The Real Deal of Moving Ahead When Life Falls Apart

August 19, 2015

Connect Member

Women's Leadership Development Consultant

What happens when your personal life falls apart while your professional life is taking off?

It is the dirty little secret that women don’t like talking about, and yet it is the one that can derail your life faster than anything else.

You hold a powerful job that you love, or you run your own show, and have an ambitious career plan. While you often work long hours, you have always managed to balance your life and work, and you pride yourself on your ability to hold it all together.

But then something unexpected happens and it feels like the earth has fallen out from beneath you. It could be that your marriage is failing and you are in the process of a divorce. Perhaps you received a call and heard those dreaded words, “I have cancer.” Or, maybe you have just lost someone you deeply loved.

Whatever it is, you are navigating a significant transition in your life and are wondering how you are going to get through it.

No one at work or in your business knows. You have been keeping it a secret and pretending that you are in control, only now you are not so sure.

The work continues to pile up, your schedule is fuller than it has ever been, and the demands of your clients, colleagues, and team seem greater than ever. As you check your email again, you are increasingly aware that you can’t manage it all, especially during this time of sadness, loss, and overwhelm.

You aren’t sure how to ask for help. In fact, you aren’t even sure of what specific help you really need.

Life, love, and caring for ourselves is hard enough to sustain without the added pressure of a high-powered career, especially if you are also a mother. Technology has created both urgency and opportunity; we are never really unplugged from our work, and as women we are confronted with how to balance our professional success with our desire for love and family.

Working women take being busy to an entirely new level, exhausting ourselves and everyone else around us. When our personal lives are suffering, or we are facing the loss of love in our lives, it is incredibly easy to be derailed from focus and discipline. Our minds wander and our tolerance is limited. We are forced to struggle silently behind a polished exterior, a full calendar of work and meetings, and the daily needs of those around us.

How do you maintain your professional performance when your personal life is falling apart?

Here are five tips for moving through major life transition and adversity with grace and intention:

1. You Aren’t Meant to Do It Alone
More than ever, you need the support of experts and community to move through these times with courage and intention. These are the best tools available to get the support you deserve.

2. Get a Coach or Therapist
Friends and family are wonderful, but they are not necessarily skilled or trained to support you, so it is imperative to find someone that is.

3. It Takes a Village
Having a community of women who understand and care about your success in all areas of your life is critical. All you have to do is ask for what you need and allow yourself to receive the help.

4. Change the Way You Work
Break your workday down into short bursts of productivity with breaks for mindfulness and an opportunity give yourself space to feel the emotion. Concentration during this time is difficult, so having shorter work sessions with frequent rest times will allow you to focus more easily.

5. Practice Extreme Self-Care
You may be struggling with eating and sleeping, which is going to make you distracted and sluggish. During this time, drink lots of water, limit your alcohol intake, and eat as healthy as you can. Because sleeping may be interrupted, your fitness routine may also be a challenge.  It’s most important to keep your body moving, so take walks, try working out at a lower intensity, and make sure to be consistent. Your body, mind, and soul need it.

What is your best tip for staying focused when faced with a personal situation that distracts you from your professional discipline?

Laura Campbell is a member of the DailyWorth Connect program. Read more about the program here.