Lately, there’s been an incessant drumming inside my head as if a burly slave driver were pounding away to get me work harder.
ba DUM! ba DUM! ba DUM!
Call your clients! ba DUM!
Fix your website! ba DUM!
Send that email! ba DUM!
If I were prone to having migraines, I’m sure I’d have a doozy by now.
This busyness has me feeling burned out and turning inward. I’m not trying to do my usual amazing work. I’m just trying to get through the days. And just forget about taking time for self-care or relaxation.
With Molly on maternity leave, I’m feeling more pressure to keep chugging along on my own despite the fact that she gave us a stack of summer reading books and my Elevate Mastermind sisters are active in the Facebook group.
But try as I might, I still feel like I’m trudging through a waist-high river of mud.
My work-life slump reminds me of a fabulous little book The Dip by Seth Godin. He explains that our lives are like bell curves. They rise up to a certain level of happiness and ease, and then zoom back down again into a pit of despair and struggle.
That low point is called the dip, and it will leave you wondering “Where’d my mojo go-go?”
What people don’t realize is that there’s another curve upward just beyond the dip. The levels of our lives go up and down like waves on the ocean. The dip is not the end. It will go back up again, but loads of people quit during the dip.
Intellectually, I know my current low point is just a normal dip, but the trick is to find the strength to keep going so I can reach that lovely upward curve that’s just beyond my reach.
Here’s what I’m doing to get out of the dip. ba DUM!
Dips in your work and life are good at isolating you from the people who could help you get through it unscathed. As sad as it sounds, I felt too busy and stressed out to spend time talking with my Elevate sisters on Facebook or Google Hangouts.
It’s hard being a business owner when it seems like the people around you don’t truly understand the struggles of an entrepreneur.
So I finally got over myself and reconnected with one of the Elevate ladies. In fact, I sent her a blubbering, rambling message that had “crazy pants” written all over it. (Sorry, Leigh!) But the response I got back was filled with love and compassion…something I haven’t been giving myself lately.
I also asked another entrepreneur friend to be my business accountability partner. Once a week we talk about our successes, challenges, and how we can support each other. It makes the dip seem less deep and scary.
A great way to climb out of a dip is to make some boundaries in your life. Think of boundaries like the fence surrounding a dog park. A cute doggie can run around and be free from his leash while safely inside the park.
Within your own boundaries you can be free.
I was noticing that my business hours were spilling into my family and personal time. It felt like I always had to be working, whether it was 7:00 in the morning or 10:00 at night. So I recommitted to taking the weekends off and stepping away from my laptop as soon as my husband got home from work.
Batch scheduling also helps me define my boundaries. By grouping similar tasks together (such as answering my emails at once or running all my errands on a single day), I save time and my sanity.
I recently attended a retreat for entrepreneurs, and the host said something intriguing, “Where there’s stress, there’s a lack of a standard.” Since my life can get pretty stressful, I had to find a way to create my own standards!
One of the first things I did was take the time to dress up every morning, including fixing my hair and makeup. No more yoga pants for me!
When I act like someone who gives a damn, I attract more positive energy to me. And positivity is a lifeline to pull yourself out of a dip.
I also took a leap and raised the prices for my one-on-one coaching packages. I didn’t want to stay in the dip, so I needed to take command of my time. By raising my prices, I’m making more money yet have fewer clients. It’s been liberating to hold myself and my work to a higher standard.
The Beat of Life
Getting lost in a long slump or dip feels exhausting. But you know what else has a dip? A heartbeat.
Think of that swiggly line on an electrocardiogram. It does up and down, up and down, with the beat of your heart. The dip is not the end—it’s life.
Here’s an exercise I do to center myself when the dip is getting the best of me.
Put your hand on your heart. As long as your heart is still beating, you’ll make it through the dip. Promise.
The dip of your heartbeat is steady and constant and reassuring. And it always goes back up.
Can you feel it?
ba dum…ba dum…ba dum…
WITH LOVE FROM
Sage, Life Editor, Wife, 2014 Elevate Sister
Sage Grayson is a professional Life Editor who helps ambitious career women edit their habits, routines, and mindsets to balance their happiness at work and home. On lazy Sundays you can find her reading her more than 30 magazine subscriptions and enjoying cups of jasmine green tea. She lives in the suburbs of San Francisco with her husband Chris and pit bull Skyla. You can find Sage at SageGrayson.com, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube.