When things are out of sync: 5 ideas to help you get back in alignment

It happens to the best of us. We are talented, committed, and even focused but something feels “off”. Do you ever feel this way? Do you feel this way now?

When I speak with friends and colleagues today, almost everyone has shared that something doesn’t feel quite right. No one can put their finger on it but rolling into two years of being fully or partially remote and facing more uncertainty with work, jobs, schools, the environment, the economy, politics, public and personal health, and everything in between is taking its toll.

I will admit within the last month, I have not felt my best. I have been at the top of my game accomplishing projects and bucket list items I never thought I would get to. But something is a little out of sync for me. When this happens, I get demotivated and start to question what I am doing. I guess there is some comfort in knowing that others feel the same at this point.

This can happen at any time, of course. We can personally feel out of sync where we lose our mojo for a bit or start to ask big questions, such as what am I doing with my life? How can I make an impact? How can I solve the problems in front of me? How do I keep going? What is going to help me find my energy and enthusiasm again?

I have also been in situations where teams have felt out of sync. This starts to create a stressful environment where people talk past one another, there can be “the meeting after the meeting” where the real truth is shared, people stop sharing and start stepping on toes or duplicating work. This can happen even in the best of circumstances. But, during these times, we must try to prevent this atmosphere from developing.

Teams are simply a reflection of the people in the teams. So, if the people are stressed and off-kilter, so goes the team.

So, it got me thinking about what to do now as living out of alignment can cause great stress. We spent last year teaching everyone how to be resilient. We almost need a new word for resilience as it feels every six months we need to dig deeper to find our motivation and energy to move onward and upward.

I have written before about how to overcome obstacles and reclaim your mojo. I actually went back and re-read those blog posts. All have good advice and I am selecting the best of these, and some new ones, to jump-start our resilience again.

  1. Get out of your head.

This could just be me but I doubt it (or maybe I hope it isn’t just me). When I find myself spinning and getting out of sync, it is usually because I am totally in my head thinking ridiculous “what if…” scenarios. What if I don’t get promoted? What if I don’t get that project I want? What if some of my team leave the company?  What if no one buys my book? The “what if…” can be a positive if we are trying to innovate but it is a killer of motivation if we let it drive and fuel our anxiety.

  1. Wait until there is a problem.

One of the best pieces of advice I have ever received was from a former colleague. Her advice was always: “Let’s wait until it is a problem in front of us.”  For those planners out there (me, me, me!), we want to prepare for the storm. However, thinking only about the problems before they become problems will fuel anxiety. In fact, I would venture to say this is the defintion of anxiety. Let’s stop “what if’ing” ourselves to sleepless nights and deal with the problem only when it becomes one.

  1. Appreciate what is in front of us.

This is a big one I have been thinking about all weekend. As we see our colleagues leave our organizations, see others getting promoted, or others starting their businesses, we may start to feel inadequate or de-motivated in our current positions. As I have wrote about last week, we can choose to leave our posts and start a new job. That is certainly a choice but let’s consider that perhaps our current situation is something to be appreciated. Let’s think about what is good in what we have and be grateful. If you or the team is out of alignment, find that one great project, process, client, or strategy you can all rally around and focus your attention on it and appreciate it.

  1. Remember your “why”.

Maybe this is tied to what you can appreciate but we should remember our “why” — what matters to us. Why are you doing what you do? Why did you take your job to begin with? Why did you marry your spouse and start a family? Why did you adopt a pet? Why do you volunteer with that non-profit? We oftentimes forget the reason that led us to make the decisions we have made. Think about those critical parts of your life and recall your “why”. If you are not in alignment with your initial reasoning, then figure out how to get back in alignment with that. I suspect the steps could be short and simple.

  1. Do something.

You have read this sentiment from me many times and it’s funny that I have to remind myself of this ocassionally. Take action. Do something. Clarity comes more from action than from thinking. If a team is not clicking, have a conversation, try something new to help the team gel. If you are personally feeling “not quite right”, take action and do something different. Have you stopped going for walks at lunch because your schedule is too crazy? Block your calendar and get back to your walks. Are you not jazzed about your current work projects? Think about what else you can do and jump into that. There is always opportunity in any organization. Find it and engage. Want to pick up a new skill? Take an online training course. Learning something new is a great way to get unstuck.

I hope you are feeling great and not struggling. For some of us, we are tired and not sure how much deeper we can dig for our motivation. If you have lost your smile all together, watch a funny movie immediately or go pet someone’s dog. It is impossible to not smile when cuddling with a fluffy dog. Simply impossible.

I have been through all of this in the past month and I feel I am coming out the other end with a newfound attitude and commitment to my “why” — helping people develop and grow in the careers they desire. My goal is to figure out how to create and deliver that in my organization, in my volunteer life and in my personal life. I am ready. Let’s do this.