Who’s ready to get a little bit better?! Getting a little bit better is not just a one time occurrence. It’s a decision; a way to live your life! The conversation I want to drop today really leans into that.
How many of you have been in a place where you’re just tired? You’re just flat out, worn out, depleted, tired. A lot of times when we get in that place, we feel like things are hitting us from every direction, right? It’s this hit and that hit, and then this setback and that setback. And, add onto that this prolonged season we’re living in at this time in history – a global pandemic and COVID. And then in the midst of that there’s been loss, so many changes and upheaval, and all these different things… WOO!! The net effect of all that is you are tired. Maybe you’ve lost your job, lost a relationship, lost income. You’re tired. You’re just tired.
So what do we do? We’re just too tired to deal. Just too tired to show up. Just too tired to figure it out. Just too tired to put more work in. There’s times when I know I can push through, but I’m just too tired to push through. Too tired to hang on until I get a breakthrough.
What do you do when you’re in that place? It’s not an easy place to be. There’s certainly not an easy button to push on this one. It’s a process and it’s a commitment to say, Hey, when I’m too tired, I’m still not going to give up.
“It’s not the lack of resources, it’s your lack of resourcefulness that stops you.” -Tony Robbins
This is one of my favorite Tony Robbins quotes! When we’re tired, we feel like we’re depleted and we don’t have anything to give to others. We don’t have anything to even give to ourselves! But sometimes we have to step back and become a little more resourceful.
So, I have five points for you – maybe I’ll even throw in a bonus point at the end. Five things that have all been learned firsthand. I’ve heard others talk about these things as well, but these are things that I’ve had to live through and figure out when I’m just too tired.
Let me start with this kind of funny story. There’s been two instances in my life involving family pets. There’s one instance, a long time ago, when our lovely black Labrador, Lulu (God rest her soul) was getting up in years. She was getting older and she was very incontinent, not able to hold herself in for any prolonged amount of time. I remember opening the door to the house and going in and right away it was one of those moments when you’re like, oh! Bad things have happened here! The house just reeked from the second I opened the door. And it wasn’t just poop or pee… it was doggy diarrhea all over the entire living room. It was just covered. You guys hear me talk a lot about mastering your state, right? Mastering your emotions and your responses. I did not do that in that moment! It was bad. It was ugly. I don’t think I punched a wall but I kicked and I knocked over some stuff. I was shouting. I was fuming. I was pissed off. I don’t even like that phrase, but I was! I did not handle it well. Afterwards, I had this moment of clarity while journaling. I remember the journal entry vividly. I mean, this was almost a decade ago, but I remember it so vividly, because I was writing things to myself like, okay, if I cannot hold it together because my dog pooped on the floor, there’s something wrong, Mark. Like what’s going on here?
And can we keep this real a little bit?! Because this morning, my dog – a different dog, Delilah – tested me again. She likes to bark a lot for no apparent reason and she’s been doing it more and more often. I know all you dog trainers are going to be dropping me tips on this…please do! I’m all open to your wisdom! But anyway, Delilah just started barking at me for no reason. And I yelled at her and then I picked up the dog tray with her food and I slammed it down. Then all the dog food spilled. And then I walked into the kitchen and I kicked the chair and I pushed the chair. I saw my wife later and I was like, um… I had a little meltdown. And, of course, she was like, yeah, I heard it from the bedroom!
But the same thing happened in both scenarios. Why did those moments happen?
They happened because I was a little tired, guys! I’ve been pushing hard, making changes, impacting people’s lives. I’ve got three kids. I’m married. I’ve been doing ministry, doing business… all these things!! A little tired, right?!
So I want to give five practical things that can help you when you’re just too tired.
Step number one: give yourself grace. Stop beating yourself up. It just doesn’t work. You just have to give yourself some grace and say, you know what? I’m not perfect. Sometimes you’re going to kick a chair and it’s okay. It’s not the end of the world. Just because I kicked the chair doesn’t mean I can’t talk to people about how to master their state. Kicking the chair keeps me real. Come on, guys. I have to work this just like you have to work this, every day! I have to make decisions. I have to keep working at it.
You’ve got to give yourself grace. If you’re tired, give yourself a little grace. You don’t have to be on a hundred percent of the time. You don’t have to have all the answers all the time. You don’t have to respond perfectly all the time. Give yourself a little grace. Even if you feel like you don’t deserve it. Take a couple of deep breaths. Maybe take a walk in the park. Maybe just sit in silence. Maybe take a nap in the middle of the afternoon. Maybe schedule a day and tell people you’re booked solid all day and then read a book or go for a run or veg out and watch Netflix all day. These are all different forms of giving yourself grace, giving yourself a break, cutting yourself some slack. You’re not perfect. And you don’t have to be.
So step one: give yourself grace. I’m giving myself a little grace right now so I can share these stories with you guys. I don’t have the misconception that I have to be perfect for me to be able to serve you. I think it actually serves you a little bit more when I mess the crap up in my life!
Step number two: ask yourself, why? This is a big question. Ask yourself why, which is literally what I did in my journal after the dog incidents. Why did this happen? This is what my answer was. I was tired! I started with, why did this happen? And then I kept going…is this a season? Are there unique circumstances going on in my life? Your questions and answers might be a little bit different. Maybe ask yourself, is there something stressful going on at work? Did something happen yesterday that I wasn’t even connecting to this moment that depleted me? Did I have a really emotional conversation with somebody the day before? Am I pushing for this deadline at work and I didn’t realize how much this big deadline or this big project was pulling energy from me?
