Sometimes it’s supposed to be messy

by | Nov 2, 2021

Darcy Luoma is one of America’s most highly credentialed coaches. She’s worked in 48 industries, with more than 500 organizations, and has impacted tens of thousands of leaders and employees.


My life is a mess right now.

As the mom of two teenage daughters and a teenage cat with newly unpredictable litter box habits, I deal with messes in my house every day. Those are easy, if not stinky, to clean up.

But it’s not only the physical mess that I’m dealing with. You know how when you clean a really messy closet, you make a bigger mess in the room before it gets better? Well right now, I have a lot of big messes in my life that have spilled out and taken over my thoughts.

I’m dealing with the mess that comes with grief. I’m coming to terms with a world that does not include my mom. And the challenges that come with wanting to make everything better for my dad. I haven’t figured it out yet, and I know it only comes with time. That’s going to be messy for a while.

Our family schedule is a mess. After being home, together—I mean every-single-moment together—for 18 months, my girls are finally back to in-person school. Their activities have started again and the mom taxi service is running overtime. We’re still figuring out our new routines and finding time to spend time together outside of the minivan. I’m counting down the days until Josie can take her drivers’ test—though I know that has the potential to create its own new messes. 😊

And maybe because of my mom’s passing, the unpredictability of COVID-19, and watching my girls grow up sooo fast right before my eyes, I’m taking stock of my own life and priorities. Just like cleaning out the closest, shifting how I spend my time feels messy. And it can lead to some messy conversations.

Let me give you an example.

As a business owner, it’s important to me to approve anything that goes out with my name on it. This can create bottlenecks at times and—especially at busy times when I’m consciously choosing to spend more time with my girls—this can cause frustration for my team and guilt for me. (I hate feeling like I’m holding people up, and the piles were further exasperated by the fact that I had spent many hours by my mom’s side in her final months.) We had reached a point where things were falling through the cracks, and we needed to have a conversation.

We talk about having Balanced conversations all the time. (Here’s a link. Here’s another. Here’s one more. You could also say I wrote a book about it.) So this should be clean and simple for Team DLCC, right?

Moment of truth… It’s not!

Admittedly, it is easier to have these conversations because we have designed our team alliance. It’s easier because we lean into courage, compassion, and curiosity. And we can name any team toxins if they sneak in. All that said, important conversations where we’re trying to find a win-win solution are messy! In fact, that’s usually a good sign we’re on the right track.

In our conversation, I had the courage to say that I was overwhelmed and falling further behind by the day and was feeling bad about it. My team had the compassion to not make me feel worse and the curiosity to help me troubleshoot. I also had the courage to say which of their solutions weren’t going to work for me and compassion to listen openly when they stated their frustration with my resistance. At one point, we all fell silent. We were in the middle of the mess. The conversation felt awkward. I wasn’t sure if my team’s silence was stonewalling or meaningful reflection.

So I decided to be vulnerable and share what I was thinking. I said, “This feels hard. I’m curious if you’re thinking, frustrated, or something else?”

That broke the ice. Turns out it was a little of both. I wish I could say we figured out a long-term solution, but we did arrive at a short-term solution to help release the pressure on all of us. And we committed to tackle the long-term once we feel more stabilized and less overwhelmed as a system.

One-Minute Core Workout

Being Thoughtfully Fit doesn’t mean that every conversation comes easy. They’re bound to feel messy, because life is messy. When you engage your core and choose to practice Balance, it’s easier to embrace the mess and get through to the other side.One-minute-workout

So here’s your workout for the week:

  • Pause. Conversations are bound to feel messy. When you notice the mess, hit the Pause button.
  • Think. What’s feeling messy? What do you ultimately want from the conversation you’re having?
  • Act. Have the courage, compassion, and curiosity to continue the conversation. Don’t run away from or ignore the mess.

I know I’m not the only one dealing with a messy life right now. For those of you dealing with your own mess, I’m right there with you.

Like your overflowing closet, it might still get messier, but it’s helpful to know that I’m not the only one. And you aren’t either.


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