the messy middle + week(s) reflection

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You can’t get to courage without rumbling with vulnerability. Embrace the suck. ~Brene Brown, Dare to Lead

I have been struggling a bit at work. Like, I-spent-90-minutes-crying-in-my-boss’-office-this-week type of struggling. And, because I’m a human who is terrible at compartmentalizing, this struggling and resulting behaviors are making their way into other facets of my life. So, basically, I’m struggling at life right now.

We’re beginning our final development sprint next week (aka, we’re almost done with the project) and start final testing and training in November — which the first release taking place shortly after. I’m certainly looking forward to being able to provide a better experience and tool for one of my teams but am also TERRIFIED of doing them wrong. I can’t shake this feeling that I’m not doing enough to set them up for success even though I know I’m doing everything I can for that not to be true. I haven’t been sleeping and wake up nightly around 2:30 a.m. in a panic, realizing yet another thing I didn’t think of that may derail the project. Then I spend the next 20 minutes or so emailing myself all of the things I just thought of, at which point sleep is really just a wish.

Pairing the tiredness with a constant feeling of being overwhelmed hasn’t made me the best leader for my teams, partner for other teams or partner for my husband. But, the good thing about getting to a point where you’re crying in your boss’ office is that it becomes a sort of breaking point and you can’t really hide (anymore) how you’re feeling. After a frank discussion (through intermittent tears), we made a few changes that helped me feel better about the project and its success — but still I couldn’t sleep and was being a jerk at home.

Next stop — therapy. And, after that, opening up more to coworkers about how I was am feeling. And, finally, communicating my feelings and what I need to those I love. Oh, and turning to my favorite shame and vulnerability expert, Brene Brown, through the reading of her new book — dare to lead. The result is I’m feeling better-ish (it’s a work-in-progress) and I also have a list of items to keep with me and review when those extreme feeling of overwhelmingness try to return.

  • Let go of notion of perfectionism
  • Recognize and celebrate accomplishments — and that doesn’t mean just checking something off of a list
  • Acknowledge that I’m in the messy middle with this project — but that it’s just one stage and it will pass
  • Talk it out and being honest and vulnerable with trusted co-workers (and my amazing husband)
  • Take advantage of time with my therapist
  • Accept that nothing is really in my control
  • Practice self-care and taking time for things that recharge me + brighten my light (as my therapist says)
  • Accept — and don’t be afraid to ask for — help

Have anything to add to the list? What works for you when you’re feeling overwhelmed and coping with the messy middle? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.


week(s) in review
what I’m reading: Dare to Lead
unpacked + began making our new house a home
celebrated Ellie’s 6th birthday
saw A Star is Born
enjoyed the first snow of the season
visits to our favorite zero-waste + refill stores: Zero Market + Joyfill
finally completed my September review + October intentions
approved final layout for our wedding book (can’t wait to receive it!)
began planning our housewarming party
cheered on the Rockies in the postseason
celebrated National Black Dog Day
finally updated my drivers license (new name)
had a much-needed therapy appointment
enjoyed a long-overdue haircut + color
adjusted to life sans electricity (intermittent) for a few days while our house got an electrical upgrade
received long-awaited Dean Russo original art
continued progress on big work project
happy hour with coworkers
hosted monthly writing circle
beer + bluegrass at The Big Wonderful
experienced our first (and LAST) lockout of our house
wrote + posted looking forward to bored + week reflection
wrote + posted this week in our kitchen: harvest chipotle chili + southwest corn pudding

weekend happenings + intentions
kiddo’s birthday party
cleaning + prepping house for renters
washer + dryer delivery (third time’s a charm)
game night
relax + recharge

1 comments on “the messy middle + week(s) reflection”

  1. Pingback: week(s) reflection

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