Bend, Don't Break
A few weeks ago, I had had another important reminder in the value of “flexibility.” It’s the only way to preserve your sanity at times, and without it you can absolutely ruin your life with stress and unnecessary worry.
For months I have been working on the Powerful Me Self-Study Program, a writing workshop I created with detailed instructions and audio instructions for each step. My self-imposed deadlines have been changed multiple times because of delays in the design and editing. I was trying to get everything to the publisher before leaving on vacation, and felt the onset of panic. Then I thought to myself, “Stop. No one but you knows that you are behind your own deadline. This can wait until you get back.”
What is far more important is the reason for my vacation. As you are reading this, I am in the Dominican Republic visiting my daughter and son-in-law who have been serving as missionaries for 2 ½ years. Lauren is a Physician Assistant, and is "la doctora" at Makarios, a school for over 80 children in a very poor area on the north coast of the island. Releasing myself from the pressure of meeting the July 3rd deadline gave me the time to shop for the children, buying swimsuits, tennis shoes, and dress-up clothes that will bring great joy to their lives. This “job” was my priority, not submitting my work to a publisher, which can wait a couple of weeks. The squeals of delight from these precious children have been well worth that wait.
A year ago, I never would have allowed myself that freedom to be flexible. It is liberating to be able to lighten up on myself, to relax and to have time to enjoy life. When you are feeling stressed about a deadline, or when you have so much to do that you can’t get anything done, here are a few things to consider.
Does it matter to anyone else? If you are the only one who knows that you are behind, then lighten up. Take your time, knowing that you will have better results in the long run.
Will this really matter in a year? Concentrate on the things that will have a lasting effect, and don’t stress over anything that won’t even be remembered next year.
Remember, good is good enough. Release yourself from the burden of perfectionism, knowing that you are human, just like everyone else, and humans are imperfect.
Don’t beat yourself up.Chances are, you take on enough to tire even Superwoman, so when you don’t get everything done on time, give yourself a break. Then delegate some of those responsibilities, ask for help, and next time say “No” if an opportunity does not support your life purpose.
Relax and have fun. Putting too much pressure on yourself to get things done in record time can drain the joy and life right out of you. Take time to breathe deeply and let the stress of “doing” flow out of your body. If it’s not a “life or death” task, it can wait.
Bend a little. Don’t break under the pressure that you put on yourself. Now, go enjoy the rest of your summer!To comment, click here.
Susan Tolles is the founder of www.flourishover50.com