Stuck in my Routine


A week ago my grandmother tragically passed away.  This unexpected event forced many uncomfortable emotions to boil out of the pot, and initiated a reflection of my own life.  That has created some movement in my life towards some pretty big changes.

The passing of my grandmother Joyce last week kicked off one of the worst weeks of my life.  Her death was instantaneous, but unexpected.  She felt no struggle, fear or pain. She just left.  For her, a happy moment with her husband turned into an endless emptiness here on earth.

But for me and the rest of my family, our lives went from our daily routine to a tragedy we could barely contain. It didn’t feel so much like driving your car into a wall — even that gives you a few seconds of preparation — but more like waking up in the hospital not knowing what happened to put you there.  My family and I aren’t wrestling with what happened in that moment that she died, we’re trying to figure out what happens next.

After a few days of anxious preparations, we had a funeral, buried her, and people went back to their homes to get back into the routine of their home lives.

For me, this idea is highly discomforting. Life isn’t the same anymore, and pretending it is just stresses me out. So, I left town to do some soul searching.

What I’ve Learned Through Reflection

Bear with me a bit, as I’m still processing all of this. It all happened just a few days ago. 

I have one realization that keeps coming to mind as I reflect:  “routine” doesn’t mean “comfortable.”

My life doesn’t feel routine while I’m living in it minute by minute. While I’m at work there’s an endless stream of growing pains, client challenges, systems to improve, sales obstacles and the like. I’m not working on a monotonous assembly line. Every day is new and challenging. I guess I thought that a routine would set-in once things were well oiled and smooth running.  At that point, I believed I could use that newfound freedom to shake things up to get us to the next level.

Having a week to step back and process things, I realize how routine things actually are. Week after week, I help keep things in the current mode. I support people to do better work, but only within the boundaries of what our work currently is. This is routine, and I am a part of the grind.  

Routine is the seed that grows complacency, which creates mediocrity. Perhaps I’ve already fallen back to mediocrity, and I didn’t even recognize it.  It’s time for me to force a change in myself.

What To Do Next?

Honestly, I’m not sure exactly sure what happens next. I’m still  trying to sort that out.  But, I know that I’m not the same person I was a week ago.  I know I’m less tolerant of perpetuating my routine.  As a natural result, I feel some changes coming on:

  • I need to empower my team even more than I have, by encouraging them to solve their own problems so I have more space to expand the business.
  • I need to be even more vigilant with how I use my time. I must learn to say no to things which seem important, if they hold back larger opportunities.
  • Continue to support the tremendous team we have, with even more vigilance than before. Importantly, I need to stop coddling them as much as I do.

The fact that I was able to walk away in an instant, for over a week, and the company continues to thrive is a testament to the amazing people on my team and the company we have created together.

Right now I’m grieving. But when I come back, I'm going to downshift and punch the accelerator.