Today, I did something I’m not sure I’ve ever done: re-scheduled a business meeting (in this case, a podcast interview) because I am having a hard day.
Some context: last week marked the three year anniversary of my brother’s death. The day of the anniversary, I actually felt mostly okay (probably because I was on a trip to Chicago with my fiancé and my parents-and, thus, was fairly distracted). This weekend, however, I was definitely not okay.
I was angry.
I was sad.
I was hopeless.
I was feeling all the things that grief brings.
My body remembered, quite viscerally, all the emotions I was feeling this week just 3 years ago.
So when I woke up this morning, I was feeling emotionally hungover to say the least. I cried to my therapist. Cried into my pillow. Cried in the shower. And then, like any self-respecting Capricorn and business woman, got prepped for the day, ready to run headfirst into all of my responsibilities, including a podcast interview that I had been looking forward to for weeks.
And then I paused.
Was I really equipped to show up fully for my podcast guest today?
Did I really have the capacity to hold space for another individual today?
Would I really have the mental bandwidth to have a vulnerable interview today?
The answer was glaringly clear: hell no.
If you’re anything like me, First name / friend, you may, also, have a not-so-healthy tendency of disregarding your own needs in the name of doing business.
Have you ever pushed on with hosting a webinar even though you were sick and your body was needing rest?
Or have you ever worked through lunch even though you were starving?
Have you ever avoided taking a break (AKA a vacation!) from your business even though you were burnt out and exhausted?
Or have you ever taken a client call even though you were extremely emotionally dysregulated from an event earlier that day?
Here’s the problem with avoiding our own needs in the name of doing business:
When we show up to our businesses completely depleted (because this is what happens when we don’t honor our needs…trust me), we actually aren’t being of service to the community we aim to support.
When we show up to team meetings exhausted and overwhelmed, we have less patience and compassion for our team members.
When we show up to client calls emotionally drained or dysregulated, we don’t have the same mental bandwidth to provide the solutions our clients are paying us for (AKA we aren’t able to actually deliver on our promises).
When we show up to work hungry (because we skipped lunch and, quite possibly, breakfast too), we don’t have the fuel we need to think critically or creatively and, thus, end up making poor decisions for ourselves and others.
Disregarding your needs isn’t doing anyone any good.
Today, I have a need for space. Space to process, to grieve, and to rest. Rather than ignoring that need, I asked for what I needed, understanding that my need was probably going to be an inconvenience to my guest who was expecting to get on a call later this afternoon. As uncomfortable as it felt in the moment to prioritize my need over my business, I took the leap and did the hard thing anyway.
Here’s what I learned in doing so:
- People are more understanding than most of us give them credit for. People get that life happens and they’re, more often than not, happy to make accommodations.
- Letting people in (within reason…I’m not encouraging any trauma dumping here) creates trust and connection, not separation. I was worried that by letting my guest know what was going on with me today that she’d think less of me. That she’d think I was unprofessional or rude for asking to reschedule (crazy what our minds tell us, huh?!). Instead, by being vulnerable, we established a more personal connection.
- Asking for what we need inspires others to do the same. We all are in need of people in business modeling positive, healthy behaviors to empower us to do the same.
- When you offer grace to those around you, the people in your life and business, more often than not, will offer you the same when you need it. Likewise, when you consistently follow through on your promises (such as sending deliverables on time, attending meetings on time, etc.), on the off-occasion that you need special accommodations, your community will be happy to meet your needs. Your people trust you. They know you are reliable. Because of that foundation of trust and reliability, they are able to offer you the flexibility you need.
- Who you surround yourself with in business makes all the difference. Surround yourself with people that understand that life happens. Surround yourself with people who lead with compassion and are willing to be flexible when plans change. You and your business will be better for it.
So, friend, will you, too, do the hard thing of integrating what you need into your business? I know that many of us have been taught to ignore our needs for the sake of others or for the sake of our businesses. But consider this your permission, my love, to do the hard thing. It’s worth it, I promise.