You wake up in the morning and the first thing you do is reach for your phone
It might have once been to check in with how you feel but you've learned to leave well enough alone.
Your throat is dry, your body heavy, stiff, and in a degree of pain. You already know you didn't get enough sleep.
You head straight to your emails. You hold your breath with anticipation, the anticipation of starting your day reactively.
You've moved passed the place where you allowed yourself to hope that you could enjoy your family and get ready for your day calm and present to the people you love.
You know they deserve your presence and attention but worry has you trying to mentally solve the problems your email presents almost daily.
You tell yourself that if you don't focus on work they won't be able to have all the nice things they have.
You know deep down that's just a story, they'd swap all their stuff for your attention in a heart beat.
You get dressed, yet another task that reminds you of the health you once had as you have to lean against things in order to stand on one leg and put your pants on.
Porridge and coffee next, they have become part of your survival kit. Without that burst of sugar and caffeine there is every chance you wouldn't be alert enough to drive to the office.
You get in the car, it pains you that this moment of alone time feels like solace but you're glad for it nonetheless. It has become one of the only times where there is no demand on your attention.
You get to work and you're in the zone. It's a funny thing but the work is the one place in your life where you have reached a level of unconscious competence.
The irony of the fact that the source of your wealth, success, confidence and even fulfilment is also the likely source of much of your stress is not lost.
Meetings, conference calls, emails, staff, deadlines.
You've become accustomed to the fact that everyone wants your time, that today's to do list won't get done, that somethings will slip.
Those somethings will inevitably be those relationships that need your support but support mode just isn't where you are.
You're in fire fighting mode but it's only you that can see the fire and only you that can put it out.
You're conscious daily of a little voice at the back of your mind.
"Drink some water"
"don't eat the biscuits"
"stop relying on coffee"
"go for a walk"
"have a salad"
"Do some exercise"
"Put your phone away"
"Give them attention"
But the voice is too timid, too quiet.
It never quite manages to over power the voices pushing you to put out the fire.
You finally leave the office, not because of triumph or a job done but due to a combination resignation, guilt, exhaustion and self preservation.
You arrive home and if you're honest you would like some time to relax and unwind but you keep quiet, you know your family deserve your attention.
You grab a glass of wine, the only way you can force yourself to unwind.
Your relationship feels strained, your partner wants attention but your mind is stuck in a world half way between trying to relax and problem solving mode. Your abrupt responses provoke emotional fall out.
Fall out that you don't feel you have the energy to fix, so you withdraw. You avoid subjects, you go to a different room, you turn on the tv, you avoid intimacy. You nudge your children toward play that requires the least effort on your part.
In-between visits to your phone you eat, put your children to bed and finally collapse, with a bottle of wine on the sofa.
And there you stay hoping to be pulled into the television into a world that might distract you enough to allow you to get a better rest tonight.
A rest that you don't really believe will come or truly met the requirements.
If you're ready to stop living this life on repeat, then get in touch.
I help business leaders to take back their health and live with more fun, freedom and fulfilment.