Three weeks ago I met up with a previous client who had given me the secret to life -- “Drink a gallon of water a day and your life will change, trust me, it got rid of the baby fat in my face!” Well, if you know me, anything with the words “rid” and “fat” in the same sentence will have me on board and cheering faster than a racist at a Trump rally. I also wondered, would drinking so much water keep me from fighting with my husband?
It was a Tuesday afternoon and I was drinking my water and watching some show set in Australia starring a man who’s tan, depending on the episode, could compete with a leather belt I purchased at an airport in Austin, Texas earlier in the year. I was viewing this Hulu exclusive with my husband when I got a shocking email -- my website’s security certificate had expired leaving behind a “red alert warning” notifying people that my site was not secure and to enter at their own risk by “pressing here.”
I took a sigh as well as several sips of water then attempted to log into my web hosting site. My computer was on MAC repair sabbatical that I hadn’t seen in two weeks and only had the use of my iPhone and iPad to get to the bottom of this. After six failed attempts, I got in. I don’t know about you but I pride myself on knowing that I don’t know what I’m doing when I log into my web hosting admin panel. I'm rendered clueless and overpowered with the feeling of being overwhelmed, like when deciding which pie to eat first at the all you can eat buffet.
As I’m frantically clicking on this and clicking on that, I pause the show just as some jellyfish crime caper is about to unfold leaving my husband a state of “What the hell?”
Nando: I got an email (click, click) my certificate is expired (sip, sip, click, hit return) and my website is not working properly (click, click, click, sip).
German: Okay, I’ll go heat up some chicken.
My husband’s ability to push any drama to the side and feed himself is a super power. I don’t know how he does it, but he does it with ease, and he does it often. He left me in a state of panic, clicking and sipping water. I decide it will be faster to just click on the chat button and have someone “do it for me.” As I’m waiting for my chatting buddy to arrive I’m now attempting to log into my Wordpress site. Because I don’t know any of my passwords, my computer has them all stored, my memory has yet another thing it can take a break from. Pecking away at the keyboard, I don’t recall if this password has a special character, a capital letter, and a number or all three. Anyone seeing me at this time would swear I’m a computer hacker clicking away at the keyboard with intention and focus wanting to hire me to hack into some government website to discover juicy international secrets that would create the scandal of the century, in reality, I had two thoughts: frantically debating to reset the password knowing I’d have to enter all new passwords on all the devices moving forward and was German heating up enough chicken for the two of us.
My chatting buddy finally arrived introducing himself as ID # 345234 but I could call him Larry. And before Larry could help, I needed to verify my identity by proving my customer reference number -- I was terrified I’d lose him if I switched pages to go find the information he needed but risked it.
Nando: LARRY, WHY CAN’T YOU JUST HELP ME WITHOUT IT?
Larry: It’s policy, I’m sorry for the inconvenience, sir.
Nando: LARRY THIS SUCKS! BRB. (sip, sip)
I found the number and it was on a page where I couldn’t copy and paste and my ability to retain 10-digit numbers was something long gone -- like chivalry and bushy pubic hair. My husband returned with a plateful of food for himself and a mouthful of chicken swirling around between his cheeks. “Do you need any…”
I shushed him as I transferred the digits to a note on my iPad so then I could type them into my chat box on my iPhone to Nazi Website Larry. At every turn there was a task that depended on a previous task to be accomplished before we could get to the main task at hand. Ever have one of those days?
German didn’t appreciate the shush and shot me a dirty look, took a seat, and chomped on chicken which I returned with sipping more water.
That sip gave me time to pause on “how was I being” at that moment. I was being short tempered, frantic, and panicky. Instant flashbacks took over to a time when I was working as a recruiter at an advertising agency. The amount of stress I had was measurable with weight gain, moodiness, panic attacks, anxiety, and endless arguments. I also spent too many days feeling bad for how I had reacted with colleagues, friends, family and especially German. I had turned into someone totally different than who he met three month earlier when dating.
Nando: I’m sorry for “Sshing” you. I was frantically trying to solve this issue while simultaneously logging intoWordpress and my hosting site but because I forgot my password -- that added extra pressure and I got into “overwhelm mode” and when you asked if I needed help, I was doing something with numbers for Larry….
German: Who’s Larry?
Nando: The website guy.
German: I need a website guy.
Nando: OMG, not now German! (sipping and snapping)
I looked down and had a message from Larry. Before I could read it I looked up and German walked out and I got a flash of past Nando and there I was again - panicky, moody, and nasty. Was I entering fighting with my husband mode?
Why? Why was I allowing this to take me out of the easy-going mood I was enjoying while watching leatherman with my husband? Just moments prior, we were googling the humidity factor in Australia because it looked beautiful despite all the dead bodies washing up ashore. Would my hair need extra frizz protection or would my newly purchased sexy Dyson hair dryer and regular keratin treatments be enough?
I was managing five things at once and felt the need to rush and complete. That had me acting like the past version of myself. Why? Where was it written that this task had to be done in under 20 minutes? Under 10 minutes?
“Ooh, I know the real “why?” I wanted to be done with this inconvenience and enjoy the day with German -- that’s why! But that was just another excuse to justify my moodiness. No pass. (can you see how quickly we rationalize our behavior?)
What would it look like if I accepted that it was going to take as long as it takes and instead of expediting things, I’d just enjoy the exchange with Larry and not be so abrupt with my husband? If I got into that mode, what would happen? Who would I be? How would this entire situation occur to me? Larry wouldn’t come across as a digital taskmaster and German wouldn’t occur as annoying with annoying question.
I took a deep breath, created a new way of being, which was creating: fun, collaboration, and generosity and just like that--my mood shifted instantly. I took another deep breath and drank more water.
As my full bladder and I took in our environment, I noticed a few things: Larry had fixed my security issue, my husband had left the room, and I was ready to apologize.
I don’t get as overwhelmed anymore from the tools I now have but as a human I don’t always use them instantly. It takes practice and it really takes an awareness to see the filter I’m using “in the moment” and it’s something the “past me” didn’t have access to.
The past me would have thoughts like, “How could I not be stressed, can’t you see all the things happening around me?” But today, I’m able to access these filters and create something new and instant.
I thanked Larry, clicked for the last time and walked over to the kitchen to share what I had discovered with German. In the hallway, carrying a second plate of chicken...except this time it was for me, I shot him a smile and we talked. When I created the intent of fun, collaboration and generosity, it showed up everywhere...with Larry, myself, German, and poultry. Never underestimate how you’re showing up in life and the impact it has on others.
If you’re interested in learning more about coaching, working together, on a 1:1 individual basis or in a group setting (new group starts Sept 21st) and how it can give you access to a new way of being -- let’s chat now, how much longer will you let your old filters cloud how you react to the things overwhelming you?