Now You See It, Now You Don't

The past two weeks have been a great reminder about why coaching is such an important part of my life. There are some things that you cannot see when your brain is in the way. I spent most of my holiday in my toddler-brain allowing it to run around completely unsupervised.

I ate all the things, messed up my sleep schedule, didn’t work out, felt vague dissatisfaction with everything, and mild irritation with everyone. I didn’t like the book I was reading but kept reading it. I rarely watch tv, but committed to watching a show that I wasn’t interested in with my daughter. I let the dogs out in the yard but didn’t walk them. I went to bed early and stayed in bed late, simply because I didn’t have anything I was looking forward to each day.

So why? I did some self-coaching and decided that I wasn’t very good a resting and that I didn’t enjoy slowing down and being still. My brain told me repeatedly that I just don’t like to relax and do nothing. I get my energy and sense of well being from accomplishing things. I am at my best when I am working and producing. However, I was in an argument with myself because I every book you read or podcast you listen to talks about how important it is to rest and give yourself a break. That sounded right, but my experience wasn’t backing it up.

Then I had a session with my coach. I started in on how I was feeling and my complaints about how my holiday was turning out, and my resistance to relaxation. She asked me several questions, and how I started my story was, “See, I am supposed to be in the Virgin Islands right now….” Being an excellent coach, she asked, “Are you really supposed to be somewhere else?” That’s the thing about coaching. I had made zero connection between my canceled trip and my current state of my unsatisfying staycation. Why? Because if my brain is focused on reconciling the reality I think I “should” be having with the reality I am experiencing, it can’t do it. That’s when all sorts of things go off the rails.

My family had scheduled a trip to the British Virgin Islands for most of the school break. We planned to leave on December 23 and return on January 4. My parents had loving planned this very special trip and my entire extended family was excited and ready to go. This was going to be our big finale to close out 2020 and welcome 2021. As the trip approached and the Co-Vid numbers worsened, my parents started getting phone calls from the different travel vendors canceling more aspects of the trip. Ultimately, it wasn’t worth the risk of travel and we rescheduled the trip to the summer.

At the time, I didn’t spend a lot of mental energy on the canceled trip. I had hired several new employees and was in the throes of training and organizing the upcoming tax season as well as finishing out the year for the financial planning department and coaching. I registered we weren’t going and left it at that.

I made a loose plan that I would still take some time off over the school break. I thought about which days I would work, but I never fully committed to a real plan. I also never sat down with my husband and kids and discussed what would constitute a good holiday.

So, I never shopped for and bought books I was excited to read. I didn’t make a food plan for things I really wanted balanced with things that would keep my energetic and feeling my best. I fell out of my exercise routine because I was getting up so late, it didn’t seem worthwhile. (Yes, I know that doesn’t even make sense, but it sounded perfectly logical in my head.) I focused on getting through the tv series with my daughter instead of suggesting something we might both enjoy and connect through.

With that one question from my coach, it was so obvious. I never mentally replaced the trip I was “supposed” to have with things I really wanted to do. And I never would have made the connection without my coach pointing it out to me. I had done the thought work part of my morning routine every day of my holiday. I simply never saw the connection that allowed me to get unstuck.

Our minds do this all the time. Our brain puts forth statements that seem so true to us, but they are just thoughts that we get to choose. No matter how good we get at thought work, there are always things we can’t see. When the mirror is held up by someone trained to see it, everything falls into place and the connections become clear. All of sudden, we know how to solve the problem we couldn’t even see.

So, I have 3 days left of my staycation. I have figured out the things that I really want to do and I started doing them last night, immediately following my coaching session. I took a long bath and lit the candles. I could see the fireworks out my bedroom window ushering in the new year. I was present and content for the first time in days. Guess what? I was completely relaxed and at ease. Turns out I can do “rest” well. And the next three days will be fabulous.

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