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Issue 74

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In this issue ~~

* Too Much, Too Fast

* Action Challenge

* Wise Words

* Bookshelf

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Too Much, Too Fast

For much of our careers, it seems like we're pushing and hoping for greater successes. We become used to putting out a lot of effort for a lot less return than we hoped. But every once in awhile, our hard work pays off, and the universe brings us a gushing wave of success – new jobs, new opportunities, new relationships, new recognition. Even though it's what we've been dreaming of, when it really happens, it can be overwhelming and throw us off balance.

While this is what my friend Maria calls a "good problem," it's still something you need to manage. When a new abundance rolls into your life, it can tax you physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. After dealing with scarcity and struggle, perhaps for a long time, you find yourself faced with a new way of being.

You may want to grab onto every opportunity that comes your way, for fear that the deluge will end. You may find yourself with increased demands and responsibility. You may need to expand your self-image to see yourself in your new role. You may have to rework your schedule, or even your lifestyle. You may find yourself interacting with people in a different way, or with a whole new group of people.

When a lot of new success comes your way quickly, the first thing to do is to pause. Even if you're under pressure, there's value in taking time to regain your balance, to step back and get perspective and clarity. Imagine you suddenly get called to go on a trip and need to pack a suitcase. If you hurriedly toss things in, you'll get a lot less in, and when you arrive at your destination, you'll have to deal with the chaos. If you take the time to pack things in an organized way, it will be more manageable, and you're a lot less likely to forget something important. In the same way, when you try to haphazardly pack things into your life, you end up creating more chaos, instead of the order and sanity you want.

When you're faced with a lot of options, it's also important to make choices. If you've been through a dry spell, you may feel compelled to take every opportunity that comes your way. To continue the travel metaphor, when I go to a new city, I want to take in everything that city has to offer. But if I try to do that, I wear myself out racing from place to place and don't really enjoy any of it. Instead, I pick out the sites that are most important to me and schedule a reasonable amount of time to enjoy each one. That way, I have a richer experience, rather than just checking things off a list.

In the same way, you want to choose from among the opportunities that come your way. To make good choices, it helps to know your priorities – your life goals, values and needs. If you do this in advance, and preferably on an ongoing basis, when the deluge comes, you'll have some parameters to guide you in making the best choices. You'll have a clearer idea of which opportunities to grab onto now, which ones to put on the back burner, and which to pass up. While you may cringe a bit at letting anything go, remember that by doing this, you'll have a deeper experience with the options you choose to keep, and you won't run yourself ragged trying to do it all.

It's also important to take extra-special care of yourself. With many new opportunities, you may need to put in more hours to get everything done. You may be drawing on new or little-used parts of yourself that you're still developing. You may feel stretched mentally and emotionally keeping up with the demands. Make sure you get adequate rest, and take time for fun and relaxation. Even if your new abundance is fun, it's helpful to step away from it briefly to allow your system to rest and recuperate.

Finally, build a good support system that will be there for you when your good fortune hits. It can be a great pressure valve to have a friend, family member or coach to whom you can express your overwhelm, as well as your excitement, and get support and ideas on how to cope with it. You may also need to get help with the daily tasks of your life, to free you up to give attention to your new opportunities. See if family members can pick up the slack, or investigate getting professional help.

When opportunities strike, revel in your good fortune. Go to the eye of the storm to center yourself and gain perspective, so that you can move forward in a calm, thoughtful way. Make wise choices, put new plans in place, then settle into the journey. Enjoy and celebrate every step of the way, not just when you reach your destination. You've earned it!


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Action Challenge

Prepare for success by getting clear on your values and life goals. What would you regret not accomplishing during your lifetime? What values and principles guide your actions and choices? Sit down and list your values and goals. Revisit them from time to time to remind yourself what's most important to you.

 


Wise Words

"What brings us out of comfort and fear is imagination – creativity. Those who truly love danger aren't extreme athletes, triathloners, or mountaineers. Creative people plunge into disaster every time they do something new. Because every time they try something new, they risk everything that's familiar to them. They have to confront their incompetence and stupidity, feelings that all of us carefully avoid. That's the journey of power and danger."

~ John Tarrant

"Most people feel like a fraud when they assume a new role. Unaware that this is a normal experience, they fear being exposed. Such fear inhibits spontaneous creativity and undermines your ability to work at optimal speed. Accept that feeling, and unlock your creative responses to change."

~ Ronit Herzfeld

"Whether you are concerned about managing your work or your personal life or your leisure, success and satisfaction will depend on your inner thoughts. Your inner thoughts will help to determine your outer life. . . and your inner life will affect how you react to your experiences."

~ Gillian Butler, PhD and Tony Hope, MD, Managing Your Mind: The Mental Fitness Guide

"Pray that success will not come any faster than you are able to endure it."

~ Elbert Hubbard

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Bookshelf

(click on the book graphic to see a description at Amazon.com)

Get What You Want! . . . Patricia Fripp

Create Your Own Luck: 8 Principles of Attracting Good Fortune in Life, Love, and Work . . . Azriela Jaffe

Thinking for a Change: 11 Ways Highly Successful People Approach Life and Work . . . John C. Maxwell

Overcoming Overwhelm: Thirty Days to Less Stress . . . Mia Schiffman Melanson

The Highly Sensitive Person: How to Thrive When the World Overwhelms You . . . Elaine N. Aron

Mommies and Daddies on the Fast Track: Success of Parents in Demanding Professions . . . Jerry A. Jacobs and Janice Fanning Madden, Editors

Outrageous Good Fortune . . . Michael Burke

Tao Paths to Good Fortune . . . Solala Towler

 

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© 2005 Sharon Good. All rights reserved.

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