If there is one question I get asked on a regular basis it is this, “How do you do all that you do?” My question back is always, “What is it that you see me do that you want to know about?”
This question always results in the conversation of capacity and capacity is something that never ceases to fascinate me. Why is it that some people seem to have greater capacity than others?
I remember a few years ago when one of my closest friends told me,
“Before I met you, I would schedule one thing a week. I didn’t actually know you could fit so many things into a week, let alone a weekend. I was never raised engaging in the way you do. My life was small and as I look at it I think we accomplished very little. Since meeting you, my life has expanded so much and I feel like my capacity has been stretched and has the space to stretch even further. It’s exciting.”
I was surprised by this conversation and realised that perhaps not everyone ran at the speed I did.
I grew up in a busy home. For most of my life, my father was a politician, which meant meetings, engagements, dinner parties, parties, invitations and multiple functions per day on weekends. This was the way we lived. It was large and on the go yet very grounded, happy and safe. It was wonderful. I was never bored and never relied on television or anything else to occupy my time. I was always engaging with people. I often find myself thinking about how my parents “walked the walk” and through the way they lived their lives, they demonstrated what loving people really looked like. For that, I am forever grateful. It amazes me how one person can handle multiple things whilst another can manage only one thing at a time.
It’s just how we are wired and in both cases adjustments need to be made.
For the person who can handle much, saying NO is a word that perhaps needs to be learned. To the one who can manage little, perhaps a stretch is required so that your capacity can be expanded. When I think about my capacity and the question I stated above, I find myself laughing about all the things I/we do in a day. The funny moments, the moments when our partner/kids know we are about to lose the plot and the down right crazy stuff that happens. I think about those moments when we are about to leave for work and a child throws their arms around you for a great hug only to leave you with sticky honey or Vegemite fingers?
What about climbing into the car to ferry clients around only to find it smells like last week’s MacDonald’s and sweaty soccer socks? How about the days when a stack of dinner dishes is building a wall on your kitchen bench or the laundry is spilling out of baskets, strewn throughout your house? What about when you’ve worked for hours on a project and forgot to press save? Oh the moments that no one seems to mention. The good, the bad and the ugly.
So friends, in an attempt to bring us together and make us feel normal, I hope this article helps.
It’s not just another feel good, five bullet point list that you can follow for success, rather it’s an attempt to help. Whatever the stage of your journey, my hope is that these practical ideas can be implemented into your life. I hope it helps.
1. Find Your Rhythm:
Finding your rhythm starts with prioritizing. Prioritize what matters to you and by that I mean start with what fuels you and make that #1. For me, it’s time with my family and meal times so my entire schedule revolves around that. I also love being up early in the morning so I can start my day in the quiet and really focus myself, think through the day and pray. This centres me. From this place your rhythm will develop and your capacity will increase. What is your priority, perhaps it’s exercise, painting, long walks in nature, a spot at the beach, time with your pets. Everyone is different so discover what yours is. Starting from what fuels you allows you to operate and function with a full tank rather than running on near empty.
2. Throw Superwoman Out the Window:
The notion and idea of Superwoman should be left to comic books and our imagination. She doesn’t exist and nor should she. The thought of ‘I can do it all and look spectacular whilst doing it’ is a myth and a story line women have sadly bought into. None of us bought into it intentionally, it just kind of slithered along and BAM one day, somewhere along the road, we thought we needed to be her. This idea has caused more depression, frustration and damage to our self esteem than the airbrushed, photoshoped pictures that grace the cover and pages of our favouite magazines. Adopt the understanding that she doesn’t exist and move forward with confidence.
3. The Power of Perspective:
Perspective plays a big role in our world and sometimes perspective can get warped. I like to remind myself that although Chicken Little warned everyone that the sky was falling, it never has and I believe it never will. I also like to ‘not sweat the small stuff’. After 44 years of life I have seen enough (I know there is so much more to come) to relax into situations and not get worked up by drama. Another thought is ‘choosing what hill you will die on.’ Seriously, some hills just aren’t worth dying on. I know many people think that looking in the rearview mirror is useless but I find it can be beneficial at times.
Building on your past wins and seeing where and when you chose to not ‘die on a hill’ or ‘engage in drama’ and what the outcome was allows you the ability to shift your perspective when faced with something else. I promise you, the sky won’t fall and Chicken Little will be proved wrong.
4. Speak Life into Yourself:
Speak strong, healthy words over yourself. I like to remind myself that ‘as a person thinks, so they are.’ So, speak words of life into you. Erase and eliminate negative self talk. Remind yourself that you are strong, that you are healthy, that you are worthy and that your mind is positive. Through this you remove speed bumps and road blocks that have the ability to keep you from living the strong, confident life that you were destined to live. You are strong beyond your wildest imagination.
5. You Time:
What recharges you? Are you someone who needs ‘me time?’ If so, what does that look like? For me I’ve discovered that I like to find a few hours in the month where I can go to the movies by myself… in the middle of the day or morning. I don’t want to go with anyone, share anything or talk. I want to relax into my seat, turn off my phone and get lost in the movie of my choice. Another thing I love is a massage. Although I love the spa treatment and being pampered I don’t need this each time.
Sometimes it’s as simple as running in for a quick 20minute massage between appointments. I try and keep it simple as possible but recongnising that I need this to keep things happening. Important to remember, keep it simple and don’t make apologies for You Time. Just make sure it doesn’t disrupt the necessary flow.
These are 5 of my best tips and strategies that I use. With these, I do my best to make life work and it seems to happen. Am I successful all the time? No. Do I beat myself up when I miss it? Not any more. Instead I relax and remind myself ‘That which doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’ and ‘Tomorrow is another day’.
Go well and live the life you love. Note: stay tuned for part two of this series ‘Life in the Balance’.