How do you know when you’ve done enough?
I ask myself this question every day. I always think I could be doing more, achieving more, and be a better person.
The old me would know it was time to step away from the computer or put down my phone when I was so tired that I felt queasy or when it felt like a hot poker was being rammed through my left eye.
The new me knows that I should have stopped pushing myself to the point of physical exhaustion about three years before that became my ‘tell.’
After spending the last six months recovering from classic burnout, I now know what the driving factor behind that ‘not enough’ feeling was: my fear of limited opportunities.
My childhood wasn’t easy and I was desperate to find a way out of it. So I took every opportunity that was given to me. I’d take extra shifts at work to make more money. I’d never pass up on a networking event. I’d put others first even if it meant putting myself last.
But at no point did I ever feel like I had enough or was enough. Even when I finally had a good salary, an amazing community and was doing my dream job, I didn’t stop to question why I was afraid it wouldn’t last. And if I’m honest, I didn’t realise I was operating from a place of scarcity, not abundance.
Although I am finally committed to putting myself first and have prioritised my health, my old habits have still found a way to sneak back into my life. While doing my plan for 2019, I calculated that I would need to work 12-hour days, 7 days a week to achieve all my goals. #facepalm. No wonder I had been feeling just a tad overwhelmed.
So how did I find myself back here again?
While I’m my biggest critic, some of it has to do with social pressure. These days we are expected to have a well-paying job, turn our passion into a side hustle, have a 3-bedroom house, be married to our soul mate and have a million followers on Insta by the age of 25.
Everywhere I turn, I’m being told my life would be better if I was doing more, spending more and being more. But I can’t possibly do all the things. And I can’t buy into scarcity anymore because if I do I’m going to end up back where I started: living in fear.
Despite what we are made to believe, there isn’t a limited amount of opportunities. I know because I said no to 95% of them in the second half of 2018 and I’m still here. And if I want to get through 2019 without experiencing burnout, I’m going to have to say no more than I say yes.
Saying no to opportunities and letting go of old ways of thinking can be hard. But you have to push through the fear.
If you can’t shake the feeling that you haven’t accomplished enough:
- Get clear on what’s making you feel bad and what is missing in your life. What values aren’t being met?
- Stop looking externally to feel validated internally. Comparitis is the enemy.
- Define what success looks like for you. Jot down your purpose and work from there.
- Make a list of your failures and reflect on them. Then make a list of your achievements and celebrate them.
- Make a ‘things to quit list.’ Get rid of everything that is no longer serving you.
These are just some of the exercises that have helped me work through my fears and accept that I have enough and I am enough.
What are you going to quit this year? And how will you know when you’ve done enough? Let me know so we can hold each other accountable.