On this, “Ask Katrina,” the question is:
“Katrina, I’m exhausted. Why can’t people understand that?”
I think we all feel that exhaustion as corporate executive women and yet very few people really understand how exhausted we are.
And then, let’s just be honest, a lot of the world will turn around and say, “You’re exhausted because you did it to yourselves.“
At least we fear they will say that, whether they do or don’t, right?
We are thinking the feedback will be, “You decided you wanted to have the family, you decided you wanted to have the career. You decided. You knowingly took all of this on, so don’t complain when you’re exhausted.”
Yeah, we decided to take on a career because we’re good, we’re amazing, we have talents, we have skills, and we have a purpose.
We are phenomenally and fantastically amazing.
What we didn’t decide is the hours that we had to work.
What we didn’t decide is to have all of the politics and the junk, and the rules and the red tape and the glass ceilings and all of the things that stand in our way exist simply to hold us back.
We didn’t decide to battle exhaustion.
We work diligently to use our gifts and serve.
We didn’t decide to put all those obstacles in our way.
We just showed up and said. “I’m here, I’m awesome, use me.”
Exhaustion Resulting from One-Arm Boxing
Think about it like a boxing match. We show up to the fight thinking we can use both hands.
We’re showing up as the high-achieving women we are, in addition to the fact that we’ve also chosen intentionally to have a family and to have a life outside of our careers.
Because we want to have a 3-dimensional life full of both professional and personal joy, we’re having to sit in a box defined and designed by other people in the world (hence the glass ceilings, the micro-aggressions, etc.).
So for us, we’re fighting with one hand behind our backs.
We thought that the world had changed, that we had more equality, fairness, and a worthy opponent. Instead, we have a bigger, stronger opponent in the world that has existed longer than us.
Now with these limitations placed upon us, it doesn’t mean we can’t punch, but it does mean we must choose which we will do at one time, we can only block or we can only punch.
Ultimately we’re a little bit behind in our moves.
So we are battling the world and exhaustion at the same time.
We’re out there kicking butt bigger, better, stronger, and even more so than the majority of other people.
While that doesn’t make us better than anyone else, it does make us tired.
People don’t understand that.
They don’t understand how hard the fight is. Because they don’t fight in the same way.
That’s just our reality.
And sometimes it’s hard for other people to step into someone else’s reality.
Perception is Reality When it Comes to Exhaustion
So you are fighting exhaustion and no one understands that in part because they can’t.
But the other reason they don’t understand is because you’re so good at fighting with one hand.
People see you and they see your strength. They see your accomplishments and your determination. They see your achievements and they think you have it all under control.
“She’s got it.”
It’s hard for them to fathom the fact or, even understand the idea that you’re exhausted.
Where you’re exhaustion originates isn’t something they can see or understand because it’s not the path they are walking down.
So they don’t see it that way.
Combine this with the fact that you are you, and you can see why they can’t fathom the concept that you are exhausted.
Here’s what I will tell you if you’re exhausted, give yourself some grace.
Allow other people around you to help.
Share with your loved ones why you’re exhausted.
Take what I just shared,put that in your own words, and go share it with your spouse or your best friend, or your parent, or whomever you need to hear it so that maybe they can understand.
With this understanding, they help you rest because they didn’t know they need to until now.
And then allow them to help you.
If all of this makes sense and yet you want some support navigating it, schedule a 15-minute call and let’s chat.
When you’re ready, here are 3 additional ways I can help you on your professional journey:
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I have a new female corporate executive case study group here at Legend Leaders. If you want to know what to do in your career (clarity) and how to do it (confidence) in 60 days, you should learn more about this case study. Send an email to email@example.com with the subject line “Case Study” and a bit about yourself, and we will get you the details.
3. Work with me and my team privately
Maybe you want clarity, support, and accountability but you prefer the 1:1 environment vs. a group or self-paced program. If that’s you, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject “Private” and tell me a little about yourself and what you’d like to work on together. I’ll follow up with you from there.