We are only human, and therefore do have our own set of limitations about what is possible, feasible & even ideal. That’s not to say we can’t stretch or challenge that from time to time (as Felix Baumgartner recently demonstrated so dramatically!), but it is less healthy to ignore them or pretend they don’t exist.
We can’t be everything to everyone, whilst performing at maximum capacity for extended periods and continuing to say ‘Yes’ to even more things, without something giving. We are not machines – let alone well-oiled ones!
But we can get caught up in our own hype when we’re under pressure, and be fooled by our seemingly superhuman capabilities.
We forget how to say ‘No’ when someone asks us to take on another task or responsibility or to make time for something else, even if we recognise we’re already struggling under the current load. We think we can crank out even more productivity and peak performance – like an endurance athlete – despite the fact that we’ve not prepared ourselves adequately & certainly aren’t looking after ourselves properly in between. We feel like we’ve got to right all wrongs, or address all outstanding issues, just because we’ve managed to make some great progress on a few things we’ve been focused on.
Consciously choosing to push our boundaries and abilities is a healthy, natural and essential evolutionary impulse. It is what nurtures dreams and enables change.
But it is a wise man who understands his own limitations.
And a wise woman who knows hers too!
There is no sense in pushing ourselves until we break, or until we smash all the plates that we’ve been trying so delicately to keep spinning.
The human body and brain are truly remarkable, and the human heart and soul are fathomlessly deep.
So to honour both our ability to grow and evolve, as well as our innate humanness, we need to be clear about what our non-negotiables are:
- What do you really need to prioritise (what’s most important)?
- What are the things you aren’t willing to compromise on or let slip?
- What areas does your persistence turn into stubbornness that really doesn’t serve you?
- What is the cost (to yourself, others & your dreams) of ignoring your healthy limitations?
Could it be time to take off the cape, and forgive yourself for being only human?