No. This is not a post about dating or stalkers or even romantic love. But the title is still appropriate…
Let me explain.
On a regular basis I think that everything I’ve ever done was leading me to this place in my career. Every step on the path was just bringing me to Tourlane. To this role. To this crazy season of leading the tech teams in the midst of a global pandemic. 4 years ago when I was in Stockholm for a job interview that would bring me to Europe, I would have said you were nuts if you had told me I’d end up in a travel tech startup in Berlin.
And yet…here I am. (I love you)
And…I’m tired. Not of Tourlane. Not of my Team. Not of the Challenge. Not of the Future in front of us. Not of the work.
Just tired. (Please leave me alone)
I’m – pandemic – tired.
I’m – miss my family – tired.
I’m – haven’t seen my baby niece yet – tired.
I’m – slept in the same bed for 553 nights – tired.
The exhaustion pokes at my motivation and my patience. Burnout is a cloud of fog that my brain must push through to get to the strategy papers and the product vision. Motivation is at the long end of a rope that I’m dragging up from the bottom of the sea with an anchor attached.
And on the other side of the exhaustion, fog and rope…there is the job I love. The challenge I need. The connection I crave. It’s there…calling me back to myself. My crazy, ambitious, energetic self.
I tell you this because our teams…the humans who show up daily to get things done…are feeling the same.
They believe in the company and the vision…and are worn out
They want to come back to the office…and the commute feels like it’s to the moon
They are thrilled to work with and for such amazing people…and are not sure they have space in their bubble to engage deeply
I love you. Please leave me alone.
So what do we do?
First, I think we talk about it. Let’s discuss the exhaustion. Not to compete for who is most tired…but to show each other genuine empathy and understanding.
Second, as leaders let’s ask “When are you going on holiday?” until we get an answer that is more than a shoulder shrug.
Third, let’s tell each other that it’s going to be okay. Let’s discuss how we can be eager, ambitious, highly productive and uncertain about how it’s all going to come together all at the same time. Let’s make space for discussing what is possible and what is impossible. Let’s be realistic…even while we shoot for the moon!
We can be a force for good with one another when we gently but consistently check on each other’s mental health. When we ask each other (as my dear friend Brad does regularly), “What are you looking forward to in the next few weeks?” When we are concerned with the heart of the person alongside the career growth of the person.
Then “Please leave me alone” can become “I love you. Thanks for seeing me and helping me recharge.”