You have big dreams, big ideas, big plans.

But there’s a problem, you feel pulled in too many directions. That’s because you also have important obligations, critical responsibilities, and other people’s high expectations.

  • You need to rest and recharge, but other people are/were able to push through. Maybe you just need to ignore your body, and persevere like that mom on Instagram, or like your parents did.
  • You need to get that assignment done, but your kids need help with their assignments. Oh, and the laundry needs to get done or else no one has socks to wear. You can catch up on sleep this weekend, right?
  • You need to eat healthier and exercise, but also need to cut lunch short and stay at the office late. OK, next week…you’ll just start next week.

So, what happens next? Naturally, you do what we all do: try to fit it all in. You convince yourself it’s possible to not let anyone down.

That’s it! You’re drawing a line in the sand. It’s time to sit down and make a plan.

But, then reality comes crashing in: the math isn’t mathing. The numbers don’t line up.

At this moment, you have a choice.

What you’ll probably do

On the one hand, you can start the cycle over.

This is what most of us do because it’s easy.

All you have to do is deny the result of your rational analysis.

Dig in. Alter the rules of time and space. Deny your own needs.

Plot twist! Occasionally, you will succeed, which will keep you believing it’s possible to fit it all in.

But most of the time, someone is let down, and your needs continue to go unmet.

What you probably won’t do

On the other hand, you can admit defeat.

Almost no one chooses this path, because it sucks!

When I map out my idea of a perfect day, it’s between 26-32 hours long. This means that I’m running a daily 2-8 hour deficit to fit everything in. This exercise also takes for granted that I would be able to sustain a 26-32 hour schedule, day-after-day.

And yet, I often feel guilty for all that doesn’t get done.

When I interrogate my feelings I always arrive back at the same place. My feelings are the product of my resistance against the clear reality: there is too much, and not enough time.

We hate to think we have limits. We hate to admit that we can’t be everything, everywhere, and to everyone, all at once. However, regardless of what we want to be true, what is true is that our time is limited, our energy is limited, and you’re guaranteed to drop the ball when there’s too many to handle.

You can consciously admit defeat, or choose to deny it and still lose. At some point, over the last few months, I decided to try something new: surrender.

In Defense of Surrender

When you surrender to the reality of your situation, and consciously choose who you’re going to let down, three important things happen:

  1. Who gets let down stops happening randomly, or by accident. Since you’re most likely to prioritize the needs of others over yourself, this is really important. You can finally start making yourself a priority which actually puts you in a better position to help others.
  2. You stop others from operating under the illusion that everything is fine. Because if you continue to let them think you’re fine, you can’t be surprised when they put more on your plate.
  3. You start to give yourself the space to be imperfect, to have limits, and to not get everything done.

I can tell you from recent experience, that this can be a remarkably liberating practice. Like I said, one way or another, you’re going to drop the ball. You just need to decide if you’re ready to admit it and prepare others in advance.

Even Superhumans have limits. In fact, one of the most Superhuman things you can do is understand your limits.

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