I’ve been thinking a lot about creating conditions for success. I seem to fall into patterns that leave me feeling inadequate and it’s a habit I’m trying to break.
How often do you set yourself up for failure? How often do you take on too much and then have to bail out when you realize you don’t have the time for it all? How much time do you spend beating yourself up for being flaky? Do you often get mad at yourself for being unreliable or too exhausted to do the things that ignite your soul?
I’ve been thinking a lot about how to break this pattern by creating conditions for success.
It’s an endless cycle in my life. Blame it on my Gemini rising that makes me want to do everything yesterday. When I have energy, I sign up to do ALL the things. And then I remember I have limits and I ghost, I disappear. I don’t fulfill the obligations that I was so excited about just a few days before.
Earlier in January, I decided to turn down an opportunity to take classes on Marxist-Leninist theory that I had been excited about. I wanted to get involved, but I knew I had too much going on to make the commitment. I felt guilty when I texted the organizer to let her know that I needed to bow out and her response shocked me.
“No worries. Thank you for recognizing your own capacity.”
I was floored. I’d never thought to frame it in that way, but I was so grateful for her response. I realized that committing to something that I can’t devote my attention to hurts everyone I work with.
There is great power in recognizing your own capacity. In accepting your own limits and being honest about them, with yourself and your community. Knowing your edges allows you to fully bring yourself to the things that you choose to spend time. Sounds a whole lot better than half-assing a million commitments that don’t ignite your soul.
Time is precious and it’s up to you to guard it fiercely. We live in a world that is constantly trying to steal the energy of our attention: Through long workdays, mindless TV, and social media.
It is up to us to turn our attention to the things we want to grow. To fiercely guard our time and use it to sustain the things that sustain us. To know ourselves well enough to know when to say no.
A thoughtful no can be such a gift.
Creating Conditions for Success: Before You Make Another Commitment
Before you commit to a voluntary project/venture/timesuck, check in with yourself. Take a deep breath. As you think about this opportunity, scan your body. Do you find yourself tensing at the thought? Do you notice an opening of your heart or a crackling of excited energy when you envision putting your time toward this project? What does your body think of this idea?