Is Your Plate Too Full? Get a Bigger Plate

It can be as important to say “no” as it is to say “yes” when people are demanding your time – but sometimes you just need a new perspective – you need a larger plate.

by Pete Ferguson

A month or so ago I was talking to my boss about all we had going on and he introduced another item – to which I responded that our plate was already pretty full. In his usual calm fashion he recommended I “get a bigger plate.”

At first that felt a little overwhelming – but as it sunk in, I understood what he was saying. It was a coaching moment, it wasn’t a task master assignment. He was helping me see the bigger opportunities that would be available if we took on this new important responsibility.

There are times when too much is going on for us to be productive without stopping some things in order to start doing more important things.

And then there are times where our limited perspective sells us short of greater opportunity.

I don’t claim to have the answers – but I’ve found that surrounding myself with others who think differently and can add a fresh perspective is very helpful in evaluating what opportunities have the greatest potential and are worth pursuing – despite the fact that I may feel I’ve taken on a lot already.

I was looking for a previous post this morning about a new way of rock climbing – but couldn’t find it. Basically, the traditional rock climbers spent a lot of time on each hold, not moving forward until they felt very confident. Then along came a new way of thinking – you are only going to be on a good hold for a few seconds, concentrate instead on getting to the top.

A bird sitting on a tree is never afraid of the branch breaking because her trust is not on the branch but on it’s own wings.  Always believe in yourself!  ~(Anonymous – found on Neissa Springmann’s website)

In other words, instead of waiting for perfection to take action, climbers are scampering up difficult climbs quickly and enjoying the view from the top long before others make it there.

I witnessed this during our summer vacation to Zion’s National Park where we hired a guide and climbed. She very quickly crawled up the rock, attached our ropes and then rappelled down. Then we each took 2-3 times as long to get up – with ropes. Her experience gave her confidence that she could get to the top, so she was not slowed down by the process.

When we awaken from our preconceived ideas of what something should be, we can start enjoying what can be and get to work.

How big is your plate? Can you handle a larger one? What will you stop doing to start doing greater things?


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