I have a confession to make. I put out too many chairs. And I’m willing to bet you have too.
Do you often feel overwhelmed or anxious about your to-do list, wondering when you will have time to yourself? If you are saying hell yes right now, you have put out too many chairs too.
I know you’re still confused… What am I talking about with the chairs? In one chapter of this book I’m reading, Present Over Perfect, the author tells the story of two pastors. One pastor is talking about his mega-church and he’s not sure how it grew to so many people. He was commenting that the growth was out of his control and he hadn’t even done anything to bring in all this attention. The other pastor wisely said, yes you did, you kept putting up more chairs. Whoa…did you catch that? We complain about being overwhelmed, but somehow we keep saying yes. We keep putting out more chairs.
Let’s explore for a minute this self-inflicted overwhelm.
First, you have to take responsibility for what it is. We are so quick to blame others for our current circumstances, when in reality, the real reason why you are overwhelmed and anxious is you my friend. Ouch, right? Sorry, not to trying to be harsh, but that’s the reality.
Second, you have to take responsibility to change it. Things won’t change unless you do. If your life doesn’t reflect what you want, then it’s your fault pretty lady. It’s not the job, your spouse, or your kids that have to change, it’s you.
And finally, you must take action. Do you find yourself always looking externally when things aren’t going the way they planned? You didn’t turn in your report on time because your flight was delayed or maybe you are frustrated because you don’t have time to relax because you agreed to take that client meeting instead of asking your colleague for help.
Stop complaining about the life you have created and create another one instead!
If you pay attention you’ll start to notice a pattern here. And that’s exactly what I want you to do over the next week. Look for the pattern. Witness how you feel when you engage in certain activities. Do you immediately feel overwhelm just thinking about it? Are you reluctant to start the project or maybe were you hesitant to say yes to that phone call?
These are all signs that you are doing something you don’t really want to do. Like our pastor story in the beginning, you might be thinking, who wouldn’t want a mega-church? Isn’t that what you work towards?
Not necessarily. That’s not what he wanted. Maybe he wanted a closer-knit community where he knew everyone by name. Unfortunately, most coaches will tell you and everyone else to play big, but what if that’s not what you want? What if you just want to feel inspired again? Let the mega-church be for someone else and you create the dream you want to see for yourself. Life is meant to be lived across a spectrum and we all want to live it differently.
Don’t put out any more chairs if you don’t really want people to sit down.
Again spend some time this week paying attention to places in your life where you might have too many chairs and stay tuned for next week’s post on the first step in getting rid of those chairs.
Photo credit: Photography by Ashley Stephenson