What to do When Challenges in Someone Else's Life Affect Your Work
Like most of us, I’m pretty much going full speed all the time. But then times like these show up that demand so much more. When full go is all there is in every area: career, relationship, life, spirit. I’m in the throws of one of those times, so I thought I could be provide some helpful considerations for when life comes to be with you or one of your staff for a while.
I find am overwrought with thought. While I’m executing, my brain is sifting through the mental checklist of what’s next. It is 24/7 planning & next steps…only there is a mountain of them. The everyday full go I know and love is basically kindergarten compared to this.
Thankfully, it’s not that things are going badly, it’s the amount of intensity in combination with the quantity.
How to Help not Hinder your team when they are going through an inevitable challenge in their life.
what's happening...well, let's look at July
At the beginning of the month, my husband accepted a job in Sausalito, CA. Super exciting time for us because we always wanted to land in Northern California ever since 9 years ago when we celebrated his 40th there.
He had been in conversations with his new place throughout May and June. Relocation was not going to happen until September, perhaps October depending on some things. We were completely content with that…it allowed for the mental and physical transition time to happen.
Well, when you want something bad enough…you adjust to make it happen.
Low and behold, they changed their minds and wanted an earlier start date. Sure I thought, late August is better even, more exciting. But it wasn’t August he needed to be there, it was July (ahem…it is July, people!). Not to worry, he can start towards the end of July, plenty of time. Game on. It was early in the month, we can do this. Moving. 8 hours north. Basically, now. Got it.
My cousin’s birthday is July 24th. She had passed away last November, too young and too suddenly. We had the funeral in November, and with this being her 50th we wanted to have a celebration of her life. I was very much looking forward to this family reunion and was preparing for the mental stretches coming: it is cross country travel (literally coast to coast), with Northern Cali’s new time frame I’d be gone for a week in the midst of our turbo move, I have my own work to do that I would have to weave in, and oh yeah…while wonderful, it was going to be heart-wrenching.
But I was not going to be swayed, I wanted to be there. (Sidenote: Being able to be in the moment has never served me so well as it has in these times. To focus on one accomplishment at a time, I could see the mountain was getting climbed while enjoying where I currently was.)
Lastly, storms were rampant up and down the East coast on both days of my travel. I was delayed for 2 days coming back to California. Full go was still going. And it wasn’t like my husband was up north eating Bon Bons. I’m stunned and grateful at what we have pulled off together this month.
Life sneaks up on all of us and rewrites what we thought was the story. I never thought I would have the courage to leave the security of my corporate job for my own business (a roller coaster I truly love). I never thought we would make it to NorCal this year. I also never thought I would bury my cousin.
Whether we are the boss, the leader, or one of our employees…the game of life spares no one. We all are on the receiving end at one point or another. Is someone suddenly struggling more than usual with performance, morale, or drive? Before you make assumptions…pause, check in. Maybe they are having one of their own July’s. Perhaps a parent or child is sick, or they are having marital issues, or have just had a run of awful luck. Wouldn’t a show of support help them survive their July…take a piece of the load off? Don’t be predictable by being annoyed, surprise them by offering understanding. Your support shows you care for them as a person, that they are so much more than just a worker-bee.
These are the times when your ability of understanding what true leadership is will come into play. When you can truly see what is happening to the person (not to you), what is at stake and how you can help. Even your best people will experience troubling times and need a strong leader’s hand of understanding. As you can imagine, the love shown here is so appreciated, and the relationship between the two of you is now much deeper.
The Benefit of the Benefit
When you are able to offer help and understanding, you are set free as well. You are not upset because of what they are doing or are not doing. You are able to see through that metric and ask how the person is. And it feels good to show care and offer help to one of your own. We spend a lot (a lot!) of precious time with one another at work. You each will have your share of life’s highs and lows. Let work be a place of certainty, not scrutiny.
I’m on the downward slope now. Things are packed. I’m surrounded by boxes. I’m talking packed to the point of 2 bowls and 2 plastic forks. Cereal was dinner.
I will have spent my first night in Sonoma when you all read this Thursday morning.
Ahhhh. I’ve made it.