If you are like most women, you feel the need to say yes to as many of the requests you receive or ideas that you have that you can. You believe in the causes you are plugged into, you want to grow your ideas, and so you do everything you can, only to find that a simple night’s rest is not enough to restore your energy.
Then, if you are like me, you find that little resentments start to build, a minor bad attitude begins brewing but because it is no one’s fault but your own, you don’t let it show. You just hold it in your own internal pressure cooker, counting the days until you are through this latest tight spot. It’ll get better, you tell yourself. But the stress takes its toll, and, even if a small opening occurs, your approach doesn’t change and you find yourself right back in that overwhelming situation.
Enough already. Today, I want you to take a whole new approach to your to do list. Rather than waking up earlier or staying up later to fit it all in, I want you to turn it on its head.
Quick, right now, answer this question. What’s one thing you can drop immediately?
How would you feel if you dropped it?
Likely, two thoughts came to mind with that second question: relieved and guilty. I know this because I, just like most women, over schedule my life and then run from one commitment to another with very little down time to process what I am doing or to just enjoy what’s happening.
A lot of times, I have convinced myself that my effort is essential- this fundraiser, volunteer effort, or networking experience needs me, but the reality is that is not true. It needs someone, sure. But that someone does not have to be me. Meanwhile, I am giving it all I have got and running out of steam for everything that has meaning to me: my self-care, my family, my hobbies.
And so here is my immediate solution when I find my life is getting too big too sustain, and I feel that “how am I going to get this all done” panic rising in me? I quit something. Immediately. I look at what is going on in my life and I left myself off the hook on something.
What that breathing room gives me is not just the chance to concentrate my energy on my passion and purpose, but also the grace to realize I am not needed everywhere. I simply need to do what I do best while either letting go of things I am not that committed to (making curtains for the dining room) or giving someone else the chance to enjoy something that was really meant for her (the chance to judge the student art show). Sometimes responsibility is not just about doing what we said we would do but bowing out when we can no longer do it wholeheartedly. Keep in mind that as you say no, you can offer suggestions of other’s who might be interested or resources that might be useful (if the commitment was to someone else). If the commitment was to you (running a race because you feel like you actually need to run races to be a runner and not just run the X number of days you already do), relish the fact that you don’t have to impose standards on yourself just because.
So, today, before fear convinces you to change your mind, drop one thing immediately and see how much you gain!