When Your Productivity Lags, It Might Be A Good Thing

Aerial shot of a seascape with big waves and green water

In corporate leadership – and a lot of other places, to be honest – there is often the expectation of regular growth. We want that revenue or profit graph to be a steady rise from right to left, even though we know that’s not realistic. Obviously, the economy shifts and changes, going up and down. It’s not linear.

We also tend to expect our performance (and others’ performance). We think that our performance is going to continually improve. We also think that our motivation and our energy are going to be steadily increasing—or at least staying steady.

Or is it just me?

I’m working hard on my business, my project, and so on. I have my schedule. I keep going. Week after week. Unless I’m on vacation, of course.

But it doesn’t work that way.

I was recently reminded that with the flow, comes the ebb.

And that’s okay.

When we’re expending energy outward, we are in flow with our work and our lives. Things are going well. We’re super productive. We are enjoying our work and feeling very accomplished.

And then the ebb hits.

What does that mean? It means that we run out of outward energy. Our motivation drops. Our creativity drops. Our energy level for being productive drops.

This is actually a good thing! Truly.

Because we can only expend energy outward for so long, and then we have to go in. This is especially true of introverts, but even the most die-hard extrovert needs to go in.

Think about nature. Spring, summer, and even fall are going out seasons. Things are growing, blooming, and being fruitful. In winter, things go in. Growth stops and sometimes goes backward. Things become dormant. Leaves fall. The visible part of plants die.

They go inward to replenish their energy, to rest, to gather themselves for the next outward flow in the spring. Many kinds of plants and animals need that to survive.

I had a huge period of outflow this spring. I finished the first two books in my trilogy. I marketed them. I connected with new people. I put the first book out in the world… and a whole bunch of other things.

The book launch happened. I had great momentum. And then… I didn’t.

I was tired, unmotivated, and less than optimally productive. I couldn’t understand why.

Then I realized that I was in an ebb. I had been flowing for a long time, and it was time to rest, to restore, to go in.

And honestly, that is where creativity lives. Which for me is a good thing, because I need to write book three in my trilogy.

 So, that ebb is exactly what I need right now.

Rather than judging it, judging myself, I now embrace it. It’s a different kind of productivity, but just as vital.

Most importantly, I need to honor it, and set boundaries with myself and others to create space for it.

As women leaders, we need to remember that. Not only for ourselves but for those around us.

When we’ve just finished a big project, reached a major deadline, or gone through a long period of accelerated growth, we need to allow space for the ebb. We can’t expect “upward growth” to continue indefinitely.

The caveat, of course, is not to let them ebb go too long and to use it wisely. But I know you’ll do that!

So, are you in flow or ebb? Embrace them both!

Let me know in the comments if you are in an ebb or flow right now… and don’t forget to get all the information about my new novel Discovering Power and the entire Ascending Ladders Series at https://ascendingladders.com.


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