Give Me A Break!

Give Me A Break!


If you’ve been reading my blog weekly you know that I’ve been writing on some heavy topics. This is not an apology for that - we need to go deep to live well.

We need to have fun to live well too. Let’s talk about that!!!

“Play is serious business. This sounds paradoxical and it is, in so much as something that comes so naturally … that is so much fun, is so vital. Play is a banquet for the brain, a smorgasbord for the senses, providing nourishment for body and spirit.”

This weekend I’ll be spending 3 days at Austin City Limits with 4 of my favorite people. It will be a first for me to be at such a large festival for more than a couple of hours. I’m so excited!!!

I was a responsible teenager. My Mom leaned on me emotionally because life with my Dad was far from easy for her. I learned to be over-responsible in my family and that translated to volunteer leadership roles in my community. I did not rebel.

That all sounds good BUT I also “learned” that I had to be “on”, overly-responsible, available, strong.

Not only have I had to learn how to feel and express anger (see previous blogs) but I have had to learn to let myself be weak, off-duty, and to let-loose.

What is the messaging inside that keeps us so responsible?

What does applying pressure to ourselves do “for us”?

Many of us who are prone to this have done it most of our lives and it just feels normal. The pattern often gets us satisfying, responsible roles as adults. We can be counted on. We have great work-ethics. We get noticed for this, promoted, confided in. None of this is bad in itself but it can become such a significant part of our identity that we get stuck there.

When it’s a problem is when we can’t turn “it” off and just be ourselves. Just be present fully with family, friends, even ourself. Our self talk includes frequent “I have to …” and “I should …” and “I need to …”. We convince ourselves that bad things will happen (that no one else can handle) if we are not available. Often we end up in jobs and situations where that may be true. Often we create patterns and expectations where it becomes true.

How do we break this cycle?

Most of my coaching is with top performers so this is a topic that frequently comes up. How do we grow here? Let me share some brilliant strategies that clients have devised over the years.

  1. Start by giving yourself short blocks of time when you are not available. (This doesn’t mean you aren’t getting something done necessarily, just that you are in charge of that time.
  2. Look at where you are doing work that you could be delegating. (This gives you more freedom and also lets someone else grow.)
  3. Take small “risks” being unavailable with someone else in charge and see what happens. (If it breaks down figure out what you need to do differently the next time.)
  4. Talk it out - the self-talk that keeps us stuck usually sounds quite different when we say it out loud to someone else! (Sometimes a trusted co-worker or boss can be a huge help.)

How often are you letting yourself let-loose and have fun? 

If you don’t know where to start, would you be willing to make a list of things that you find fun?

6 comments (Add your own)

1. Janice wrote:
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