How many of us feel compelled to help or volunteer for something regardless of the burden it places on us or the complications it creates for ourselves? A colleague relayed an incident she experienced. One of her co-workers asked where he could find a certain type of information. Instead of providing the simple direction that would have allowed him to retrieve exactly what he needed, she stopped what she was doing and spent an hour retrieving the information. She produced ten times more information than was actually requested. Wow! You’re thinking, what a great team player.
The truth, however was that my colleague was now an hour behind schedule for reaching a critical deadline for her own work. But her co-worker was most appreciative. So much so, he returned and asked for more information.
With her own deadline even closer now, my colleague politely informed her co-worker that she did not have anymore time to assist him, and then provided the instructions on how he could easily complete his task.
Now you’re provably thinking that makes sense; that’s what she should have done in the first place. However she felt bad that she didn’t continue to help him. “Really?”, I asked. “Then how bad would you have felt about missing your deadline or having to work until midnight to complete your work while everyone else was home all comfy and relaxed?”
“I’d be mad as hell” she said. “Why do I do this? I do it all the time, and I really don’t want to but I feel compelled to?”
“Hmm, a reluctant hero”, I said. “You want to help, but not really. The better question to ask yourself is why do you do it at such great expense to yourself? Are your deadlines less critical, your job less important?” Why are your needs always less important than other’s?
“I never thought of it that way”, she said. “Of course you didn’t”, I responded.
Its scenarios like these by the dozens that lead any of us to feel overwhelmed and undervalued. That’s not to say that we shouldn’t help people. Of course we should. It’s also not to say that we shouldn’t occasionally help others at some cost to ourselves. In a life or death situation, our instincts take over and we do whatever we have to. But it’s quite another thing to consistently minimize and devalue our needs and our responsibilities to ourselves. After a time, we will wake one morning to find our total energetic capacity depleted. Our spiritual, mental, emotional and physical energy totally drained and we will not be of much use to anyone including ourselves.
Too often we are judged for prioritizing our needs. But the truth of the matter is, if we do not, we cannot be effective leaders and contributors to our families, communities and society for a sustained period of time.
When feeling drained and overwhelmed becomes our norm, it is both unhealthy and counter productive. It is also where resentment takes root. These three energy dynamics – drained, overwhelmed and resentment – seriously impact the trajectory of our lives.
You 3.0 Empowering Questions of the Week: Are you a reluctant hero? If yes, what has been the cost to you?
How much of your total energy is available to you for what you want to do for you?
To understand how much total energetic capacity you make available to yourself at any given time drop me a note or give me a call to learn more. In the mean time, make it a good and energetically positive week.