Photo by Volodymyr Hryshchenko on Unsplash

What I learned from a Covid scare

Don’t worry. I am fine. I don’t have Covid. At the beginning of September, however, I was not sure. I had some but not all of the symptoms – muscle aches, fatigue, cloudy mind. Mid-September I took the PCR test and after 48 hours it confirmed that I did not have the virus. While I was unwell and waiting for my results, I learned a few things.

It Is Not About Me

One of the most stressful things for me during this time was not my concern over my own health. I am in relatively good health and I personally know people who have had the virus and survived. What concerned me most was tracking when I could have possibly contracted it and who I had been in contact with during that time. The fear that I inadvertently hurt others consumed me. It made me hyper aware of how our lives are intermeshed and how even the smallest action on our part can impact others. In the days following my negative results, I had tried to be very present and aware not just of myself but how we as a community interact with each other.

Expectations Versus Reality

I am not good at being ill. I expect to be going 200 mph no matter the circumstances. Even when I didn’t feel well, I expected to be able to function exactly how I normally function. My expectations and the reality of the situation were extremely different. Besides having to stay out of expectations for my abilities, I also had to keep myself from creating fear-based expectations. Any 10-second Google search can bring a plethora of potential, but unlikely, outcomes. Bringing myself back to the moment and what I knew to be a fact kept me out of guilt, shame, and fear.

Know Your Limits

Slowing down is not easy for me. However, it became clear that I was incapable of doing things as I had been able before. Importantly, if I tried to do activities as I had on any normal day, I messed up big time. It took a lot of willpower, but I made myself slow down and do one thing at a time (multi-tasking was out of the question). When I accepted and worked within my limitations, activities went smoother with less mistakes and frustration.

Let Others Know You are Not 100%

Yes mom, I am not good at this one and did not handle this perfectly, but I did better than I have in the past. Throughout the week, I am the resource for job seekers. Certain days it was hard for me to concentrate or to think through appropriate advice. Instead of putting on the veneer of perfection and all-knowingness, I let my candidates know I was not working on all cylinders. Expecting to be attacked for my imperfection, I instead found that my candidates were more than willing to work with me and understand my situation. We worked more as partners than as expert and client. The vulnerability I showed, created more respect and collaboration that a false show of expertise ever could.

Take Care of Yourself

It is quite clear that the Universe is trying to teach me the lesson of taking care of myself. For the past year, I have had a few medical issues, nothing serious, but enough to bring me out of my normal routine. These challenges have forced me to take care of myself. I have been treating my body like an old hand-me-down car, not getting oil changes or washing and waxing the exterior, and it made my body ready for the junk yard. My focus is usually on others but being a martyr and not caring for myself did nothing to help anybody else. Hopefully, I have finally learned that taking care of myself is the first step to helping and loving others.

What has 2020 taught you? How are you beginning to see yourself and those around you differently? What are ways you can take care of yourself and be conscious of how you impact others?

Melissa Heisler

Discipline and Letting Go

Feeling overwhelmed lately?  You are not alone.  Many friends and clients have said they are feeling overwhelmed right now.  I am right there with you too.  This past month if not longer, time seems to be moving faster, opportunities are growing, projects to be completed are increasing, and the flurry of activity seems to be everywhere and growing at light speed.  It has been challenging.  I searched for and tried many different techniques to handle everything on my plate.  What I discovered is the power of two seemingly opposite ideas:  discipline and letting go.

Discipline is the obvious choice for handling chaos.  The more things get out of control, the more one needs to be disciplined in their actions.  This is a time for routine, checklists, scheduling, and time management.  This is a time to be aware of distractions and to recommit one’s focus to what is important.  This is a time to maintain those practices which aid execution and resist the easy bandage quick fixes which actually slow things down.

This is also the time for letting go.  Let go of the idea you need to do it alone.  Let go of the idea that you are solely responsible for the results.  Let go of any emotional investment in the outcome.  Let go of the thought that it has to be hard.  Let go of the attitude that it is too much.  Let go of thinking that once this is all over then you will relax.  Let go of the belief that you have to put your life on hold to take care of the tasks at hand.

Melissa Heisler, Empowerment Coach
Melissa Heisler, Empowerment Coach

Discipline and letting go are both about focus.  To be disciplined one needs to determine what is important and what is not.  Then one needs to let go and release those things that are not important.  Staying focused on what is truly desired provides order and a clear picture of what really needs to be completed.  It is important to judge what is important by what you want to experience.  Don’t choose an outcome as those are always changing and shifting.  Instead choose what is important for you to be and feel.   Stay focused on the larger goal of the effort not the individual tactics.  The individual tactics will always shift but as long as they are still moving you toward your larger goal, all is good.

Discipline and letting go are about listening to your needs.  When things get busy, it is an easy choice to give up those things that are for our wellbeing in exchange for time to accomplish something of value.  Let me be clear.  Taking care of your self is the highest value.  Do not give up lunch for a meeting.  Do not give up your exercise routine to make more time for work.  Do not exchange good healthy food for quick and easy junk food.  Trading what is good for your wellbeing may give you a temporary boost in productivity, but it will not last.  The healthier you are, the more clear and productive you are.  I often quote Gandhi who said, “There is so much to do today.  I must meditate twice as long.”  The better we take care of ourselves, the more we can accomplish. 

Next time you are feeling overwhelmed.  Regain your discipline.  Note your true priorities.  Ensure your daily practices of self care are in place.  Then let go of everything else.  You can only accomplish so much.  Trust you will finish what truly needs to be done by you at this time.  Oh, and don’t forget to breathe.