Stuck in a Maze? How to Get Out with Ease!

Every high-achieving leader with big visions of where she/he wants to take their business, team and organization is very familiar with burnout and overwhelm.

  • Sure overwhelm can come from too much to do... massive workloads, lots of responsibility and people to watch over as well as your own responsibilities.
  • But overwhelm can also come from good things like... getting married, moving houses/cities, starting a business, creating something new, meeting new people, etc.

 

I'm totally familiar with both! At many times of my life!

Because as a high-achiever whose super passionate about many things, I often take on more than other people would think is a good idea.

Yup, I'm the gal that started an MBA while working full time, teaching a weekly meditation class while running a skin-care business and planning a wedding... but that wasn't enough! I also decided to bring my coaching business online and became a director on a non-profit board too!

And my stubborn side and high-achiever self (internally) sticks out my tongue at them and says "watch me!"

You may be similar... lots on the go and loving it!

Or struggling.

Either way, today we're going to cover a strategy that I've used any time either myself or my clients or team gets overwhelmed.

The same goes for burnout... it's basically the same thing but that has likely gone on for a long time so your energy tanks are empty.

I ended up pulling back on a couple of the activities to somewhat focus my energy on the highest priorities but I still kept a lot on my plate compared to what many people would do. 

Today, we'll cover one of the tricks that helped make this all happen with minimal stress (most of the time!)




Here's a sneek peek... the secret of this article is taking time to pull back and think strategically.

  • To envision your future.
  • To look at the BIG picture.
  • To look ahead to the short term and long term.
  • To pause, breathe and realign.

There are so many little things that keep us distracted in our leadership and business roles. Emails, phone calls, texts, office interruptions, meetings after meetings after meetings, reports, deadlines, employee issues, performance reports to write, information to gather, people to lead, mentor and inspire.

Then there are all the business things to think about: finance, human resources, operations, marketing, communications, and the list goes on as far as you'd like to take it.

As a leader, whether you are a new leader with a small team or a senior leader or executive with a massive team and organization spread across multiple locations, cities, countries and languages!

 

The problem is...

With your head down doing the work, attending the meetings and reading, analyzing, deciding, planning, delegating, and all that...

  • We forget to lead.
  • We forget to look up and watch where we're going.
  • We forget to check in and see if we're on track.
  • Or if we've ended up going the wrong way.

 

But when you set a regular time each week and month and year for bigger planning & strategy, you reconnect with your big visions. You realign to your true purpose. You get reinspired and energized about where you're going.

This is where the energy and vision comes from to share that with those you lead!

Switching gears will help you be a rockstar at both levels. Both with the big picture/strategic as well as the detailed/trans-actional.

 

The Maze Story...

There's a neat zen story about someone being stuck in a maze.

You can imagine it as one of those ones out in a field somewhere with big bushy green hedges making up the walls of the maze.

And it all looks the same, everywhere you look. You go down one green hallway but end up at a dead end. You turn back and go a different direction and still you're not making progress, it feels like all you're doing is going in circles.

But someone from somewhere whispers through the hedge...

 

"Just stand up."

 

"What?" you say... And you look down.

And you realize that you've been crawling around on your knees and hands this whole time!

You were so focused on getting out of the maze, you didn't realize that it was only knee-high!

So you stand up and it turns out that you can see over the tops of the hedge walls.

You can see the openings of the maze and the dead ends.

You can see the center and the exit.

 

Now the way has become clear.

 

So you easily walk through the maze, turning and walking without any backtracking because you can see the path clearly.

And you exit the maze, calm, collected and slightly shaking your head... if only you'd realized sooner that all you had to do was STAND UP!


What about you???

So using this maze story as an example, how often do you "stand up" in your work and leadership role?

  • Do you do some planning every year or quarter but then forget about it till the next planning session?
  • Or do you check in regularly and "stand up" to see where you're going and if you're on the right path?

I've shared this tip with a few leaders over the years and they've all shared how much of a difference it made with their workloads and keeping their teams productivity high.

I shared this tip with one of my clients who was a senior leader in the military and he had been posted into a super high-tempo job where there was tons of travel and an operational unit. Plus, he was a high-achiever who was also doing a second Masters degree, plus had a young family at the same time!

He shared in confidence that he was struggling with keeping track of everything and keeping up with it all...

So I shared my story about the maze to help him get perspective. 

About a year later, after he'd completed his studies, he shared that just this one mindset shift changed things completely!

Turns out he found he had waaay less stress in his masters program than his first one even though he had even more on his plate. Plus, he found it so much easier to deal with the day-to-day issues with his leadership position and personnel management. And he ended up being the top of his class! 

I was super stoked about hearing how much of a difference this mindset shift had for him... because it did the same for me too! 

If you ever feel overwhelmed, stretched to take care of and manage all the things in your work and personal life, this ONE SHIFT will make a massive difference! 

 

How to apply the Knee-High Maze Concept in your Work & Life:

And so today, I'd like to share some tips and tools for you to be able to switch gears frequently to ensure you stay on track, aligned, clear and inspired!

  • Tip #1: Remember to Switch Gears
  • Tip #2: Set a regular Strategy Date
  • Tip #3: Create smaller pieces of the strategic "map" to take back into the maze by creating Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and Goals
  • Tip #4: Integrate your goals/vision into a daily/weekly practice
  • Tip #5: Get someone to be there to remind you when you forget

To use these 5 tips on a regular basis, I've created a planner that you can use every month and week to keep you focused on the big picture.

The EMPOWERED LEADER Monthly Planner Kit

It includes a combination of big picture project and trans-actional action list.

It has a monthly planner and a weekly one.

Use this tool and the e-course to help you get and stay on track. 

  • Stay inspired.
  • Stay focused.
  • Stay clear on where you are & where you're going.

 

It's something I've used and developed over years as a simple, yet super powerful tool to help me reflect and tune into my EMPOWERED LEADER self.

So that I can then bring that powerful vision and clarity back into my work, my leadership and business.

And for you, I've pulled it all together into a handy PDF that you can download and re-use again and again.

You can download it here:

 

And for those of you who'd like to create a similar shift in your leadership role and life, I'd love to support you with an introductory Intensive Coaching session... you can check out the program info here!

 

Celebrating your continuous expansion!

Sarah Francescutti

 

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