I don’t know if I am the only one…however there are times were I have a cycle of being on the defense. What do I mean by defense? It is a cycle that comes around where internally as a woman you are so tired and mentally drained that you become…a little lost, demotivated, questioning purpose, questioning what makes you thrive, questioning if you are enough, trying to find what will keep you going to achieve all that you have dreamed and planned. You are constantly reacting to situations in a defense mechanism, when in normal conditions you would have already executed the situation or task, 10 steps ago.
Externally, when you are on “defense” mode…as a woman you know you have to maintain the same level of performance because so many depend on you 24-7. You cant fail them, you cant let them see you lacking confidence or motivation. You have to maintain that level of certainty and security. You have to still demonstrate that you can achieve, not coast or fail. You have to maintain being on your “game” at home and work because if you don’t push through, you will live with guilt and disappointment of underperforming at work, and letting your family down at home.
When I get to in the cycle of “defense” the cause could be from several things:
1. I have entirely too much on my plate. However, as a person who thrives on doing a lot, my perception of too much is never really understood until its too late.
2. I am off my routine, and instead of having the room to anticipate 10 steps ahead of everyone, I find myself just trying to get through another unfamiliar day.
3. I have not carved out frequent amounts of time to really have down time to build up myself spiritually, mentally and physically.
4. Most importantly, I have not spent the time with who (husband, kids, family, and friends) and what (things and places that bring me joy and peace)…my “WHY” on why I try to achieve so much in the first place.
I do believe sometimes we are given subliminal messages. You read something when you’re meditating in the morning. You hear something on the radio or podcast. You see something on social media. You read something in a book or article. Lately, in articles, books, radio, podcast, and from other women. I am hearing messages of the “defense” cycle . I hear women who are going through or who have gone through this cycle, and there are some common themes…
- We have not taken care of ourselves enough, where we burn out and we are no use for anyone else. (Which could be a main cause of Heart Disease our #1 killer)
- We live with a lot of guilt from sacrificing many precious moments with our “why” and we justify sacrificing for career advancement to bring more to our “why”.
- We loose sight and focus of what really matters in the end.
It’s February, and its still the beginning of the year , and we have time to shift that internal paradigm. What has worked for me to get out of the “defense” mode:
- Prayer…for strength, guidance and focus.
- Spending time with my husband, kids, family and friends and love on them as much as they will allow.
- Force myself to take time out to do absolutely nothing and not feel guilty about it.
- Do some cardio, or some form of movement to get my heart pumping and blood flowing.
- Go on a vacation (disclaimer: My definition of vacation is when you can focus on being a selfish adult, and you are not responsible for anyones safety or well being. So more than likely my work phone does not work where I am, and I am in no kid zone, or the kids are in all day activities that you don’t see them until dinner and everyone is happy).
- Seek inspiration through others…
I am a self proclaimed nerd, and ever since one of my mentors pointed me in the direction of TED talks here, that is my first stop (after meditating) for inspiration. I cannot justify paying an obscene amount of money to go to a TED conference, not to mention you have to apply and be accepted to go…So I settled on paying for a movie ticket of there first live stream of the opening session of the conference…
There was an adorable 10 year old girl who opened the session with many accomplishments at a young age. There were also brilliant minds of scientist who are studying the human genomes for medical advancement, and the folks from google moonshot that strive for failure (exceptional concept, opposite of what we normally do) in order to create amazing things (like the self driving car). What really left an impression and inspiration was the talk from Shonda Rhimes. Ms. Rhimes referred to herself as a Titan, and externally she is. She is responsible for over 70 hours of television a week, and the mechanics to accomplish that behind the scenes for us to enjoy is huge. However, Ms. Rhimes is a mom, a family member and friend. Like her, and so many other women, she has experienced what I have aforementioned, and for her she had a year of YES Book Here, that made her a better mom and it saved her career. She had to find what was really important, and shift what motivated her to continue to be the Titan that she is.
It was that talk, that was my final subliminal message to slow down, stop the “defense” cycle. You have to commit and execute to what is important. I still love thriving and achieving in my profession, but I can’t let it trump my family (my why), and me.
- Always take care of yourself first spiritually, mentally, and physically. If we don’t we wont be able to take care or serve others. We wont be equipped to achieve and thrive in what we are aspiring to do.
- Spend the most time on your “why”. They will love you no matter what cycle you are in. Time is what is important to them not things.
- Carve out the time for a joyful experience or restful vacation.
- Jim Rohn, once said to continue develop yourself, no one can take that away from you.
What are your go to activities or inspiration for getting out of your “defense” cycle?