‘Now I’m finally doing what I always wanted and I’ve got so much on, I thought I’d be really happy with my work but I’m just not,’ said my client – we’ll call him Dave – as we sat down for coffee. ‘I’m confused.’
I picked up the cafetière and started to pour out my drink. ‘Wow, this smells great, I’ve been looking forward to a cup of coffee all the way here,’ I said as poured.
I kept on pouring, right to the very top of the cup, until the coffee almost brimmed over the rim. Then I poured Dave’s coffee, leaving enough room for him to add milk and pick up the mug easily. He did so.
‘Oh no, I can’t pick mine up or I’ll spill it – how annoying! I love coffee but I’ve just put too much in there.’
Dave laughed – ‘I see what you’re doing! I’ve waited so long for this opportunity and now it’s come along and I’m so keen to make a go of it, I’ve just taken on too much. I can’t enjoy it because I’ve overfilled my days.’
‘What are you going to do differently?’
‘Well, just as I need space in this mug to be able to use it properly and enjoy the coffee, I need to build a bit of space into my schedule to avoid being overwhelmed by the work I love.’
We spent some time reviewing Dave’s priorities and his weekly schedule to streamline activity and create space. Next time we meet, he’ll reflect on his month-long trial of the new schedule and see if it’s helping him to enjoy his work and feel fulfilled whilst still achieving great results.
Last year, Nathaniel Drew released a great short video called ‘Why you never have enough time’: why not pour yourself a (not overly full) cuppa and take just nine minutes to see what he has to say?
These words really struck me: ‘I still fully believe in working really hard and pushing myself but again, none of it really counts for much if I’m not living in the here and now. It’s easy to lose sight of things and I’m seeing how overdoing it with self-imposed structure and pressure and expectation actually limits my access to creativity and inspiration and the magic that sometimes accidentally happens.’
I return to my question in the title of this post: can you have too much of a good thing? I think you can and I think that sometimes our striving towards doing more and being more takes us away from the great things that are happening right now.
Today’s pebble for you to ponder: is your schedule so tightly packed that you can’t enjoy what you do and feel fulfilled?
Turning over pebbles is the blog of Thinking Space Coaching.
If you’d like to make the most of your potential and feel more fulfilled in your career and life, please do email me and let’s have a conversation about how we can work together.