Her life had been thrown into chaos. This was the first step in getting it back under control.
My friend got a diagnosis a few months back. It was one of those diagnoses that puts a complete stop to the life you’re living, and takes things on a whole new direction.
Poor darling. Anyway, she called me up because she wanted to talk logistics.
She said was finding the logistics overwhelming – within the greater overwhelm of her diagnosis, of course.
She was looking at everything she had to do. She had to figure out what treatment path she was going to follow. She had to look at her diet. She had to manage being a ping pong ball between doctor and specialist appointments. She had to organise her life to pretty much take half a year off.
She also had to take a look at herself and make sure that she was in alignment with a return to health. She had to manage her mood through it all. She had to manage her relationships.
Her to-do list ballooned into a book.
And it wasn’t like she had an abundance of time before the diagnosis. Life was busy. There were bills to pay. Debts to keep ahead of. Hustles to hustle.
It was like a bucket of troubles had opened up above her head.
And so she wanted to talk logistics.
“You manage projects, Dymphna. You do things that have lots of moving parts – lots of angry kittens each clamouring for attention. How do you stay on top of it all?”
I could see that she was crying out for a system.
In many ways, a to-do list is a system. You put things on the list, you do them, then you take them off the list. It’s a simple, but quite effective system…
… to a point.
And there will come a point where there are too many things to put on a to-do list – in a way that makes them feel organised and not overwhelming.
So what did I recommend to her?
I thought some people might find this interesting. Basically what I recommended was a sort of work-area buddy-system.
I suggested she identify all of the “work-areas” of her life that had been thrown into urgency by her diagnosis.
So there was the medical treatment. And there was her diet. And there was her finances and work life. Her spiritual life had been thrown into chaos too.
Anyway, I suggested she identify what those “work-areas” are then identify someone who might be a ‘buddy’ for her.
I always recommend people have a buddy for the financial journey – mates in the market I call them. It really helps having someone there who can help you process what’s going on and encourage you along.
She needed that for her finances, but she also suddenly needed it for a bunch of other life areas as well. She also needed someone she could vent to, and someone she could escape from it all with.
So maybe half a dozen people, something like that.
I suggest she identify her buddies, and then ask them for their help.
The good thing about doing it this way is that it makes it clear the support you’re asking for. If you ask someone to be your ‘medical treatment’ buddy, then they’re empowered to give energy to that area, while also knowing that they don’t have to support all the other aspects of your life. It becomes a bit cleaner.
And I think you’ll find if you identify someone’s strengths, and then ask them if you can lean into those strengths, I think most people will be deeply honoured and grateful for that reflection.
People, I’ve found, love to be useful, particularly in a time of crisis.
Anyway, I thought this was a good system for her, to help it feel like it was manageable, and to help her feel supported.
Maybe you’ll find it useful one day. Of course, you also don’t have to wait for you life to be tipped into chaos. You could get buddies for various aspects of your life, if you really want to power them along.
Anyway, my friend is sitting with it. I might let you know how its unfolding for her later.