I recently saw a client I’ll call Anne, who was stressed from overworking—a very common issue these days. She had made the decision to quit her job within a year and wanted to discuss options that would allow for better balance in her life in her next position.
After exploring the issue more in depth, it became clear that Anne was not really in a place to imagine possibilities. She was depleted and not feeling very expansive in her thinking. Anne admitted that the options that came to mind would put her back in the same pattern of overwork.
While her job was hard to manage, she had developed a pattern of saying yes to practically any request that came her way, causing her to feel resentful and tired.
In spite of having accumulated several weeks of vacation, Anne’s work had taken over her life and she had not even thought about time to renew and regroup.
Rather than explore her next work options, we discussed taking time—three consecutive weeks in fact, to renew her spirit and get some much needed R&R.
The other strategy we discussed had to do with how she responded to requests. Her habit of saying yes came from a place of wanting to be of service and needed, but was getting in the way of her experiencing down time or evaluating the way she was spending her time at work.
Anne agreed to experiment with “finding a pause button”. When a request came in, she would, whenever possible, get the information she needed and tell the person she’d get back to them the following day. She would sleep on it and “be with” the request. She would allow some feedback to bubble up from the inside out and let that influence her ultimate decision of how to respond.
I’m confident that shifting the “yes” pattern and taking time to rest and renew will both support Anne’s desire to find new work and a different way of working.