When You Take on Too Much, You Might Just Burn the House Down
Recently, I was having a couple of very funky days. You know, the kind where you feel like you are doing EVERYTHING, but still getting NOTHING done? Yeah, that.
I had signed up for a new life journey. One that includes classes. Taking classes, shadowing classes, teaching classes.
It includes meeting with clients - recruiting clients and planning for clients.
It includes writing - Blogging, journaling and homework.
It includes research - Reading, more reading, and then extra reading, along with lots of self-introspection.
It includes community - Supporting and growing the one that I have, as well as creating a whole new beautiful one.
It includes communication - Asking questions, listening to understand, giving authentic feedback and encouragement.
Notice I say that it “INCLUDES?" not “DEMANDS RIGHT NOW?" Only, I hadn’t figured that part out. I was so excited about this new adventure, I jumped right in and wanted to do everything right this second. The ideas just kept flowing, but nothing was coming to fruition.
What I didn’t tell you, is while I jumped right in with zest and excitement, volunteering to do every one of these things and more, I also had pieces of my life that do DEMAND ME RIGHT NOW. You know, my one year old and four-year-old who need their mommy and just happen to be sick this week. The husband who works an average of 60 hours per week, and who also happens to be sick. My home that needs maintaining, dinner that needs cooking, laundry that needs cleaning, oh yeah and that full-time job where I work with 600 middle schoolers on a daily basis.
I’m tired just writing all about all of these demands on my time and my life!
All the demands came to a head one day. The metaphorical house was burning down, and the literal one almost did as well.
I was sitting in my local Starbucks, between the end of my work day and picking up my kids from daycare, waiting for my client, who gave me the gift of forgetting we were meeting. It was the only 30 minutes I had had to myself in weeks, and I was all up in my head. I hadn’t had time to create any of the ideas I had been tossing around, and I was seriously beating myself up. I was ready to give up. I couldn’t understand why things weren’t flowing the way they should be, and was sure it was because I just was not good enough to do all of the things I had been dreaming about. Helloooooooo EGO!
As I sat and made my list (yes, I’m a huge list maker, it gets me out of my head), it continued to grow and I quickly began to realize that maybe I had jumped in too fast. Perhaps I didn’t really need to do it all right now. I guess I DO have the rest of my life ahead of me! My mind, heart and soul were feeling burned out and I had not even started my new journey. Yikes. Well, that felt good to give myself permission to sit back for a minute. Let’s finish the class and build my foundation, and then grow my business, hm? Some is better than none, after all, I reasoned.
Fast forward two hours to bath time, dinner time, and get ready for the next day time. All I wanted was “me” time so I was trying to complete everything at once. My husband was working, and I was trying to do it all. Again.
I threw on a pot of water on the stove to boil some noodles, threw the kids in the bathtub, and began picking out clothes for the next day. The baby was screaming because she doesn’t like brother messing with her, and this weird smell kept sweeping by my nose. I tend to be hyper anxious anyways and when weird smells abound, it’s typically just my imagination.
Not this time. By the time I got the kids out of the bath and half towelled off, I kept smelling the smell. I thought “Hmmm, weird, let’s check it out.” Sure enough, I had left some plastic storage boxes on the stove and they were melted straight through, stuck to the stove, and ready to start a nice little campfire right then and there on the stove top.
OK UNIVERSE! I HEAR YOU! SLOW THE HECK DOWN!
I got the message, loud and clear, right then! If you don’t focus on the important things, you might just burn the house down. Metaphorically and, quite possibly, literally! I turned the stove off, got my kids taken care of, cleaned up the mess, and sat down to a quiet, uninterrupted dinner with my most beloved ones.
I took the time to slow down. To do some rather than all. In that moment, my gratitude came back and so did my creativity and energy. I will NOT burn my house down! Rather, I will build it bigger and better than ever, just a little bit at a time.