I am sure many of you can only imagine how my breast cancer has permeated my life. And, many of you know only too well based on your own cancer experiences.
For me, the doctor’s call at 10 p.m. bearing the “verdict” changed my life forever. The world stopped, my heart stopped, I clutched my husband’s arm and squeezed. Adrenaline rushed through my body and blind panic overcame me.
Over the weeks, I have settled into my new identity. I have gained strength both physically and mentally and have had much reflection time. I don’t want to diminish the horror, but along with my diagnosis, I have received unprecedented gifts. I have received compassion, advice, the ability to help others and the opportunity to reflect.
But in reading a recent article by Peter Bregman, I can see that there is a whole new way to look at my situation. I have condensed Peter’s blog below, and I think you’ll agree that he says it all.
An “unplug-and-stop-everything-for-a-minute” strategy might be a pretty good solution for whenever things aren’t working in life.
That point was reinforced for me in a recent cell phone call I had with Eleanor, my wife, while she was traveling. We were having a difficult conversation and each of us had the feeling that the other one wasn’t listening. Then the call was dropped. We tried calling each other back but only got voicemail. So we sat there for a minute, each of us in our respective places.
When we eventually connected again, the tone of the conversation changed radically. We were softer with each other. More attentive. More forgiving and loving. Better at listening and rephrasing what we heard the other one saying. I never thought I’d say this but, for once, I was happy that my cellular network is unreliable. It gave us both a minute to breathe and get some perspective.
Unplugging and waiting for a minute is an unexpected strategy because it appears passive. You aren’t actively developing new strategies, arguments, or viewpoints. In fact, you aren’t actively doing anything.
When you unplug and wait for a minute, you restore yourself to your factory default settings, which for most of us tends to be generous, open-hearted, creative, connected, and hopeful. That makes us more likely to be effective when we plug back in.
In a meeting that’s going nowhere? Take a break. Making no headway on that proposal you need to write? Stand up and take a walk. Fighting with your kids? Give yourself a time-out. Unplug for a minute and breathe.
I have been given an opportunity to reset – to pause, evaluate and choose the manner in which I would like to emerge. I can shed the pieces of my lifestyle that we, as women business leaders, move into; rushing, harrowed, no time for ourselves. I recommend trying Peter’s suggestions whenever you feel overwhelmed.