It’s been a rough few months in my personal life. At the end of April, my mother was hospitalized for a month, which took a toll on my father, a disabled veteran. On top of dealing with that, I experienced six weeks of chronic pain for a condition that has since subsided.
At the end of June, I wrote a post about leading through uncertainty in which I offered tips for how to push forward during tumultuous times. My advice included the recommendations to be transparent, compartmentalize, and practice self-care. Since publishing that post, my mother was hospitalized for another week, followed by my Dad’s week-long hospitalization and subsequent fall that required emergency care. We can’t seem to catch a break!
In that time, I have learned more about what’s necessary to keep pace during life’s challenges. I thought I would extend my insights to you in case you find yourself in a situation with ongoing stress and uncertainty.
Three More Tips for How to Lead Through Turbulent Times
1. Give yourself space.
I tried to go full-throttle with my life despite the personal challenges, but doing so eventually took a toll. I didn’t realize it until something unfortunate happened in the business and I took it very hard — harder than I would have under normal circumstances. I know now that I need to take time to grieve when facing adversity or a sense of loss. Some breathing room provides an opportunity to process what’s going on.
2. Take a break.
Similar to the last tip, it’s also key to give yourself some time for rest and rejuvenation. This was hard for me to do because I felt so behind on my work. However, I found it was not sustainable to continue my normal pace without proper rest. I realized I needed breaks between hospital visits and work as well as during times when I just felt tired and ready to call it a day. It’s OK to take time to rest, Type As! Really, it’s OK!
3. Keep your chin up.
It’s innate to feel sad or upset when less-than-fortunate circumstances arise. Most people will understand that you might not be your best self. However, as someone who has been labeled by a previous coach as “seeing things through a pessimistic lens,” I see the value in having a positive attitude. Because that doesn't come naturally to me, I try to find inspiration by reading books like “The Secret” and “Zen and the Art of Happiness.” It really does help me to remember that we do not have to be a victim of our circumstances; we have control over our reactions.
“There's a bit of magic in everything, and some loss to even things out.” ~ Lou Reed
Everyone goes through struggles. Even when challenges seem as though they will never end, remind yourself that they will eventually reach a conclusion. Until then, allow yourself the time to heal and rest. And remain positive as best you can. As they say, “Brighter days are ahead.”
Your turn: What tactics and strategies help you deal with instances of adversity and loss?