You’re not doing it wrong

May 01, 2020

Years ago, I went through chemotherapy for my cancer treatment. It was like getting T-boned by an 18-wheeler. I had to take months off from work because I couldn’t think straight and could barely hold up my end of a conversation. Nor could I drive. One day (not long after I s-l-o-w-ly backed my car into one of those cement pillars in an underground garage) Fred was driving me to an appointment. Coming up to an intersection, I said “I can’t remember – does a green light mean stop or go?” I didn’t get to drive again for a really long time.

What made things worse was my expectation of how this time would be. I’d done a lot of reading beforehand to get a sense of what it would be like. I read countless stories of women who continued to work out, run 10Ks, manage their households and work full-time. I was inspired by so many blogs and websites that offer healthy recipes designed for cancer patients. I made plans to keep my business going, to keep cooking healthy food, and exercise like I normally did.

And God said “Ha!”

I actually spent most of my time over these several months moving from one couch to the other. When I was feeling particularly energetic, I walked all the way upstairs to take a nap. Instead of eating healthy soups and veggies, I ate my weight in bagels and cream cheese. I stopped working completely. I stopped doing all household chores. I stopped everything except for trying to feel better.

This was not how it was supposed to be. I was supposed to be able to run 10Ks and cook delicious meals and keep up with my client work. Nothing was going to plan. I thought I was doing it all wrong.

I tell you this because you may have unrealistic expectations of how you’re supposed to be during these unprecedented times. Are you fretting that things are taking longer than they should? That there’s no motivation to get things done? We’ve been bombarded with messaging that encourages us to learn a new language/clean out our closets/paint the outside of the house/get new clients/etc. during all of the free time we supposedly have right now. Instead of feeling motivated to accomplish, a lot of people are feeling guilty that they’re not doing more.

I have just one thing to say to that: You’re not doing it wrong. Any expectations you have of Doing All The Things may be a wee bit too high. That’s not to say you can’t get stuff done and even start new projects. It means if you’re beating yourself up in addition to struggling through this pandemic, I lovingly suggest you cut yourself some slack. Lower the bar and reach it before you ask more of yourself.

Once I let go of my expectations of how my chemotherapy time was supposed to be, everything got easier. I was able to focus on healing and recovering. Once I nailed that, I added in other activities. Things got back to normal. A new normal – better than before.

The first step to amplifying your life is simplifying your day.

Enter your email to receive The Simple Start: A strategic toolbox to help you simplify your email inbox, your priority to-do list and your morning routine, starting TODAY. You'll also receive my (pretty much) weekly email sharing stories and strategies to help make running your business simpler, easier and funner.