So start asking yourself some questions because you’re going to find an answer. It could be that you’re tired. It could be that there’s a massive change in your life. It could be a global freaking pandemic! It could be an unruly kid. Now, of course, you have to take full responsibility for yourself, but what are the factors contributing to it? And so ask yourself why, why, why? Why did I do this? Is there a cycle? Is there a shift happening in my life? Is this temporary?
Step number three: evaluate your schedule. So you know the answer is you’re tired. Now you need to look at and evaluate your schedule. Don’t change anything. Just look at it as an objective observer. What is on your schedule? For some of you, that’s going to be hard because you don’t keep stuff on a calendar or planner! And that’s why you’re tired! You’re just doing whatever comes at you! It’s urgent. It’s important. It’s urgent, but it’s not important. You’re doing whatever flies at you and you’ve got no plan. So for you, start creating a schedule and living according to your calendar. It’s going to free you up in a whole lot of ways.
I live by my calendar. And so I started evaluating. What am I doing? Is self care on that calendar? Is there time for friends on that calendar? Are there things that fill my tank on there?
How much of my calendar is represented by things I’m serving and giving out versus moments and times scheduled when I’m receiving and getting filled back up?
How many hours of work? How many hours of family time? How many hours of downtime or white space? Truth be told, I don’t have enough white space on my calendar. And so the first part was to evaluate the schedule and determine how it was affecting me. Just observe it factually. In this step, you’re gathering data, not changing anything yet. Decide what must change, NOT what might change or what could change. What must change based on the data you’ve collected? You’re tired. You’re worn out. This is why it’s happening. I look at my calendar at everything I’m doing and no wonder I’m tired, right?!
Your evaluation might show you what kind of a season you’re in. For me, things are leveling up. I’m doing more, I’m serving more, I’m stepping into more responsibility. So I am in a season where I just know the next four to six months are going to be a push. There’s going to be a lot on my plate and that’s not going away for a while. So what must change? I can’t look at my calendar and say, well, I’m not doing any of it! I’m going to the beach for a week!
Most of us can’t just jump up and go to the beach for a week. And by the way, if you do get to the beach for a week, but you don’t address the stuff that I’m talking about, you’re going to come back tired! You might be great for a month or so but then you’re going to end up right in the same mess that you were already in and you’ll end up tired all over again, unless you address it at a root level.
So what must change? What do you need more of? What do you need less of? What do you need to carve out the space for? Who do you need to enlist as help in your journey? Who do you need to get on your team?
I recently had a conversation with my trainer. We’re making a strategy. Instead of trying to work out so much in person, we’re going to add some virtual workouts into my schedule so that I can actually work out more while taking less time out of my schedule.
So after I did the journaling about my response to the dogs, I started to think differently about solutions. I know what must change and what I need in my schedule so that I’m not so tired. I’m going through a season where I’m going to be pushing hard, but I can still take care of me. You must take care of you. You are the only asset of you that you get. If you die, there’s nothing left. You’ve got to take care of you. So, what must change so that you can take care of yourself, even if it’s a busier and heavier season?
Steps number four and five (and the bonus step six!) all fall together: make a plan, share it, and start small.
Once you know what must change, you can make a plan, right? Then you have to share it. I already had a conversation with my wife. I said, “Hey, here’s a couple of changes, a couple of things that I think need to shift. We need to adjust.”
I made a plan. I shared it. And I’m also going to start small, not big. I’m not going to try and change a hundred things at once. I’m going to start small. You should start small, too.
The compound effect of small changes over time creates drastic impact and change in your life.
If you find yourself just too tired, maybe you could take some of these points: give yourself a little grace, ask some questions as to why you are feeling that way right now, look at your schedule and evaluate it, and then make some decisions. You have the power to do that! Then, with your decisions, create a plan, share it with somebody for accountability, and remember to start small.
I feel you. I see you. I know some of you are worn out and you’re just too tired. Take a deep breath. Oh, by the way, meditation should be in your plan! Some of you don’t meditate. Breath work is so important. There is power in slowing down and just appreciating your breath. Even just 15 minutes a day could totally shift how you show up the rest of the time. Those minutes could fill your tank. Take some time to look up Wim Hof Method breathing exercises. It’s a great resource.
My parting word of encouragement to you is this: this too will pass. Whatever season you’re in, however hard it is, however tired you are…you’re still standing! It hasn’t taken you out! You’re stronger than you thought! You’re stronger than you know, right now in this very moment! And so, this too will pass. Don’t get overwhelmed. Don’t get desperate. Tell the truth to some people around you, get some help, do these things that I’m talking through, make some small changes. You’re going to be alright! You’re going to get through this!
I hope this served you. I hope it helped you. If you’re tired, go take a nap. Like today or this weekend. Just take a couple of hours and just sleep. Watch a show or read a book. Give yourself some time. Give yourself some grace. Give yourself that space. And then, go out there and give your greatness to the world because somebody needs what’s on the inside of you and if you don’t take care of yourself with some rest, there’s not going to be anything to give! So take care of you and then go give you greatness to the world!