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When Flow Doesn't Flow

Updated: Apr 3

If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you know how I feel about “work-life balance”.  I’m not a fan and don’t think “balance” is a fair term.  I much prefer the term “flow”- allowing us to flex for personal or professional needs as the situations arise.

Are you like me?  I pride myself on being organized with my time, to-dos, and planning.  I carve out time for being a CEO, a coach, a consultant, a strategic thinker, a writer.  At home I make space for being a wife, mother, daughter, friend and even sometimes for myself.

But what happens when one part of your world takes over all the others...and the flow is gone?  For me that is happening with the declining health of a parent.  Hospital stays, specialist visits, home care needs and constant support to family as the “clinically knowledgeable” family member has thrown any semblance of routine out the window.

And although I would not have it any other way, it is time consuming, mentally/emotionally/physically exhausting.  There are periods of intense hope, optimism, partnered with fear, deep sorrow and helplessness in everyone in our family.

In all of that, there are shiny little moments: stories and memories, dreams and regrets, and a deeper understanding of our loved ones.  I wouldn’t trade those moments for any work deadlines.

But what about work???  Here is what I am learning in the moment as this unfolds:

  • Perspective: Is it more important to be there when he needs help with a new specialist or make my blog deadline? I am learning how to put things in perspective- to see the big picture.  To make time for what really matters most.  (hint- it's not the blog deadline)

  • Ask for help: It can be as little as asking for help with dinner to outsourcing parts of work and home.  You get to decide but ask for the help you need.  Your community WANTS to help...they need to know how.

  • Be flexible:  Work when you can.  I can take calls from the car, bring my laptop to my parent’s house, catch up on blogs or podcasts using voice-to-text while in the waiting room, and so on.  Creativity is key here! 

  • Communicate and be transparent: Ok this one might hit a nerve... but hear me out.  I find that letting my colleagues, co-workers, and collaborators know what I’m dealing with makes a huge difference for the better. It allows them to understand why items might be delayed, what my schedule is like, and how they can support the business while I’m supporting family. I know some of you may want to keep your private life private, but I have always found people empathize, share their stories and advice, and genuinely want to help. 

  • Care for me so I can care for them: It’s surprising how tired I get while caring for a parent. I make sure I get rest, moments of fresh air, moments of laughter, and whatever else I need to keep my cup filled for them. 

  • Give myself grace: You know, the stuff we find so easy to give others but not ourselves?  I’m working hard at talking to myself as I would a child, giving myself space to feel all the feelings, and not being so hard on myself.  It’s a work in progress.


When I do these things, I find that I have better “flow”, and I am not as behind as I think.  I will continue to live through this phase for appreciation of those shiny little moments, the honor to be part of their journey, and the knowledge that my flow will be right where it needs to be.

How do you keep your flow when the flow seems gone??  I can't wait to hear.


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