It’s OK to Freak Out [A Stream of Consciousness Post]

People are strange. Yes a Doors song. An excellent Doors song. But also, people, US people, WE people, are more often than not flat-out strange. Personally and professionally. Oddly I feel less strange these days as there are more leaders around ‘like me’. And I don’t mean gender. Because there aren’t more of that apparently there’s less but that’s another post and an upcoming presentation. I mean the big picture thinkers that sometimes get so focused on how everything ties together that we lose our minds a little bit. Like we need to be zapped just once but strongly because the ‘big’ keeps getting exponentially bigger and you eventually need to reel it in especially if you’re fettered by, like, you know, a job with expectations… (insert winkey face emoji)

Why do I need to reel myself in? Because sometimes I feel like, although all the buzz words match my style, the only style of work-slash-leadership I know, sometimes I feel like I’m expected to wrap things up in a neat little old-school bow. And I’m just not wired to do that. But not unlike many things we have to do, as a professional that needs to deliver, it’s not uncommon for me to need to stop, reflect, and wrap a couple of old-school packages with a couple garishly embellished old-school bows to move forward. I know my strengths and I know my weaknesses. Thankfully I can deliver on both but man the details can sometimes be a drag.

It’s been a month of escalating to my current ‘zap’. I’ve zapped. I’m good now. I have some clarity on how to wrap my packages and deliver them. Wrap wrap wrap. But this go-round I realized something fairly jarring for me after speaking with a co-worker.

He came to me with similar-not-same frustrations. -ish. Regardless I related. And we chatted. And thankfully almost solved all the world problems. Then I spoke with one of my very favorite peers and he and I mutually admire each others’ talents and realized – we need to each play to our strengths and then all limits would disappear. But then I realized something really pivotal. Not just reminding myself of the standard ‘ebb and flow’ pattern of work that makes us crazies deal with work. But this:

Be thankful for the freak-out moments where you obsess, toil and lose sleep. Be thankful for those times of reflective self-doubt and imposter-syndrome-esque inner monologues. Why? Why would anyone be thankful for those trying times? Because if you have the luxury of these thoughts and fears you know – THIS IS NOT A CRISIS.

I remind myself I’ve been through a crisis. Recently even. My response? Total auto-pilot. No time or energy to think about the what if’s and what’s next. You just blindly move forward on instinct. THAT, for me, is a crisis response for a crisis.

So if I’m not doing that, if I’m thinking, feeling, reeling… At the end of the day, work is work. For me there is meaning, I support the mission, I connect deeply with everything I do. Such is life for an emotionally connected, big picture thinker. Knowing that I have the privilege to toil and what-not? It’s a privilege really. As a creative person I’ll likely never fully shed the cyclical frenzies, but maybe if I play my cards right I can learn a way to use those times to my advantage.

There I go again. Not just accepting a truth. Innately turning a truth into a challenge… Happy Sunday!

Quick disclaimer: My stream of consciousness posts are exactly that, free-flowing thoughts. I’m certain there are discrepancies, inaccuracies and hyperbole. I know this. Just unpacking. Feel free to comment on the inconsistency.

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