THINKING BUSINESS
a blog by Chris Barrow

What to do when you are in a funk

It happens to me when I work in one spot for more than, say, three days. I suppose it’s because I have become such a reluctant road warrior these days, that when I sit in my UK apartment for three days solid, answering emails in the morning and then spending afternoons and evenings on the phone (call-in days and webinars this week), that by the third day I’m feeling quite claustrophobic. A client today asked me for a strategy to deal with her feelings of passion, excitement and overwhelm as she starts a brand new coaching practice and cannot sleep with a head full of ideas. There are a couple of responses to this: 1. Yesterday I received my copy of Coaching Insider, the new e-newspaper created by Susan Austin and team – and she featured a quotation by Thomas Leonard, which I paraphrase as “don’t keep stuff in your head – it’s a lousy filing cabinet – write it down and go to sleep with your head empty” – not Thomas’s exact words but my spin; 2. And for the last 25 years, the way I have “straightened out the spaghetti” in my own head is through exercise – notably running. Yesterday started badly – I discovered that my internet connection was down and after four and half hours in call waiting systems and chatting to increasingly dumbfounded engineers I was ready to scream. Credit here to Guy Levine, who I called to request help. He arrived 45 minutes later from his home in North Manchester and fixed me up in 10 minutes. The problem? My wireless router had somehow disconnected overnight and the laptop couldn’t find it. All the engineers hadn’t thought of that. Guy Levine, computer repair man – turn out charge a glass of diet coke. Knowing what to do – priceless. Thanks mate. Anyway – back to “funk”. The computer problems set me back and there was no time for my late morning run – before the call-in day started at noon. By 4.00pm I was in a funk of my own – just stir crazy and staring the the laptop screen like Jack Nicholson after the lobotomy in “One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest”. Solution – a break in calls at 4.30pm – off comes the jeans and t-shirt – on goes the running gear – and I’m off – through Dunham Massey Golf Course, down to the Bridgewater Canal and back through Dunham Massey Hall and Deer Park. As I ran along the canal, the skies darkened and I was drenched by a short and severe thunderstorm – raindrops the size of golf balls, a freezing east wind and I struggled to see my path ahead. It was wonderful. I returned to my apartment wet through, cold, oxygenated, metabolised and ready. A bracing shower with my favourite lemon soap from Lush. Jeans and t-shirt back on. Ready for coaching from 6.00pm till 10.00pm last night and two of our best recent bridge calls with dentists and coaches. Training for the London Marathon has really lifted my whole well-being. So your lesson for today is – if in a funk – empty your head and fill it with fresh air. And run in a rainstorm.

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