What follows is my interpretation of material shared by Ken Blanchard at the Servant Leadership Conference in Coronado, CA on March 9, 2015. This is his work, not my own. Any dilution of its impact or misinterpretation of its meaning can only be attributed to me!
If you are depleted, exhausted, frustrated, angry or overwhelmed – or perhaps a bit of all of those – it’s likely that you are feeling and acting out of control. Perhaps only slightly, but enough so that you find yourself out of rhythm. In an effort to restore your equilibrium – no one wants to be out of control – you may be employing some unhealthy adaptations, likely small adjustments that have become incrementally more present and therefore harder to notice for what they truly represent.
Think about your lifestyle and behaviors over the last 30 days. Do any of these apply to you?
Are you skimming? You are in the room but you aren’t really present. You are distracted and disengaged from the people who most need your sincere focus and attention, your spouse, children and friends. You are going through the motions, not really tasting or enjoying your food, not really committed to that book you are reading, distracted during exercise or whatever form of restorative practice you rely on. You avoid the deeper dive and commitment of energy required for presence because you are reserving it to fight the battle of insecurity or anxiety.
Are you overindulging? You escape into alcohol, food, television or social media. You over promise, stretching yourself too thin. You avoid confronting the real issues you need to face by losing yourself in things that provide temporary feelings of relief instead of relief itself. You take the edge off, and then a little bit more even though more is never enough.
Are you blaming others for your situation? You look to anyone or anything else as the cause of the difficulty you are facing. You avoid responsibility because it stings too much. You neglect to hold tough conversations about what’s really going on for fear that all fingers will be pointed at you. You make life tough for your team because if you have to suffer they are going to suffer too.
If any of this is true for you – and if we’re honest it’s true for all of us in some way – it is easy to fall into the trap of self-judgment and good/bad thinking. We have to forgive ourselves for the understandable if unconscious use of these maladaptive practices. Having done so, we can more objectively look at the pattern we are in and get ourselves back to the opportunity that is always available to us: to choose our response to whatever circumstances we face.