Retail Observer

February 2020

The Retail Observer is an industry leading magazine for INDEPENDENT RETAILERS in Major Appliances, Consumer Electronics and Home Furnishings

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RETAILOBSERVER.COM FEBRUARY 2020 42 J ust about everyone I know has had times when they've felt overwhelmed by their commitments, activities, and responsibilities. They feel pulled in so many directions, consumed by their to-do lists, calendars, computers and phones – buzz-buzz, ding-ding. They leave work feeling unfinished and undone and go to sleep dissatisfied with what they've accomplished, and anxious about what's to come. I regularly coach clients who've spent so much time at work that it has truly taken over their lives – it's become their overwhelming obsession, leaving them depleted and depressed. It's a bleak picture, and I know it's not just the people who've asked me for help, because we've all felt it. It's hard to be an engaged person in the modern world and escape the feeling of being constantly pulled by external voices, questions and beckonings that want more than we can give. Sometimes, sure, it's about taking the long-postponed vacation. Sometimes it's about grabbing a little me-time and a massage, or maybe a chat by the fireside with a loved one. Sometimes it might need a more radical approach – throw off the familiar and redesign and reinvent our life and work. Sometimes a gentle solution is in order, but sometimes there's nothing gentle about it. In The Three Marriages: Reimagining Work, Self and Relationships, David Whyte challenges the notion of "work-life balance" and the fantasy that there might be a still-point that will allow us to have the perfect ratio of Skype calls to yoga classes, the right amount of carbs and fats, or the perfect anything, really. We aren't perfect; we're human. Yet there does seem to be a space where, as Whyte suggests, we can have all the major elements of our lives nicely lined up in conversation with one another – work, self, relationships. And any good conversation requires a give and take, listening and receiving, silence and speaking. Sometimes we'll have to make personal sacrifices for loved ones. Sometimes we'll have to ask our loved ones to forgive us for taking so much time at work. Sometimes we'll just have to stop the train and start taking care of ourselves. I find the only way I can balance the polarizing forces of groundedness and being overwhelmed is by engaging in practices that help me calibrate, reset, and stay in a healthy conversation with myself. First, I must know what's most important to me. When my clients become disconnected from their beliefs, values, and desires; when they're acting from a place that is wholly outwardly directed, I've seen that it never turns out well for them. In The Desire Map: Creating Goals with Soul, Danielle LaPorte asks us to clarify our Core Desired Feelings: what we want more of in our life, how we want to feel, what we want to experience. She suggests that just beneath every goal (weight-loss, a promotion, a new house) there's a feeling that is core to who you are. When you take action from that place, you feel a satisfaction and contentment about the decisions you're making. So the real job is to get clear on what's genuinely important to you. Second, as suggested by the poem above, start with the first next step. Yes, it sounds cliché, but the old twelve-step sayings, "do the next indicated thing," and "one day at a time" are brilliant in their simplicity. Our overwhelm isn't really about the overflowing inbox or the mountainous task list. It's about the lack of space to move away from what's going on under our feet. When we're fully present, we realize that all we can actually do is the next indicated thing – and take the first step. Just one. DO WHAT YOU CAN DO RIGHT NOW: The next indicated thing Libby Wagner Culture Coach RO Libby Wagner, author of The Influencing Option: The Art of Building a Profit Culture in Business, works with clients to help them create and sustain profit cultures. Start close in, don't take the second step or the third, start with the first thing close in, the step you don't want to take. – from the poem, "Start Close In," by Davide Whyte

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