The Morning After

This reflection appeared first in my quarterly newsletter. Subscribe at the bottom of the page if you’d like to be in on the next one.

Have you poured yourself into any big events lately? Maybe a you gave a presentation, shipped a product, had a big exam, or an important conversation?

As creative people, we all have these big events that require our energy, bravery and vulnerability. These are the moments that scare us, but also make us feel alive.

But what happens on the morning after?

I can relate to Seth Godin when he says, “There is a period after a particularly audacious product ships that feels a lot like being dead.” Brené Brown calls this feeling a “vulnerability hangover”, when you reflect on the day over and just want to hide.

Have you ever felt like that?

A few weeks ago I gave a talk to some young people. I’d been excited about this opportunity for months, and put hours into preparation in the weeks leading up to it. The talk itself went really well. I connected well with the group and got great feedback afterwards. Considering how much energy I’d put into that event, I shouldn’t have been surprised when, the next day, I wasn’t quite myself. Or when, by the afternoon, I went home physically sick.

It was my own version of “feeling dead”.

That experience (which wasn’t a first for me) reminded me of the importance of planning for the morning after. We can plan meticulously the days leading up to a big event, but it’s just as important to plan out the days after. It’s on the morning after that we’re often the most vulnerable, physically, emotionally and spiritually.

How do you recover from a big event?

I once spoke to a pastor who found that Mondays – the day after his weekly “big event” – were his most vulnerable day of the week. Knowing this, he tried to schedule all of his meetings on Mondays to intentionally re-direct his focus. When I asked my newsletter-readers this question, they spoke of the need to rest, eat and sleep well, and seek support from their community.

Personally, I’m trying schedule down time after big events to recharge, reconnect and get perspective again.

What do you do on your “mornings after”? How do you recover from a big event?

Dare greatly, and plan for the morning after.