It’s Natural to Feel Ebb & Flow in Your Work | Blog

It’s Natural to Feel Ebb & Flow in Your Work

One of the most common criticisms I have of myself, and I hear other entrepreneurs and leaders say about themselves, falls in the category of productivity. It shows up in comments like, “I did not get done what I wanted or needed to today.” or “I need to get more focused, organized, disciplined, etc.” Getting enough done, being more productive feels like a battle and something that needs to be fixed if we're going to get ahead or be successful. 

The to-do lists keep growing, and our energy and focus dwindle. The discipline and inspiration we started with diminishes. We can't seem to get focused or stay on track, and our minds are full of what we should be doing. Pretty soon, feeling behind seems like the new norm. You make a list for everything you're going to do, and yet you can't make it happen.

During these times, we get worried about ourselves. We judge ourselves, and often the inner name-calling begins with words like, “lazy, unorganized, not committed, etc.” We worry that maybe we don't have what it takes to make this business work or take it to the next level. We look for the right tool, the right morning routine, the right planner – that magic pill that will help us finally get our act together. 

What if you're not experiencing a fixed problem or state but rather a temporary ebb in your energy or productivity? Ebbs and flows are a natural part of business. In fact, ebb and flow is part of life. It's our nature, and you see evidence of it when you look at all of nature.

Ebb and flow point to the fluidity of things. The continuous change and movement of patterns, of seasons, of the tides. Ebb and flow applies to our state-of-mind as well. It's fluctuating all day. We have moments of clarity, and then we're confused. We're awake, and then we're numb. We're focused then distracted. We're in the creative flow, and then we're not. 

We have seasons and times when we are energized and can go for long hours and we have times when we need rest – maybe for days. We are full of hope and excitement about our business's potential and times when we feel lost and insecure. Times when opportunities are coming at us in many directions and times when it feels dry. 

Every day, in every life, and in every business, there are ebbs and flows. It's natural. We have seasons in our lives and our work and our creative expression. Times when we are super productive and times when no matter how hard we try, we can't do much. Our minds are distracted, our energy is low, effort just feels too hard. 

When we understand that ebb and flow are part of our nature, we can learn to go with the flow, with our natural pace. We learn to lean into the natural momentum of the moment rather than fighting our state-of-mind or ourselves. 

Frustration occurs when we compare this moment or this day or this season to those moments when we were more productive or had more energy. We get frustrated and bogged down internally when we resist where we are currently or wish we were different. Fighting it creates more stress.

Grace, freedom and energy are available when we go with the ebb or the flow, not against it. The trick is not to try and change it, override or overpower it, but to navigate from where we are. Surrender to the natural order and pace of life and discover what is meant for you at this moment.

Ebb and flow means that whatever is temporarily not there will come back. That includes energy, productivity, clarity, creativity, hope, joy, peace-of-mind – you name it. Our experiences come and go. They fluctuate. Knowing this and going with this naturally is ultimately way more efficient and graceful. 

The truth is that as much as we plan, hope, and dream in our work, we must remember, we are also always moving along with the flow and energy of life. Ebb and flow are part of our nature, and when we surrender to it, we see the gift of it.

“Grace, freedom and energy are available when we go with the ebb or the flow, not against it.”

“Like the ebb and flow of tides. No one can do anything to change them. When it is time to wait, you must wait.” – Haruki Murakami

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Barbara Patterson is the owner of a global coaching and consulting company helping solopreneurs, entrepreneurs & leaders access more clarity, creativity, have greater impact and higher levels of fulfillment in work and life. She is the founder of Beyond Limits in Business, a global platform and community designed to point people to the source of human potential. That potential resides within and is experienced via our minds. If you’d like to experience in-depth, robust and transformative mentoring for you and your business check out Barb’s 4-month virtual Beyond Limits Small Group Mentoring ProgramBarb is also the host of the Real Business Real Lives podcast. You can follow Barb on LinkedinTwitter and Instagram. You can also subscribe to her weekly blog on her website at 



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