“I just have so much to do, I just keep spinning!”
That was from one of my clients during a coaching call last week. It’s not the first time one of my clients has said this. You may even have said it yourself.
One of the causes of that feeling of things spinning out of control is that you start something and get distracted. I know I’ve heard the siren song of Facebook many times myself (can you hear it?).
It’s particularly an issue when you feel a bump. Suddenly the thing that was just humming along starts to feel uncomfortable. You’re not sure what to do next. Or you know what to do, and dang, it’s scary! All at once, scrubbing grout on the bathroom floor with a toothbrush looks mighty appealing.
It’s OK. We all get distracted. It’s what you do then that matters.
Do you let your momentum drain away? Do you say to yourself, “I’ll get back to it later, when I feel better about it”? Or worse, “it just wasn’t meant to be if it’s that hard.” Ouch.
Friends, some stuff is hard. It just is. And still, so worthwhile.
That doesn’t mean that you have to be hard on yourself.
What is does mean is that you have to be persistent. Gently.
Getting interrupted or distracted is likely, and not always preventable. Getting waylaid is up to you. So what do you do when distractions occur?
First, commit. Are you willing to keep returning to what you have decided you want to do? Are you willing to commit to it?
Second, are you able to return to it? Are you willing to exercise the discipline you need to finish it?
Third: if you are, then keep returning. Every time you get interrupted, return to it. Every time you get distracted, return.
Really, it’s not that complicated. But oh so hard to do sometimes!
Doing the returning in a gentle way is so helpful. You don’t have to use aggression, harshness, or doubt to push you. You don’t even have to use speed, that rushing energy we’re all too familiar with.
Instead, let yourself be pulled instead by your commitment, by your potential impact.
Instead, gently lead yourself back to it.
To help me with this, I use a visual of a kind and benevolent figure who escorts me back to my chair and then gives me a kiss on the head. I’ve even given her a name: Madeleine HeartStrong. She’s my internal benefactor. Hey, it works for me! You can create your own figure or process to gently help you return to your work.
Be gentle with yourself. It’s so much less wearing. Your energy can be used elsewhere to a much better effect.
If what you’re doing is worthwhile, if it’s important for the impact you want to have, then it’s worth returning to it. It’s worth persisting. Just be gentle about it, OK?