How do you work when life gets in the way? I mean, what happens if you spend the night at the ER and end up sitting by someone’s beside holding their hand? Or you just lost Grandpa, mom called and said Dad’s sick, the storm cut out all the power and the flood waters are rising. Name your disaster, we all have ‘em large and small.

Life happens and it happens with alarming frequency. There are deaths, births, marriages, divorces, illnesses and disasters galore. Yet, we still get up every day and do what needs to be done.

The question still is; how do you work when life gets in the way? When you are stumbling tired and can’t see enough to get the coffee started and going back to bed is the best option but; work, clients, jobs that need to be done. Plus, that disaster going on.

You do it. You dig deep and do it. You juggle, if you can. You shift, if possible. You reschedule, if they will. But really, you just do it. 

That is the easy part of all of it though. The worst part is the emotional and psychological beat down we throw at ourselves for not being Superwoman! We “should” ourselves to death. Did you know should is a four letter word? Let me show you… should, shoud, shud. In my opinion, it is the ugliest four letter word there is. 

Shud have been home, shud call, shud go, shud stay, shud help, shud have been there, shudn’t worry so much about my own problems because they’re not as bad, shud do something…

What do we do to stop this shud going on in our heads? Let it run its course first off. Write it out, scream it out, cry it out but get it OUT! You will never be able to think straight or make the best decisions for anyone involved, least of all you, with all that shudding going on in your head. Be honest, be selfish, be afraid, be present for all of your feelings. They deserve to be honored by you.

Step Two! When you have taken your feelings out of the equation (as much as you can for the moment), it is time to look at what you can do and what you can’t. Because you seriously can’t do everything so you have to make real decisions about what you can or can’t do. Write it out if need be. Look at the consequences of each up or down choice. Look at it with an eye on you first. What will this choice do for you? Emotionally, financially, physically and every other ally there is. Be honest and make the choice based on need and you. 

For the final part, you know what you can or can’t and will or won’t do. You know what is best for you and what will hurt you. You have made your decision. Do it and let go of beating yourself up for not doing enough (if you are go back to step 2) or for doing too much (if you are go back to step 2).

Stand by your call and move forward boldly. If you are looking back and wondering what if, you have made the wrong call and go back to step 2 and do it again. If you can’t stand in your decision comfortably, you have not made the right one for you at that moment. You may need to exorcise some more demons or go back to step 2. 

When my step-mother was in the hospital from a fall, my father told me not to come. He said the doctors said she was going to be ok, she would recover and we would move on with the cancer killing plan already in place. Both of my brothers went, I didn’t go. She died 4 days later. Did I make the right call? Only I can know that, it wasn’t for anyone else to make that call. Just me. I continued to work but eventually realized I needed time to regroup. My clients were very understanding and kind and we got things going again a couple of weeks later. 

I was lucky, I had a great coach who helped me sort out my feelings and how I wanted to remember that time and deal with it in a healthy way. I learned a good lesson though, deal with it first and avoid the beat down on yourself later. Who knows if I would have made the same decision if I had used the process above. What I do know is that I wouldn’t have spent the time later beating myself up for not doing what I perceived as the “right” thing to do. 

Do what you need to do for you, then decide what you can do for everyone else.

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