For the better half of my life I believed that my value was rooted in what I could accomplish. The more I put on my plate, the more I did, the more worthy I felt. Thus I added more and more and more, believing that I had to be everything to everyone or I wasn’t enough.
I guess, in more recent years, I’ve realized I’m not alone in this. People all over the world are fixers, go-getters, ‘do-gooders.’ They own these titles, call themselves ‘workaholics,’ or ‘big hearted,’ or ‘slaves to the hustle,’ or some sort of variation that values a ‘do more’ mindset.
But as much as I love my work ethic and drive, I’m forever learning that I don’t have to be everything, do everything, fix everything. Sometimes I can leave a project undone, an email unanswered, or an item unchecked. Sometimes I can take the pressure of myself and allow myself to feel, to make mistakes, to pause, to rest.
There is value in resting.
There is value in learning what your limits are, and honoring them, despite how powerful you would look if you pushed yourself a little more.
Though I admire people who are forever breaking records at the gym, for example, sometimes all aspects of life aren’t like weightlifting. Sometimes, though it’s good to exceed expectations (especially your own), it’s also good to take that mental break between sets. It’s good to stretch those muscles. It’s good to simply pause and celebrate your victory before moving on to the next item on your list.
The other day I was working out with a trainer who commented on my physical strength. As a former athlete, I swelled with pride. Hearing someone notice something I really value in myself—my physique, endurance, and willpower—I smiled from ear-to-ear. He encouraged me to take up personal training sessions, and I nodded, wondering how and when I could possibly add these sessions to my to-do list. Later that night I was overwhelmed with work and a long day of projects—I sat there thinking about what really mattered to me and how I could prioritize better.
I thought about how I could say ‘no’ to the things that didn’t build me, and yes to the things I desired to make room for other opportunities to fall into my lap.
I thought about how trying to be everything really only keeps me from becoming what truly want.
And maybe that’s the same for you. Maybe you’ve said ‘yes’ to a person because you didn’t want to seem selfish and uncaring. Or jumped into a position because someone offered it to you, even though it’s not really aligned with your wishes for the future. Or maybe it’s the opposite, and there’s something you’re so excited about, yet you back away because there are so many things you’ve already committed to. Even though you know full well that this one thing is far better aligned with your natural rhythm and dreams.
I guess, what I’m trying to say is that you have to learn what’s really written on your heart and start following that with a self-created fearlessness.
You have to stop caring about what people think, their expectations, and their desires for your life. You have to stop trying to be everything to everyone, and on top of that, the best of everything. You’ll only leave yourself exhausted and unfulfilled, worrying more about your long list of accomplishments rather than the beautiful road that you took to get there in the first place.
And truthfully, being everything has no comparison to being YOU.
Featured Image Credit: Flemming Fuchs