If you came to my house today, you might be surprised.
You might find… well, chaos.
In the last 3 weeks I’ve moved from Berlin to London with my family, spent a week building sandcastles on the Baltic coast, driven hundreds of miles, said farewell to one wonderful community and hello to another one, packed and unpacked a crazy amount of stuff. We’ve got boxes that moved with us, boxes that didn’t, as well a list of people we want to see, things we want to do, and plenty of new visions to put into place.
The result is, frankly, chaos. Half-full boxes, piles of sand appearing out of stray toys, messages I haven’t answered and no idea where the teabags are.
I’m meant to be the expert at getting things done, smoothly and easily. But somehow, this isn’t worrying me.
It’s teaching me about myself.
Chaos is inevitable. If you do anything that involves a big dream, vision or project, it results in times when everything happens at once. And it’s impossible to keep everything flowing smoothly within a normal life.
I know sorting out this kind of physical mess doesn’t play to my strengths. So I’m doing it bit by bit. I’m prioritising things that give me energy too – work, family, exercise, friends. And if I don’t know what my family will eat for dinner tonight… well, there’s always pasta.
The chaos of August isn’t in the textbook
August is meant to be the month that’s carefree and easy. We’re all meant to be chilled out, relaxed, taking time off, leaving a tidy desk and everything handed over neatly.
But if it’s not quite like that… if it’s a bit more, well, chaotic, that’s ok.
Life can get messy, simply because you want it to be rich. You want to do things. You want to live.
Because summer can be wonderful, it throws up all the challenges of vacations, kids, unanswered phone calls, your team away somewhere, deadlines, your own vision of your life not having much to do with the reality.
It’s ok if that chaos turns, sometimes, to overwhelm
But here’s what I want you to remember.
What’s not ok is when you can’t remember the way out.
It’s not ok when you can’t remember what you excel at. When you’ve forgotten your unique, remarkable set of strengths and skills that allow you to achieve extraordinary things in a way that’s right for you.
It’s not ok when you’re not achieving anything because you can’t, somehow, remember how to.
Your strengths are stronger than any chaos
If August is feeling more about unwelcome chills than ice creams, I want to give you this reminder.
You have everything you need to not only survive, but thrive.
Your brain is wired in specific ways that give you a set of skills and strengths that you can use to motivate yourself, give yourself focus and energy.
If you haven’t yet taken the Vitally Productive Assessment, which measures those strengths click here to take it. In a few minutes you’ll have a 12-page report with both highlights and details of how to turbo-charge your own performance.
Your core strengths are your secret weapons to healthier, higher performance. They’re the power tools you can bring to any situation. They’re the key to you achieving the important things you want with flow and ease.
Once you’re clear about your strengths, I want you to really own them.
Write them down. Then say them out loud. (Ok, if you’re on a crowded train, you can visualise yourself standing out a stage declaring them). Then say them again, several times. Each time, increase your energy and conviction.
“I am…. (now say your core strengths)”
You can try adding some specific situations
“I can deal with anything by using my… (what?)”
“I can deliver for this customer by focusing on my… (what?)”
“I can handle [juggling family holidays, work crises, sleepless nights] with my natural… (what?)”
When you start owning your strengths, things start to shift
Some things will slip. Some things won’t get done, or done in quite the way you’d like.
But you’ll be using your energy in the most effective way you can. You’ll be working in a way that helps to fire you up you, not to bring you down. It’ll be easier to remember that any chaos at this moment is because you have a rich life.
Think your chaos is even bigger?
Nope. It isn’t. I promise.
Your brain, curiously, believes you when you tell it almost anything enough times. So tell it you’re bigger than your chaos, and you’ll start to discover it.
(And besides, it’s true).
So here’s to your wonderful August, whether it’s bringing you ice cream or chaos.