I Hate Sunday Nights

June 12, 2024

By Dave Bushy, PCC

I’ve lived it.  The uneasy sense that creeps into your thoughts when you wake up on Sunday.  It builds all afternoon into something that begins to gnaw at you. Ultimately it morphs into a dreaded feeling deep in your gut that you can’t shake.  

I hate Sunday nights.

Why?  Perhaps because you have to go back to the office Monday morning.

But it is inevitably much more than Monday, with its process of getting up, showering, eating breakfast, driving to the office and walking into the building.  It is deeper than that and it deserves some real exploration.  A coaching session offers a safe, confidential setting in which to do so.  Without talking about it, such things can inevitably take up more headspace – and heart-space – than they warrant.

I was speaking with a client a while back talking about their feeling about Sunday nights.  It had grown for my client  – and it was something that had continued to expand and take up more and more of their thoughts.  Like so much in coaching, our conversation began with an exploration of what the client was experiencing – identifying what it wasn’t at first and then honing in on what it was.  For the client it was initially verbalized as a general feeling of unease and unhappiness about the role and the mounting challenges at work.

Much of it centered around a difficult boss and the way in which that person treated the client and their team.   And there was more.  My favorite question, “What else?” provided the impetus for the exploration and the details.

The concept of “Name it to tame it,” emerged for the client as we spoke.  By “naming” the underlying issues, we were able to put some meat on the bone of the conversation.    

It wasn’t just the day of the week we were talking about.  It was, my client said, as much about the respite of a weekend away from the minute-by-minute pressures of the senior role they occupied to the juxtaposition of reentering the “fray” of work.  It was like jumping back onto a bullet train at high speed.   

We looked at what the weekend afforded the client.  It provided a sense of relief and an opportunity to reconnect with family and friends.  My client took joy in that and a very real sense of resentment about losing that as Monday morning emerged.

The boss and his actions towards others was a part of it, no doubt.  My client recognized they had made great strides in adapting to the boss and understanding how to deal with him. My client spent some time reflecting on that growth they had experienced.  But there was still a lingering resentment about the boss that wasn’t there most of the week which grew during the weekend.

We explored what the client appreciated at home.  And we also explored the gratitude they might feel for the boss, as difficult as that might have been.  My client exhibited a wisdom and generosity for others that grew as they spoke.  They were especially grateful for their team and how they had grown and achieved success.

There was much more to the conversation and it will continue.  Coaching is as much about exploration and appreciation as it is about growth.  My client needed that time for exploration and the opportunity to appreciate what “was” that day.  Sometimes the best coaching we can do is to attend to others – I was glad to be there for my client.

Dave Bushy of Boston Executive Coaches – bostonexecutivecoaches.com – is a an ICF-certified coach who was trained at the Gestalt International Study Center (GISC).  Dave is a former U.S. Army officer and senior airline executive who works with leaders throughout the world.

Image by Pete Linforth from Pixabay

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