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What Keeps You Awake At Night?

This blog was updated on August 3, 2021.

Podcasts are a frequent source of inspiration for me. As I’m on the go, they are easy to take with me. So here’s a new question from one that I’ve been tossing around.

Last week I was listening to the SAP podcast by Jennifer Morgan called “A Call to Lead”. She was interviewing Brianna Golodryga, the co-anchor of CBS This Morning. Towards the end of the interview, Jennifer asks Brianna what her favorite interview question is.

Brianna describes the question as, “…simple, but always insightful.” Wait for it…

“What Keeps You Awake at Night?”

It’s such a familiar and typical question that we’ve all heard before. Yet the real answers are oftentimes buried and deeply mindful.  My #besties, that know me all too well, know that I LOVE this kind of stuff! So of course, I found myself reflecting on how I might answer this question.  Here we go…This is the stuff that keeps me up at night:

1. Am I enough?

I often lay awake at night contemplating, “Can I really do everything I need to do – at the standard I’ve set for myself?”

  • Am I enough of a mother?
  • Am I enough of a wife?
  • Am I enough of a leader?
  • Am I enough of a friend?
  • Am I enough of a sister?
  • Am I enough of a daughter?
  • Am I enough of a child of God?
  • Am I smart enough?
  • Do I want this bad enough?
  • Am I enough for me?

It’s pretty rare that I can answer yes to all of these questions at one time.  

Yesterday, I would have beaten myself up for not being good enough at all of them. In this moment, I’m trying to give myself a little grace and stop being so hard on myself.

I don’t know where I’ll land with this, but “Am I enough?” is a deeply reflective and big question for me.  (Side note: I’ve also recently discovered from Bréne Brown’s work and research in Men, Women and Worthiness that this is a very common feeling among women especially.)

2. Am I screwing up lives?

How I handle stressful situations is very inconsistent.  I’m definitely working on it as I learn more about my triggers.  If, for example, I am tired, anxious, hormonal or stressed, my reactions can, well… suck!

Case in point. If I am tired or stressed and my kids are acting *annoying* as I come home after a full day, there will be YELLING from me. I didn’t expect to share this with you so quickly, but here we go… Hello, my name is Shannon Prager and I’m a YELLER.  I feel my point is way more impactful if I YELL it…and I am not a fan of this side of myself!

Let’s talk history quickly. I come from a family of YELLERS so I’m convinced this was passed down to me as some “inheritance of traits only passed down to offspring.” #YoureWelcomeKids  (My brother and sister are dying laughing as they read this #WeAllKnowItsTrue #OurSecretIsOut)

Back to the point. Triggers and how I’m feeling impact how I show up, so I have to watch myself.

  • Am I doing what’s best for them?
  • Am I showing up with *whatever* they need?
  • Am I truly being present for all the important and precious moments in their lives?
  • Have I made a decision that will impact them in a way I may never know?

These questions extend beyond my family. These show up in how I lead or how I friend. Some days are great, some days are not-so-great!  I have found it helpful to reflect, learn and then just reset myself → everyday!

3. Are technology and social media going to ruin my children’s lives?

This question seems off-pattern from the other deeply contemplative questions –  it makes me laugh a little.

If I am being honest, the real question is…”Is my policy on social media/technology for my kids too lax?”

I feel really guilty about my response, but I am so busy, or as a friend of mine would put it, “My life is very full”.  I totally got lazy here. I made a “busy-choice” to focus less on tools that control social media and technology and I focused more on teaching the “head” side of this. “Head” meaning teaching them about making smart decisions about social media and technology and not letting it “control” them.

If I’m being totally honest though…I’m basically expecting my children to *self-police* with a little bit of “good advice” from my husband and me about being “in control”… yet I’m not totally confident that they are even capable of this.

Today we are dealing with things like Snapchat, FortNite and constant access and connection to social media.

It’s funny to think this is how our parents felt about the telephone and later cell phones.  Things come in and totally disrupt what we know how to parent and it’s just well…hard!

Truth is, I got lazy here. And I’m not proud of my decisions (or lack thereof). I plan to change this. 

4. Am I focused on the right things?

I have a lot of things that energize me. I often question if it’s too much! It can be exhausting yet electrifying at the same moment. These things that excite me show up among family, work, friends, hobbies, dreams, reading and traveling.

I don’t, for example, see my parents as much as I’d like to. They are getting older and time is limited. I also have a beautiful young daughter that is in her last 3.5 years of high school.  This will likely be her last time living with us. Every -> moment -> matters.  So this begs the question…

  • Am I focused on the right things?
  • Am I spending my time in the right areas?
  • Do I need to prioritize things differently?
  • What are the most important things…right now?

These are really tough questions. There actually isn’t room in my life for all of them, and I am slowly and sadly realizing that.  The answers are complicated… or are they?

Is it the nature of family that causes us to prioritize and then reprioritize based on always-changing needs?  Now add a career to the complicated parenting mix and you have a genuine hot mess.

I try and prioritize daily. But I continue to feel like I have SO much to prioritize that it’s easy for the “loudest”  thing to take hold of me. I’m working on it. (This area needs the most “me work”.)

5. Am I in it for the right reasons?

I have a trend to “go”.  I want to “get it done”…and then I want to “get it done super fast”. I can lose sight of whether I’m in it for the right reasons… because I get so focused and excited about where I am going, I forget to ask why. At least I know this about myself ???? My checkpoints are:

  • Am I focused on the right things?
  • Am I checking my ego at the door?
  • Am I thinking bigger than just me?
  • Am I delicately balancing the needs of others with my own?

This is the stuff that currently keeps me awake at night. They are pretty BIG things as I list them all out.

Seriously, wow, I’m reading back wondering how I’ve slept at all, people!

What’s interesting though, is that the answers aren’t fixed. My answers to these big-nightly-questions change on the fly, and they all impact and intersect each other.  It’s pretty complex, actually.

Today, I’m choosing to keep it simple. My main focus is to just improve daily and not beat myself up as I reflect on where I could have done better.

Progress lies not in enhancing what is, but in advancing toward what will be.

What keeps you awake at night

When Shannon isn’t listening to podcasts, she’s busy running Leadit Marketing, a B2B SaaS Marketing Agency. Interested in what she’s been writing about lately? Uncover these resources:

Shannon Prager

Shannon Prager

Shannon Prager is a recognized B2B marketing strategist and the President of Leadit Marketing. At Leadit, she is responsible for partnerships, business development and the strategic direction of the company. A marketing leader with 25 years of B2B demand generation and marketing experience, she understands the importance of a fully developed integrated marketing strategy from marketing automation to end-to-end marketing operations. Follow her on LinkedIn (@ShannonPrager) for her take on the latest and greatest in B2B SaaS marketing.