spending the time we need to get re-energized. We’ve put away some of his things, displayed others and through this, we realized he made us complete as a family. We’re still a strong family for which we’re grateful he protected us, kept us grounded in routine, kept us moving and showered us with much needed love. His mission is complete and we are grateful we found him and he claimed us.

Now is the time for you to collect your thoughts and take action. 

To hear more about my story about Reagan and challenges that I and clients have faced, please tune into my podcast that is releasing this Friday 4/28

Maybe you simply need a support system to apply these new insights. I find leaders simply need a place to talk through the challenges and that’s why I created The Drop In CEO Collective, a forum for C-Suite leader support. To learn more about our next event, you can visit our page and register. 

Would you rather have a quick 1-2-1 to discuss your specific challenge? Could The Drop In CEO be your support system? Direct Message me on LI or contact me via my website and let’s have a conversation. Until then, I wish you much success.