One Idea That Can Change Your Work and Life

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Five or so years ago my wife and I moved from Chicago to Seattle. We had lived in a three bedroom house with a basement and garage. We didn’t know where we were going to live once we arrived in Seattle. We ended up in a one bedroom apartment— with way more stuff than could fit in it.

We had to make choices, that were difficult at the time, about what stays and what goes. We got rid of things that I was attached to. It was hard, but a house can only fit so much stuff and still be livable.

Your life is a lot like a house. You can only have so much in it. I’ve been learning this lately as I’ve had to make hard decisions about what to do and how to do it. A lot has slipped through the cracks as I’ve bumped up against the limits of my capacity.

I’ve had to learn to let some things go.

Like changing the size of your house, seasons of life have different capacities. A few months ago I was putting on a big event for dreamers and schemers in Seattle, last month I was making Fearless February. Right now, I don’t have the space for a big project. I’ve filled the space with other things (more on that in coming weeks).

I have a friend who was just offered a new position at work. It’s a great compliment and would offer him lots of opportunities to excel and grow. It’s the kind of thing that he’d normally jump at the chance to pursue. But life isn’t normal for him right now. He and his wife had their first child a couple months ago. They’re still adjusting and not sleeping much.

While it would be great to take the plunge, he’s at his limit.

So often we forget that our capacity ebbs and flows.

We forget that life sometimes dictates more of what we are able to take on than we want it to. We forget we only have space for so much at a given time and that we need to carefully choose what we bring into it and what we will remove from it.

Since your life has a limited capacity, what will you choose to put in it and what will you choose to remove? [tweet that]

Share your thoughts in the comments.

Dan Cumberland is on a mission to push you into the places meaning, life, & work intersect. He is the author of The Meaning Manifesto. Read more about him here, and connect with him on facebook and twitter.

There Are 6 Comments On This Post.

  1. Bill Swan

    This is great. I’m feeling this, and understand the ebb and flow. There are seasons where certain things have to go. I look forward to hearing about the more on your plate!

    • Dan

      Thanks Bill! More on that from me as soon as I work out some details and make some decisions!

  2. Katie

    This hit home. I was just “released” from my management position because I switched from full time to part time with the birth and growing needs of my son. And then my replacement backed out and I have the opportunity to pick it back up, but I know that wouldn’t be best right now. Thanks for the wisdom today Dan.

    • Thanks for reading and writing, Katie. These are good-but-hard lessons to learn. 🙂

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