Today I was frozen. Panicky. I didn’t want to start anything or work on anything. I couldn’t focus and my creativity was at zero. I was in pure urgent mode, waiting for the next emergency.
On Saturday, my husband (who won’t even take an Advil for a headache) walked into my office and said, “I need you to take me to the hospital.” Within two minutes he was green, sweating and in the worst pain of his life. It came on out of nowhere, and we had to call an ambulance. It was terrifying.
Prompt medical attention determined that kidney stones were the culprit. Excruciatingly painful, but thankfully not life threatening. Further analysis revealed two stones – one he was experiencing pain from and another that would make its presence known sometime in the future. Back to today…
In the midst of my panic, flinching every time I heard my husband sigh, I worried that the sudden onset of mind-bending pain and a trip to the emergency room was imminent and I finally got it.
This is how many people live every day. This is what holds them back. I’m not referring to people in actual emergency situations or even just potentially urgent ones. This is about entrepreneurs, people like you and me.
We get frozen by this pressing feeling of the urgent and it’s completely false. I know this firsthand because what is truly important, what is truly urgent is very, very different from what we misinterpret as urgent every single day. But the results are the same. Paralysis, lack of creativity, wanting to shut down, avoid and distract. We get confused.
Here’s how to distinguish the difference between something that’s really urgent and something that just wants to distract us into believing it’s urgent.
Situation 1: Imagine you, your child, or your spouse just severely broke their leg. Sink into that feeling. This is truly urgent. Your day needs to be rescheduled. You email doesn’t matter. Your clients need to wait.
Situation 2: Think about your email inbox and the stress you experience over it. This is obviously not urgent, but does it feel different? It should. You really can handle this and your life doesn’t need to be rescheduled because of it.
We cannot treat daily priorities or simple distractions like they are urgent – at least not for long. We will burn out or give up, because it is just too damn hard to sustain.
(( <3 )) So sorry about your hubby, Mary! And such a great post. It is all to easy to succumb to the "urgency" monster. I find that when my head is down I feel that way I just wait for the "next" urgent thing, without taking a minute to figure out what I should/want be doing. I think tech and our physiology makes this trap easy to fall into and it's important to periodically take a step back and think, "Hmm… am I treating this like life or death? And if so, how can I calm down my nervous system?" 🙂
Deb McClanahan says
Mary, This is such a timely article. Being an entrepreneur is all about “flow”. So often we block our own energies and interfere with flow. Thanks for the reminder. And congratulations that your husband’s crisis, while incredibly painful, is finite and fixable.
Amber Wallace says
Love this, and such a great reminder. I especially like the ending — we can sustain it for short bursts, but not for long periods of time. It’s easy to allow others to dictate what’s urgent and not. We can provide good customer service and responsiveness and maintain our own sanity, too (or at least I want to think so?!).
And speaking of what’s important, glad to hear your husband is okay!
Sorry to hear of Adams ordeal. Glad to hear he’s now coming along and not life threatening. Please give him hug for me and let him know I’m sending wishes for speedy recovery.
Thanks for all the reminders of what we need to stay focused on and to flow with things rather than react to them.
Bob Wilson says
Sorry to hear about your husbands ordeal. Thankfully it wasn’t anything more serious.
Thanks for the great post. As an entrepreneur, it certainly is easy to have a broken “urgency meter.” Thanks again and take care,