I write these words towards the midpoint of another year. A year that was supposed to be easier than the previous one. It is not. It is hard, and the challenges may be different, but they are still present.
I have noticed a shared fatigue setting in with our team. Burnout is real. People are often on edge. I think this is because we were not created for sustained long-term stress. In short, nothing about life is easier today than it was a year and a half ago. So, the tread on the tires is showing.
I see the tread when I look into the mirror. My face looks tired. I am aging. Of course, I am always aging. But, I am in the express lane right now.
Last week I had a good talk with my doctor. It was just a check-in. They asked about my experience during this whole deal, and talking about it was almost out-of-body. There has been a couple deaths, a hospital stay for me, and various business challenges. And that only takes the story up to last October!
The doctor looked at me and said two things worth sharing. First, he said that the mental toll of this ordeal is far greater than anyone presently realizes. Second, in this doctor’s opinion, we are collectively experiencing “post traumatic stress disorder.”
I have to be honest with you. I have yet to take full stock of this reality. Last year, I gave myself a lot more grace and despite the hard challenges mentioned, was better for it. This year, on the other hand, I have gone back to being hard on myself. The result? I am more tired, anxious, and stressed, than I care to admit. I share this because many of the subscribers to this blog are similar to me in being “Type-A” driven leaders.
Together, we need to give ourselves some grace.
Ponder that for a minute.
Let this sink in:
Give yourself some grace.
And here is the personal realization that led to me writing this post. It is a truth that you and I need to own in order to move forward in 2021.
The most important muscle right now is our “showing up muscle.” Regardless of how hard things are, we need to keep showing up. People like us show up for people. People like us show up to love those people. People like us dust ourselves off when we fall down. We even put a band-aid on the scrapes and cuts. But, we keep showing up. Day after day, we keep showing up. When we are sad, we show up. When we are anxious, we show up. When we are joyous, we show up. We just show up.
This is what counts these days. In twenty years, we won’t remember all the intricacies of 2020 and 2021. But, we will remember whether we showed up. So will those who follow us.
So, go easy on yourself. Simplify your expectations for what can, and even needs, to get done this year. But, above all else, keep showing up.
It is the most important muscle to flex in 2021.