Ever hit that big goal, and then have nothing left emotionally for a while? A post-partum feeling of emptiness and maybe even depression, the blues and blahs after hitting MDRT or having your best year ever or running that marathon?
Yeah, me too.
And the greater the accomplishment, the greater the valley after climbing the mountain of achievement. After doing my double marathon it hit me harder than Mike Tyson teeing off on an obnoxious clown.
I had a mentor, one of the top producers in the HISTORY of his company (one of the big three in the industry), who every January was clinically depressed as year after year he stacked great production up. Many a champion gets into a funk after taking the title. Climbing the mountain is more exciting and invigorating than the hike down.
So how do we make sure that success does not turn into suck?
- Know that it is coming. Acknowledge the potential of the downturn emotionally after success.
- Schedule some self time. A little pampering after a race, or a celebration after hitting that goal is smart.
- Take time off. Day after a Ragnar or other huge physical activity I will take a few walks to stretch the legs, but I won’t actually run for three or four days. The couple days after the end of a deadline at work I schedule off and disappear and deplug. When I finish writing a book, I don’t look at it for a few days.
- Come back with a plan. I ease back into running with an easy run, then a little longer a few days later, then a longer one with cross training scheduled in. For work I go non-client facing for a day, then half my normal load, then full load within a few days then up to overload for maybe a week to really get in the swing of things after a week and to get a jump on the new period’s goals.
- Talk to someone. Maybe not a professional, but for a few days after an event my running team checks in with each other to make sure no one slips too low. Same with my study group in January.
Challenging ourselves is part of human nature, and is what allows us to achieve success personally and professionally. But rest and recovery are equally important, whether mentally or for muscles. Knowing that we are going to be sore and tired after we push our limits is part of the self-knowledge required for growth, and getting through the rough patches is part of the training of life.