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Beating 'The Funk'

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As leaders, we hold a lot on our plates. From work, family, and personal life, things happen to pile up on us. 

The overwhelming feeling sometimes deters us from being the best versions of ourselves. In a world of being better than we were the day before, we are now bound to this attitude that can slow our progress. It happens to everyone from time to time. Internal and external forces can start to sway you from your path and you get distracted and unmotivated. This leads to “The Funk.”  

Let’s look at my current situation for example, I am writing this article from my bed as I go through day five of having COVID-19.  Five days of fever has made it hard to keep up with fluids.

Dehydration makes my eyes blurry, so I will rely on NOLN’s associate editor to read this over and ensure there are not too many mistakes. Here I am typing away between naps.  


When It Hits

Admittedly, one of the easiest ways to keep from getting in The Funk is to not put yourself there. You let some things slip past you so that they don’t put you in a situation where you feel overwhelmed, followed by the feeling of hopelessness. This is where your path planning comes into play. 

Know your actual deadlines and make plans to complete your project way before it's actually done. This way, if life throws you a curveball you can easily manage it, rather than cram at the end. And yes—I know everyone is busy. The key is being busy with tomorrow's needs, not today’s.  

It is common to have this feeling  of Funk, because of multiple things that need to be done at the same time. In previous articles, we talked about how you can decide what needs to be done, and in what order, by sorting tasks as important and unimportant, as well as urgent and not urgent. 

Remember to utilize your network that you have built to delegate to others that can handle tasks you cannot at the time. Do not be greedy with important tasks. Remember that delegation builds others on your team and builds your character.  

Knowing that you have several items that you have to complete yourself can be daunting as well. Breaking down tasks into small, attainable goals can keep you motivated towards meeting all your deadlines. Simply jotting these steps down on a paper and scratching them off can give you the motivation needed to keep going. 

This is a motivator for many top leaders in all fields. When interviews are held, one of the most common success tips is keeping a list of things that need to get done and then completing the list. It is simple yet satisfying.   


Accept and Improve

But here I am, doing things at the last minute under less-than-ideal situations. This brings me back to a memory from when I visited an NFL training facility a few years ago. On the wall of the weight room was a graphic that read, “embrace the suck.” I thought that was fitting, because I saw a bunch of dirty bird logos. But the weights manager explained to me that it’s a military term, in which you accept that things are less than ideal. Rather than feeling down about it, you accept it as a challenge.  This mindset strengthens your agenda and sets you up for a greater victory. Completing something challenging is more rewarding than completing something simpler.  

The Funk happens to all ranks of leaders at all times of their lives. Quickly acknowledging it and putting steps into place will keep you from sliding off your path. While preventing the buildup of work is the best way of preventing the feeling, understanding it, planning, delegating, and embracing the challenge  puts you back in control of your path.   


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