Know Your Limits

When I landed my first serious “big girl” job at the ripe old age of 24, my colleagues included professionals with MBA’s, 10 years of Directorial experience, 40 years of life experience and killer resumes.

I had experience, I had drive, I had passion and I had ability.  I was qualified for the job, but I lacked the ability to know my limits.

This lack of awareness made for a very challenging three years.

I wanted to succeed, and I’m proud to say I did.  The team I led surpassed every goal we were given.  We created initiatives which were implemented in cities across the nation.  We engaged thousands of people in meaningful community activities, and we identified and cultivated leaders who continue to make an impact in other organizations today.

Unfortunately, in the burning pursuit of achievement, by the time I left the position, I felt burned out. I was tired.  I felt used up, stressed, anxious. I was spent.

And all because I had not yet cultivated the ability to know my limits.  I had lost my balance.

I regret to say that I would wake up at 4 AM to answer emails.  I would cancel evening and weekend plans with friends to take a conference call.  I would make my now-husband wait an extra hour to go out for dinner on a Saturday night because I’d stay late at an event to help clean up.  Each reasonable if done in moderation. Unreasonable when done without exception.  Does this sound at all familiar?

A few big girl jobs later, and now working for myself, I am keenly aware of the benefit of setting solid boundaries.  I experience the power of knowing my limits and respecting them.

For my clients, I produce better results. For my family and friends, I am a happier person.  For me, I no longer experience the sensation or symptoms of anxiety and stress.  All because I have sound limits and clear boundaries.

How have you pushed yourself beyond your limits?  What can you do to find more balance?