What's Your Process?

When we talk about processes, we often think about structures and systems, logistics and supply chains. But I’m not talking about work processes or procedures. I’m talking about your process as you grow. One of the amazing women in my life reminded me not too long ago (as I was freaking out about something and sharing how I was feeling) that what I was doing is “just my process.” I remember thinking, “What is she talking about? My process can’t include me internally freaking out!” Well… turns out it does.

So in good Barbara fashion, I had to stop, pause, and really reflect on what she said. And in fact, she was correct. I thought back to other big decisions and problems that I’ve made it to the other side of and sure enough, before any big move is a mini freak out session.

So back to what it means to understand your process and why this is important. I now know that when I am undertaking something big, new, and complex, I internally freak out a little. Why is it important that I understand this? Well, during my panic moments, I start telling myself several things, none of which are productive.  They sound a little like “You can’t do this,” “You won’t be able to figure this out,” and “Go back and stay small.” I realized that I have listened to these voices for many, many years and they have become my “normal” way of thinking. This perspective then informed the way I behave. It has kept me within the safety of my self-imposed limits. Recently though, I have not had the luxury of doing what’s comfortable. I have started my own business and just about everything I have been doing (other than working with my amazing clients!) has been big, new, and complex.   

I woke up this morning and realized that for the last several months, I have not been having fun while starting my own business. This made me sad as I recognized that I have been pushing through, slogging it out, and not enjoying the fact that I now own my own company and that is pretty cool. Because it has been new and I have been stretched, I haven’t been fully present in all that has been going on around me. I have let my process own me and become my reality.  Starting a business is hard and new for me, but that doesn’t mean I can’t have fun along the way. 

 I’m a little annoyed that it has taken me a few months to recognize that I have fallen into my old process, but that’s okay. Now that I am aware, I can do something different. I’m working on not shaming myself, but simply being aware and brutally honest that that was my process. The was is key here, because by pausing and reflecting on my behavior and feelings, I can now choose to do something different. And that my friend, is where the growth begins. 

 What’s your process? Where do you need to challenge some of your old tapes? And how can you replace them with something new and more productive?

Barbara Leahy