The Energizer

Resilient Insights for Work & Life

Seasonal Stress Stretches Resiliency

by Eileen McDargh, Chief Energy Officer - Tuesday, January 28, 2014
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Maybe it was the hot water pipe that burst in the foundation that started the meltdown.  Even as I write this, the wood floor in the kitchen, dining room and den is being splintered and thrown into the jaws of a construction bin.  The walls and ceiling have huge holes in them and a HAZMAT team came searching for mold. The living room is an obstacle course from the pantry and closets. The refrigerator is in the garage and latest date for completion “might” be Dec. 23. OK, so the first Christmas was in a stable.

But the holy family wasn’t expecting families from Boston, Oregon, and Los Angeles who would seek a bed as well as food. Maybe it was compounded by my laser printer dying and discovering, after I bought a replacement, that not all printers will work well with a MAC.

The anxiety level ratcheted upward when my I-phone then died and I discovered someone had hacked my user ID and password.  An hour’s worth of AppleCare finally fixed the problem but not before I found myself crying to the technician. Of course, I had already screamed at the switchboard for Hospice of the West because I needed help with my Mom. (Little did I know a nurse had come in the back door while I was waiting at the front door. I had to call back and apologize.) Few presents have been bought, ornaments remain in the garage eves, and I am definitely not a “jolly old soul”. Bet you have been there too! Time for me to take a dose of my own medicine.

Here’s the prescription I am taking: Give up the illusion of control. My “illusion” is that I can make it all better. I cannot. So the question becomes: of what of this can I control? I can move household items into boxes. I can clean other rooms of my house. I can learn how to eat with chopsticks. I can slow down before I pounce. I can relish whatever time I have with Mom and focus on the moment.

Ask for help. My neighbor has volunteered her home that will be empty over Christmas. My MAC buddies can give me advice about printers. (Duh-I should have asked them first. No, I “pounced”.) I will ask my relatives to wash their own dishes. Reframe the situation. As my husband says, “this will be an adventure.” He’s right. Who knows what lurks around the bend?  Why not ask what wonderful surprises there might be? Maybe we can make a game of “who can find the can of soup?”

Help someone else. When Mom is in a state that I can’t get her in a wheelchair to hear the music she loves, I will join the other residents and lead them in song. I did this and felt a wonderful peace in the process. It is about “doing what you can do”. I loved it. And from the looks on faces, they loved it to.

Be grateful. How can I forget this!  I have a roof over my head. I have an insurance policy. I have neighbors. I have a good place for Mom. I have loving caregivers. I have glorious family and friends. And yes, I can still sing. My hope for this season—amid the chaos—is that I might find it WONDER-FILLED and resilient in the end.

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Eileen McDargh Keynote Speaker Blog Author

About Eileen!

Since beginning her consulting and training practice in 1980, Eileen has become noted for her ability to speak the truth with clarity, wisdom, humor and compassion. Long-standing clients and repeat engagements attest to her commitment to make a difference in minds, hearts and spirits of organizations and individuals. She draws upon practical business know-how, life's experiences and years of consulting to major national and international organizations that have ranged from global pharmaceuticals to the US Armed Forces, from health care associations to religious institutions. Executive Excellence magazine selected her as one of the top 100 thought leaders in leadership and among the top ten consultant providers of leadership development.

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