One of the things that I have always taken pride in is my ability to pick things up quickly. I’ve had a lot of different tasks thrown at me over my career, and I’ve always been able to either run with them or at least fake it while I frantically research what I’m supposed to do until I make it.
So when I come up against something that I feel like I should be able to do and all of my usual tactics for learning on the fly don’t work, I feel gut-wrenchingly deflated.
I’m speaking from recent experience, of course. While I have been reasonably assured I’ve not let anyone down, it’s tough for me to think that this is true. I don’t think I realized how much pressure I put on myself to perform, so when I flopped, I got a bit weepy.
Once I dried my eyes and enjoyed a pint or two with an old friend, I expected to say that I could see clearly and got a new perspective . But I didn’t: I only gotten worse. I was irritable! Touchy! Frustrated! A bit of a jerk!
To whom the Thursday version of me can say, “Get over yourself.”
In hindsight, I can call upon all of those simple little lessons about learning from failure and knowing when to ask for help and not going in against a Sicilian when death is on the line and stuff like that. All of that is obvious now. But when I’m in the thick of it, even those most obvious life lessons are hard to access.
I like to think I generally keep cool and have a measured response to whatever comes my way, and maybe that’s even true. But every now and then I fall apart, like Bonnie Tyler in a boarding school, and how I bounce back from that is key.
I’m making a bit of a mountain out of a molehill here to stress the importance of checking your mental health. Be aware of how you are feeling, and if you are not feeling so great, talk to someone who knows you well. Don’t be afraid to let your guard down and admit you’re struggling. And don’t beat yourself up. We need you cool. Are you cool? Good.