A friend recently shared a wonderful analogy of how she manages to juggle so many balls in her personal and professional life. She was inspired by an article she had read about Jennifer Lynn Barnes, the New York Times author of ‘The Naturals’ series.
Jennifer tweeted about being in the audience of a Q&A where best-selling author, Roberts, was speaking at the time.
“I was at a Q&A with Nora Roberts,” she wrote in her tweet, “and someone asked her how to balance writing and kids, and she said that the key to juggling is to know that some of the balls you have in the air are made of plastic & some are made of glass.
And if you drop a plastic ball, it will bounce, and there’s no harm done. If you drop a glass ball, it shatters, so you have to know which balls are glass and which ones are plastic. So you try and prioritise catching the glass ones.”
It’s a reference initially shared by the former CEO of Coca Cola, who used this analogy during his commencement speech at Georgia Tech University in 1991. His explanation was a little simpler as he used the correlation of only 5 balls.
In reality, most of us are actually juggling WAY more than 5 balls.
Trying to balance too much can lead to stress or overwhelm. I find that when if the weight I’m carrying is too heavy a load, or I’ve been carrying it for too long, the first to go is my sense of humour. Soon after that, I become snarky and snappy, and then my tolerance (or lack thereof) moves to a whole other dimension, quite like the OPPOSITE of spiritual ascension.
The themes I chose for myself this year were ‘ease’, ‘fun’ and ‘creativity’. And I have found the best way for me to align with these values, is to remain firm with situations and requests that take me out of how I aspire to feel.
It hasn’t always been easy, as some people have been disappointed when I have changed the frontiers of our relationship that no longer suited me, but still benefited them. This has included being available at certain times, on specific days, and even regarding particular topics, that I firmly choose not to be embroiled in.
It has also included saying ‘no’ to some work opportunities – something I could never fathom even considering a few years ago, for fear that I might not ‘get’ that opportunity again. Perversely, there are times when I can really thrive under pressure – but only with a specified amount of stress, and not for too long a time. For instance, can I do back to back sessions with my clients efficiently?
Yes. Just not everyday.
And because my pressure barometer is invisible, the only way I can ever know that I’m running out of steam, is when the straw breaks the camel’s back, and in my case, that’s when I lose my shit over something that I would ordinarily laugh at or be unruffled by.
Traffic is a big tell for me. Because when I’m aligned, I can be amused with music, a podcast, or a chat with a loved one, colleague or friend. The load we carry can lighten when we give ourselves ample time.
The load can also lessen when we train ourselves and others not to take responsibility for things that others can do. Like the phone call asking what we’re having for dinner. 3pm Patty tends to get terse and annoyed with that question, but 6pm Patty who is done for the day, is usually brimming with creative ideas.
Until next time, sending you lots of love.