“Whatever is on your plate got there because YOU said yes to it.”
Whoa! Do you feel the power and ownership in this statement?
All of the things on our to-do lists are there because WE put them there. WE decided they were important enough to add to our day. And by ultimately owning the truth in this statement, WE must take responsibility for the busy-ness of our lives.
All because we said YES!
Can’t blame our boss, our kids, our significant others, or circumstances. We can only blame ourselves. Yikes!
But wait a minute. Aren’t they the ones who keep throwing stuff at us? “They” just keep throwing tasks our way. Really makes you angry, doesn’t it?
Hmmm. Well, let’s look at what happens when we point a finger at “them” for making our lives too busy, too hectic, too…whatever.
This is the audience participation part. Really.
Think about someone who asks, maybe demands, that you do some new activity, adding tasks to your never-ending list. You inwardly groan, “But I’ve already got so much going on. How will I fit this in? Can’t they see how busy I am?”
Maybe you think, “How dare they ask more of me!” Feel the indignation, the burden of piling on, the churn in your gut.
Now, point your finger at “them” as if you’re going to show “them” the error of their ways. And notice your hand. While you’re pointing one finger in their direction, do you see that there also are three fingers pointing back at yourself!
The message is visually clear: responsibility for putting something else on your plate belongs to YOU, even while you are accusing “them”! How does that realization feel? It’s so much easier to place the blame elsewhere, to feel put upon or act the martyr.
Ah, I feel the “yes, buts” beginning to fill the air.
“Yes, but this is my boss asking.” “Yes, but I have to be there for my child.” “Yes, but if I don’t do this, who will?”
Yes, but… yes, but… YES….. BUT…..
Come on. Aren’t you really tired of feeling this way: put upon, overwhelmed, not in charge of your life?
Recognize that you DO have a choice. Truly. YOU have the power to decide how much you add to your plate.
We are vessels with finite capacity, regardless of the prevalent myth that we can be superwomen. If you’re like me, when I become overloaded, I’m no fun to be around. Life gets hard.
I have chosen to no longer live this way. It’s not good for my health and for those I interact with. I want more peace and serenity. This does not mean that I have chosen to no longer be busy and engaged. Quite the contrary. I am more selective.
So, my great “aha” has been to consciously consider what I add to my to-do list. I ask myself how the item fits within the context of honoring my values. I decide what I will delay or even eliminate (!) on my to-do list to make room for this new item. I don’t do things that others can do for themselves. And, if I still had a boss, I would ask how to rearrange priorities to allow for any new task within my work schedule.
I will longer willingly let life pile it on. I am in charge. I accept responsibility for my choices.
I know you can do this too! The trick is making conscious choices. You have the power to decide what you add to your plate. Choose wisely.
I’m being picky, picky, picky, and grinning all the way.
Your Call to Action
Look at what’s on your plate right now. Which items do you believe you had no choice but to add? How might you look at those items differently? What would change if you consciously made a choice about each of them?