Judy, the burned-out executive

Judy came to coaching because she’d lost the drive and energy she had demonstrated throughout her successful marketing career. Her coaching goal was to rediscover her mojo.

What became immediately clear was that Judy was exhausted. She knew she needed to rest, but whenever she scheduled a day off, she’d spend most of it working. “It’s like I can’t stop.”

I asked Judy if she’d like to understand more about the part of her which couldn’t stop. She readily agreed. I invited her to speak from this part of her, in the first person.

She talked about having a never-quit work ethic, and feeling enormous pressure to take action. She described feeling impatient and anxious at anything that slowed her down.

As Judy spoke from this part, her demeanor immediately changed: she started talking faster, and seemed to be having trouble sitting still.

I asked this part of Judy what was most important, and she shot back, “Getting it done. Making every hour count. Not making excuses.”

I then asked, “What do you have to say about Judy’s goal to get more rest and recover her mojo?” This part replied, “Rest is a waste time. There’s work to be done.”

I then invited Judy to speak to me from the part of her which wanted to stop and take a break. As she connected with this part of herself, her posture visibly relaxed, and she talked about a lakeside cottage her family had visited every summer as a child. This part of Judy was delighted by simple pleasures of staring at the sunlight on the water, and taking naps in the hammock. I asked this relaxed part of Judy what it thought about how Judy could get her mojo back, and she shared that she was always most productive when she was well rested.

Judy shared that she’d forgotten that this relaxed part of her even existed. Now that she’d reconnected with it, she committed to check in with it daily, and to follow its guidance as much as she could.

Two weeks later, Judy showed for her next coaching session reporting a major breakthrough. She had taken three days off the previous week to rest, and had been completely untroubled by guilt.

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