Sometimes our schedules get cluttered the same way our homes do. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by endless roles and responsibilities, use this strategy from Breathing Room to find relief, gracefully.
Here’s your mantra. Are you ready? It’s pretty simple, and it goes like this:
Thank you for the opportunity to serve.
Got it? Good. Because you are going to need it. Starting now.
When it comes to collecting roles and responsibilities in life, our schedules get cluttered in the same way that our houses do. You bring things in and nothing goes out. There is a mathematical logic to clutter: if you take in more than you let go, your house is going to become an overburdened, draining mess. This is true for your schedule as well. Say yes to everything and you will quickly find yourself in a big heap of overwhelm and exhaustion.
Here’s the good news, and it also depends on mathematical logic: you can easily maintain a healthy schedule, as long as you let go of one responsibility for every new responsibility you take on. Period. So whatever you take on, you must love it more or find it more fulfilling than at least one other thing you are already doing.
We understand: you have lots of passions and interests. Lots of people depend on you and look up to you. You don’t want to disappoint anyone (least of all yourself). But you are one person and you have only so much time in each day. So be selective.
Whenever you are offered a chance at a new opportunity, get out your mantra because you are going to need it. Say it twice—once for the responsibility you are taking on, and once for the obligation you let go of.
To the new responsibility, you are going to say: “Thank you for the opportunity to serve. I appreciate the chance. I will continue to do this task as long as it is mutually beneficial.” Why mutually beneficial? Because it is not just about being of service to the person or organization; it’s about finding work that is beneficial to your own personal growth. You can benefit by learning real skills, in relationship, in heart, or in spirit. When the responsibility reaches the point that it is serving them but not you, let it go. Be clear on this. With the exception of parenting, no role is guaranteed forever. Period.
To the obligation you need to let go of, say, “Thank you for the opportunity to serve. I am so grateful to have been a part of this, but it is time for me to move on. I feel good about making room for someone else to step in. I wish nothing but blessings for your future.” Carry your mantra in your pocket. If you are a person who is energetic, valuable, and trustworthy, you will need to use it a lot. Being asked to take on these responsibilities speaks volumes about the person you are. Take it as a compliment. The more valuable you are, the more you’ll need your mantra. Don’t be afraid to use it.