I want to share a few Sustainable Productivity lessons I learned from life this past week. As I general rule I try to keep life consistent, boring, and predictable – that is how I define Sustainable Productivity for me right now. But as we know from poet Mike Tyson, everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.

The past several weeks have been a season of life on a banana peel. Maybe you can relate? I have really had to lean on the concept of Real Me vs Ideal Me to focus on the one thing in front of me or to regularly change the one thing in front of me.

I want to share a few of the Sustainable Productivity lessons that I’ve learned from the banana peel. They relate to different dimensions of Sustainable Productivity and have broader implications (as most life lessons do).

Health and Fitness Lesson

Lesson 1: Take Care of Your Health

As I write this we are in the middle of the 2023 NCAA basketball tournament. My bracket is busted after day 2 (I’m looking at you, Purdue) and my rear is tired from all the time on the couch watching games (sorry, not sorry). One of the biggest stories is that the Kansas coach, Bill Self, is not on the bench. He was having chest pains a couple weeks ago, got checked out, and had stents placed.

Generally I don’t multitask as I write, but banana peel living has put me behind on all my deadlines so here I am drafting this post while watching Kansas take on Arkansas.

Back to business as usual, right? NO. This is where the lesson comes in. He is taking his doctor’s recommendations seriously and letting his assistant’s coach right now. Although he is connect to the team in practice and such, he is not on the bench for games – during THE TOURNAMENT. This is a big damn deal in college coaching. I love this. In a time where athletes are called “warriors” who “do battle” and “go to war,” this puts sports in perspective.

Perspective that we could all stand a little dose of because without your health you don’t have anything else. Not money, a hot spouse, overachieving kids, a C-suite job. Nothing.

Mental Well-being Lesson

Lesson 2: We need to be more evolved than trees

This year I have started taking classes towards being a certified Master Gardener. Right now that means classroom lectures and textbook reading. Because of a long trip for my day job the week before, I was distracted, jet lagged, and feeling like I should be five other places. Then this slide came up.

They will always have that wound although the tree may grow around it. The tree can live and thrive if there is nothing infecting the area when the would closes up, but it will always have that wound.

I sat right up and took some notes. I love this so much – we need to be more evolved than trees. Heal your wounds, don’t just stuff them down. Look at those scars in the cross section of the trunk. If a lightning bolt cuts into this tree and exposes this wound, it puts the whole tree at risk.

The parable here is pretty clear. If you have a wound from your childhood, a previous relationship, or even a misunderstanding with your boss last week – don’t stuff that shit down. If you just compartmentalize and trudge along, the next storm will open you back up. The fallout could be exponential to the original wound. Whether it is therapy, a trusted friend, recovery, or a support group, find a way through your wound. You are not a tree.

Trees don’t heal, they compartmentalize.

NC Agriculture Extension

A better writer than me would have tied this all together with a lesson from the Environmental Surroundings dimension to nicely cover all three dimensions of Sustainable Productivity, but well… see previous banana peel. This one is critical. This is the lesson I want to leave you with: Ask for help.

Sustainable Productivity Lesson

Lesson 3: Ask for help

I usually am the person in our family that handles supply chain and logistics. I make sure there is a plan B, supplies to pivot to plan C, and humor for plan D. When I was traveling for my day job last week, I had slept about 4 hours each night, spent 12 -15 hours a day with people, and was on day 6 of my 7 day trip. I was so ready to be home. As I sat in a very loud room with 75 people (who had just come off an hour of an open bar whilst I drank my club soda) waiting for dinner, America Airlines cancelled my flight home. No rebooking, just a no thank you – do not board, do not collect $200.

I went to refill my club soda to take a time out. By the time I got back, American Airlines had rebooked me OUT OF ANOTHER AIRPORT THAT HERTZ WOULD NOT LET ME RETURN MY CAR TO.

I almost cried. Which would have been the go to for Stressed Out Sue.

But I am healing into Sustainable Sue! I went against my nature and asked for help. Bixby rebooked my flight and my boss suggested a co-worker to return my car. Boom solved. Dinner enjoyed.

I know many of you struggle asking for help. I see you and I am you.

And I am suggesting there is another way forward.

Sustainable You Reflections

  1. What can you do today to take care of your health?
  2. What can you do today to take care of your mental well-being?
  3. What small thing can you ask for help with today?

I would love to hear the responses to these reflections. If you need a safe space to process or just want an accountability buddy, you can reach me at Susan@SustainableSue.com or find me on Instagram or Facebook

Until next time remember to create productive results in a way that you can sustain and that sustain YOU.