This past weekend, our family went on a camping trip with my daughter Jenna’s pre-school class. There were 30 children, ages 4-5, along with their parents and teachers. Needless to say, my daughter and her classmates had a terrific time and created many lasting memories. When I asked her what her favorite part was, she said, “climbing all those trees, Mom!” If you have ever been camping, then you are well aware that you put your tent up, roll out that sleeping bag, and prepare to live in nature. Then, of course, when the camping is over you begin the task of taking all of those items and getting them back into their small, tiny, itty-bitty bags. As soon as you begin this process, you immediately wonder – how in the world did they ever get that sleeping bag into that tiny carrying case in the first place?
On Sunday, as we all began to pack up, my friend and smart woman, Margie Glick, said with a chuckle, “This is a morning about packing a lot into a little.” Well said Margie. It also got me to thinking about how busy women do this act most every day. We look at the “to do” list and we try to pack as much as we can into the smallest amount of time. At the end of the day, we end up late, exhausted, and cranky. After all, we are wives, partners, moms, entrepreneurs, daughters, friends, volunteers—did I miss anything? And we take each one of those roles very seriously. As a matter of fact, we take them so seriously that it can become hazardous to our well-being. “Getting it all done” can be a badge of honor that we wear. To be able to check off the “to do” list at the end of the day can feel liberating, or, over time some of it can also begin to feel like a burden.
In my work with women, one of the areas where we spend time is looking at what’s most important and meaningful to them right now in their life. What seems to hold the most value for you? What’s missing in your life? What would you like to let go of? What seems to be calling you right now in your life? When we are so hurried, meeting deadlines, and racing to complete the “to do” list, we sometimes miss what might be most important for us right now. It’s essential to take some quiet, peaceful time to think about what might be next, what might need to change in your life.
It’s about unpacking your life’s suitcase and looking at each piece as you take it out and deciding: “Do I really need this?” “Is this part of where I am going?” We need to learn how to lighten our load. When I was in my 30’s, I used to have all of these big ideas. I would think about them with great energy and then I would ask myself the question: “How will I get all of this done?”
In my 40’s, I still have lot’s of great big ideas. I ask myself a different question now: “Who can help me accomplish this?” Big difference. Different mindset. Better results. The key is to unpack your life’s suitcase, let go of what’s no longer meaningful, hold on to what’s essential, and give away what’s meaningful but does not necessarily need to be in your suitcase (things that need to get done but maybe you do not need to be the one doing it!).
What we realized that morning at the campsite, was that we needed to be supportive and collaborative to get packed up. Everywhere you looked you saw a lot of people working together to pack “a lot into a little.” And this of course, made all the difference.
Anything is possible. Everything is waiting for you.
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