I returned home yesterday to discover that The Mail Keeps Coming! I was in one of those mini moments of overwhelm that had my mind running through a stream of negative chatter: “WTF! Why is there more mail? Am I a machine? Am I actually expected to keep up with all this mail? This is totally ridiculous!”
And the great irony – as you regular readers know – is that I talk about the importance of breathing, slowing down, and practicing “One Touch.” In my first book Refuel Recharge and Reenergize, I describe “One Touch” as a simple (but not easy) practice in which you consciously decide in the moment to focus on dealing with something through to completion.
For example, with an email…the idea is that you don’t open the message until you can fully address it—whether that be respond to it or designate a time on your calendar when you will follow-up so that it doesn’t get buried in a large pile of important but forgotten “to do” items.
In my current mini state of overwhelm, I am forced to clear out the mailbox daily (daily!!!), otherwise the mail carrier has no space to cram in the next day’s pieces of mail. Then, today’s pile gets added to the previous day’s piles, until it’s an eyesore, which I then hide away out of sight. Then if I totally forget about it, I forget to pay a bill, and so on and so on…it’s not a pretty cascade of events. (What if someone saw me – me! –not dealing with my mail on a daily basis – ahhhhh, I am so out of integrity it makes my skin crawl!!!)
But herein lies the gift.
This tirade about the mail is not at all about the mail. It’s not about the backlog of emails or the fact that clothes keep getting worn & dirty laundry keeps stacking up.
This is about “too much.”
Right now there is one thing “too much” on my plate. I know what it is. I know what pushed me over the edge. And I need to breathe deeply, take the step to remove it from my list of responsibilities, then breathe a sigh of relief and welcome in the fluidity and freedom and ease that come from saying no to too much.
If you don’t know where your edge of “too much” lies, I invite you to figure it out. This is a critical piece of self-awareness. Knowing this is essential for preserving and cultivating your physical and mental and emotional and financial well-being.
Your “too much” is a result of the expectations you’ve set for yourself and the corresponding choices you’ve made in your life. You’re not a victim of “too much.” You are the creator of your “too much.” It’s a hard truth to swallow. I know. Because I regularly dance along the precipice of my line of “too much.” And yes, sometimes I consciously choose to cross over, willingly accepting the resulting hours or days or weeks of “too much” that follows, but at least it’s a conscious choice.
The real dangers lie in the unintentional unconscious incompetence that resides at the heart of most of our days of “too much.”
So if you are brave enough to cross over from unconscious incompetence to conscious incompetence: meaning, you’re willing to accept that you created your “too much” and learn how to identify it, manage it, and prevent it, then I welcome you to begin!
Shoot me an email and I’ll show you how.
Now, back to saying no to that commitment that pushed me over the edge, then back to that stack of mail…