As a kid, every Sunday night was movie night, especially action movies. I remember how fascinated I was by all those super heroes and big guys, how I wanted to be part of a secret society which mission was to clear the world from the villains and make it peaceful. I imagined Bruce Willis, Ben Affleck, Batman were my comrades in arms. In my wildest dreams, Peter Parker was leaving Mary Jane and made me his new girlfriend; and at night, together, we would rule the world. In this imaginary world of mine, I had super powers and my mission was to make the world a better place.
As an adult, I still dream of having super powers. As a Writer, Speaker and Coach, I wish I really had one particular special power: the ability to stretch the time and fit in more and more pieces of writing, more and more public speaking performances, more and more coaching clients, more and more Tai Chi teaching, and always more awesome projects.
These last three months, I strangely but firmly believed I actually gained that super power. In this new reality of mine, I had no limits; time was stretchable to infinity and I could just keep taking every project. How could I ever say no to all these great opportunities coming to me and to these people who were so eager to learn with me?
I remember the moment when I decided to cut off my exercising and sports time – to fit in more work.
I remember the day when I stopped grocery shopping and would just eat whatever (and most of time nothing) – to save dinner time and fit in more work.
I remember the night when I sat at my desk, looked at my to-do list, looked at my schedule and desperately realized no more tasks could fit in. That night, I consciously decided to cut off my sleeping time and reduce it to four hours per night – to fit in more work.
All of these, I remember. It didn’t stop me from wanting more – more effectiveness, more efficiency, more accomplishments. But then…
I wouldn’t remember the moment when I gave up my family-phone-call time slot and switch it to another working time slot.
I wouldn’t remember when was the last time I met up with my friends (or just had a caring thought for them).
I wouldn’t remember when I started to feel so overloaded and overwhelmed that there was no more awesomeness, no more enjoyment, no more sense… but just stress. I didn’t see it coming. When I realized it, it was already too late. I had already lost my balance.
When you lose your balance, usually this is when you start losing your ability to think sanely, and most of the time, you also lose sight of your top priority (which should be for each and every one of us to keep healthy).
I am lucky that today, I have everything I need to find my balance back very quickly:
- The right tool – Therapeutic writing, an impressive exercise which allows you to pour everything onto the paper, understand what the issue is and unlock some old and harmful patterns;
- The right practice – Tai Chi, a Chinese martial arts which teaches you a new form of self-awareness, and how the body-mind connection can bring you balance in everything you do;
- The right mindset – Yin-Yang, the complimentary forces. It’s neither all black or all white. A temporary loss of balance doesn’t mean I’m back to being an unstable person (or becoming one). A failure doesn’t mean I will never succeed again.
- The right people – Mentors, friends and inspiring figures. These are the most important of all. They are here to raise the red flag, slap me in the face, kick my ass and help me get back on the right track. They know this is what I expect them to do, and they do it well.
I’m no Wonder Woman. I never will, and I’ve accepted it. I have my own limits when it comes to my time, to the amount of work I can take and to my physical capacities to resist exhaustion. But if like me, you always try to push your limits, look up, and you will see a sky full of possibilities. However, possibilities become reality only when you are well grounded and well balanced. Even Spiderman, Batman and Superman have their own weak point and vulnerability, and have to get back to earth during daytime.