Not Exactly BAU – Busyness As Usual

We took an extended break over the summer. I’d watched a few of my fellow coaches in TRIPS Tank and beyond do this in recent years and decided that it was something worth aiming for. So at the start of 2023 we began to plan for it. In July, off we went.

When we got back to Dublin 10 days before school reopened, I was craving some routine and ‘hard work’. Funny how ‘hard work’ was something I was drawn to after a summer of declaring to myself that I’d work smarter.

I called myself out on it and mentioned it to a few trusted people. “I feel the need to be busy. I want to work smarter, not harder.” I hoped that would be that….that I had caught myself before falling into an old unproductive pattern.

Unfortunately not….

Something was afoot. I wasn’t feeling myself. I felt unsure about things.

Not without reason, there were circumstances at play. Conversations with some clients revealed that things were changing in Dublin’s corporate world. The ripple effect from the tightening in the tech sector from the previous 6-12 months was hitting professional services and other sectors. Profitability was a concern for some of them. All of this affects small businesses like mine.

But, honestly, I had been expecting things to slow down as it was fairly well sign-posted. We had started to position new products and services 12 months previously at a lower price point available to a wider audience. I was having conversations with new prospects.

How I felt was disproportionate to the reality I was facing.

So what was it?

I felt this ongoing tension. It was like a tug of war between wanting to get busy, work hard and be active versus be patient, think bigger and be accepting of the uncertainty through a period of change.

“The extended break was a mistake”, I’d hear my monkey mind say repeatedly. “You’ve taken your eye off the ball. You got ahead of yourself. You’ve left yourself exposed now, pants down with the tide out”.

Chatting with people I trust, and journaling about my inner dilemma, helped a lot.

I concluded, or framed it, that this was a growth phase. Like a crab seeking shelter after shedding the safety of its shell, I too was in a period of vulnerable openness. I hoped that I’d emerge in stronger armoury, more resilient than ever before.

I’m honestly not sure if that’s true for me or not.

Because the more research I studied, the more I was open to learnings and observations, the more I realised that many people, teams, organisations and societies are feeling this uncertainty too.

In the coming weeks and months I’ll be sharing more about this period we find ourselves living in. I’ll share examples of how it is affecting us all, at home and in work.

For now, a quick pair of questions to reflect upon. Hit reply and let me know what comes up for you.

  • If uncertainty exists and persists for you in some area of work, what is it and how is it impacting you?
  • What’s within your control or influence that could help you handle it better?

How we sell, interact, structure our companies, lead, collaborate and more is all changing because the environment we’re living and working in is demanding change.

“The environment has always been changing” I hear you cry. True, but not with the same intensity, speed or far-reaching impact.

The sand is shifting beneath our feet/claws when we don’t even have any shells on our back. We’re vulnerable. We’re saying farewell to our old identities and forging ones that are fit for purpose today, and hopefully beyond.

For me that old identity was working hard with absolute conviction in my approach. The new one is less well defined, but it is taking shape. I won’t be dossing! But I aim to be more connected with myself and others.

Not exactly Busyness As Usual. 😉