Brene Brown and Me by Debra Mugnani Monroe

French bull dog not walking

Hello! Wondering how you’re doing these days. Here’s what is happening for me after six weeks of sheltering in place. One day last week, my body and mind behaved like the French bulldog my neighbor takes out for walks. He often just stops in his tracks and refuses to budge. My mind was just done, tired of pushing through no matter what to get things done, to figure out what the best things to get done are, and to keep the wheels turning. I decided to pay attention and took a mental health day. Once I made the decision, I was able to get a few emails answered and the day was not a complete loss but it seems that respecting the French bull dog in me is wise. The next day I woke up and wasn’t feeling 100% but better so when 9 am rolled around, I hesitated to follow through and watch a webinar I’d registered for earlier in the week. It was featuring Brene Brown, an author I’ve long admired. I hesitated to attend because over the past six weeks of Covid-19 captivity, I have lost track of the number of webinars I’ve attended and I sometimes question if my time would be better spent on other things. I was also still feeling some French bulldog resistance. However, I remembered that inevitably when I do attend a webinar, there will be a really useful nugget or a veritable treasure trove of new and useful information waiting for me there.

I am learning as much as I can about the employer’s responsibilities and best practices during a pandemic so that we do what we need to do and so I can also offer our clients and employees helpful information. Many times I also leave with renewed hope about the future and a reminder that I’m not the only small business owner dealing with all this uncertainty and that we all really are in this together.

I decided to join the webinar. There was a Q and A area on the website and the audience of 30,000 was encourages to ask their questions for Brene and to include your name, title, company name and city. Because of yesterday’s experience, the question that was top of mind was this: Could you ask Brene to speak to stamina? As a small business owner I have a lot of experience dealing with crises but this crisis is going on for a much longer duration. Close to the end of the seminar, the moderator said she wanted to ask just one or two more questions and asked mine! It was so exciting to hear my name, company name and question asked and then to see Brene looking right at me through zoom and say, “I am a CEO too and I know what you mean. You’ve got to understand this isn’t a crisis, this is a marathon. What I recommend is a soccer term, which is taking time to ‘settle the ball.” The idea is sometimes in a game or in life or in business it’s important to pause, look at the field and reassess or decide what the next sensible move is. Not all moves will lead to a point scored but your odds are much better if you take a minute to settle the ball and make a calculated play. This reframe is an important one to remember. We’re in a marathon, and for some of us, probably more of an Spartan or Big Mudder, so we need those days where we put on the brakes and take a pause, regroup, settle the ball and charge forward again with renewed gusto. I’m sharing a link to a recent episode of Brene’s podcast where she speaks about our collective weariness and expands on the idea of settling the ball.

So after listening to Brene’s wisdom, now I see that my French Bull Dog self was telling me to stop and take a pause. I’m glad I listened and I’m glad I watched the webinar too.

Please take good care of yourselves and pay attention to your self care needs. None of us have been through a pandemic before and we are all doing the best we can. Let’s take it one day at a time and remember, today, we are one day closer to the end of this thing.

Here’s the link:

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