Confessions of a Chronic Over-Doer (And What You Can Take Away From It)
You may have noticed that it’s been a few weeks since publishing a post. I don’t think I’ve ever gone as long as this in-between hitting the “publish” button.
It’s not out of want; there are always so many things I’d like to write about and share. It’s really been a matter of bandwidth.
You see, I’m a chronic over-doer.
And before you throw down the minimalist/simple living hypocrite card, let me explain: I’m not off doing things of little importance like spending hours in front of the TV or computer screen. Nor have I been trolling the malls or other halls of material consumption. No, I’ve been busy contributing to the betterment of my family and community; leaving behind the screens and hitting the streets trying to change things in a positive way, one little step at a time. I have been walking the talk of community change.
From volunteering with Cub Scouts to coaching two Little League baseball teams; from getting our vegetable gardens ready for our biggest growing season ever to writing a new bi-weekly column on simple, sustainable living in my local newspaper; from being a husband and dad to my three young kids to… well, you get the picture. Couple that with a new role at work that loves to serve up hours of back-to-back meetings and after-hours keyboard punching and what I’m left with is little extra bandwidth to write here.
This Is Nothing New
I have always been that guy: First to raise his hand when the call for help goes out; first to step up when others stand down. I have always sensed so much need in the world — whether it was at home, in my community or farther away; so many problems both big and small in need of fixing.
But there comes a point where even doing good comes with a price to you as a person. A point where you’ve spread yourself so thin that in your zeal to accomplish those things in life that are most important to you, you cannibalize your own ability to thrive in a balanced way. You are unable to enjoy all the things that fuel your spirit and put your — as I like to call it — MoJo Meter in high gear.
I’ve been unable to spend as much time just relaxing with my family; less time outside soaking in Nature; fewer opportunities to spend time reading the great work of my friends such as Raam, Ali, Sandra, Lynn, Ingrid, Jennifer, Robin, Jeanie, Steven, Jaarko, Vanessa and being steadied by the wisdom of those like Leo, Joshua and Tammy. My first e-book, a collection of meditations and verse entitled “From This Earth”, has sat at the 75% complete point for weeks now. Daily meditation has been, well, not so daily of late.
Why Awareness is Only as Good as What You Do With It
So this leaves me at a critical juncture, reassessing my aspirations for change, my personal and professional goals, and everything else in-between. While I continue to look for ways to peel back (like shutting down my local community blog that I rarely plugged here) I also need to re-align my expectations for what I can reasonably accomplish and the opportunity cost of pursuing that over something else. The ills of the world will (unfortunately) continue to be there tomorrow and the day after that.
But I am only one person. And there are only twenty-four hours in a day. Positive change is not seeded within the infertile soil of burnout and fatigue. A community does not thrive when the spirit of its people is stifled and snuffed out.
Lessons to Learn From
This isn’t rocket science, but there are lessons to take away from this:
- Putting yourself first is sometimes a necessary step to be able to work for others
- We all need downtime to decompress and process the world around us so that we can be fresh when called upon
- Bandwidth is finite; it is better to do fewer things well than many things not-so-well (everything cannot be a priority)
- Patience is critical for success — even amidst all the ills and needs of the world
- Sometimes you need to let others step up and answer the call
- A subdued spirit weighs down your heart and capacity for compassion, love and peace
As I recalibrate my balance meter, I hope this finds all of you well amidst your own lives, enjoying the change of seasons and all the amazing things that come with it.
Thanks for stopping by. While you’re here you might also enjoy these other posts:
- The Gift and Responsibility of Awareness
- Rejuvenation: 5 Simple Steps to Feel Lighter This Spring
- Catalysts: Find One. Be One. Change Your World