I recently saw a phrase that said, “Maybe you think someone doesn’t have a lot on their plate compared to you. But maybe their plate is smaller than yours and doesn’t have a lot of room to begin with. Or maybe their plate is paper, and their flimsy paper plate can’t hold as much as your sturdy ceramic plate can.”
That saying resonated with me in several ways. As much as I hate to admit it, I sometimes look at others in my life and think that they aren’t doing as much as they could be. That could mean my husband sat on the couch for too long watching YouTube while I cleaned up; it could be that a fellow Kiwanian doesn’t dedicate as much time to our causes as I do.
I’ve been told I have a problem saying one simple, two-letter word: No. I have plenty of favorite four-letter words, but I struggle to say no. It doesn’t necessarily get me into trouble, but it certainly can stretch me thin, stress me out and test my patience (those last two need no assistance, mind you).
And I do. I know I do. But when you love the things you’re doing, why not do them? When people recognize that you are a good fit for a position or role, or they want to spend time with you because they care about you, then why wouldn’t you take advantage of that?
On some occasions, it’s the opposite — you’re being taken advantage of — but in many cases, you’ve been identified as a leader, someone who can get the job done and you have to prove them right…right?
While I tend to look sideways at people holding those flimsy paper plates that aren’t nearly full enough, sometimes I get looked at strangely because I’m carrying a lunch room tray full. And maybe that’s why friends and family have mentioned to me that, “Maybe it’s your chance to take a break after your year as Immediate Past President” (in Kiwanis).
I’m currently serving as the chair of the 11th annual Statesboro Kiwanis Rodeo (which will be April 22nd & 23rd, by the way!) and I got to choose my committee members. I’m a bit of a control freak (I can hear my friends gasping in shock, HA, HA), so I have a hard time asking for help, but I know that I have a great group of fellow Kiwanians that can help me tackle things that come my way.
I certainly didn’t choose any slackers to be on my committee because when you know you can trust people to get done the tasks you’ve delegated them, then you’ve done your job as a leader. The chair is only as strong as the committee that it serves with. And let me tell you — this committee kicks butt!
When people mention to me that they think I’m doing too much or maybe I should back off of this or that, I know that they’re concerned I’m going to burn out … but I’m the type that will be more likely to leave from boredom than from being overworked. At the same time that I’m looking at people and thinking they don’t do enough, people look at me and think I do too much.
I work well under pressure and under a deadline (ask Angye, our Discovering Bulloch editor… I’m the queen of last-minute articles — sorry, Ang!) and so having lots of things to do keeps me from feeling unaccomplished.
Much to Jason’s dismay, I’ve always had a hard time relaxing. Most couples without children probably spend their weekends sleeping late, binge watching TV and I have no clue what else because I’m not one of those people. While we are childless, I can’t sit idle. If I’m watching TV, there has to be a load of clothes going through the washer. And when they’re done, they get switched to the dryer and another load started. For the longest time, I was unable to just sit when I know there are things to do (Prozac helped with that, by the way!). Now I can sit and watch TV without feeling that way, but when the feeling hits, I have to accomplish a ton all at once.
I work a full-time job, chair two committees, serve on our Board of Directors and serve on the fair committee for Kiwanis. And I love to go to concerts. I also love getting in my craft room and getting covered in glitter making tumblers and such. Jason and I like doing DIY projects around the house.
Do I get stressed out and shut out the world sometimes? Yes!
Do I have distractions that keep me from completing a task in the 10 minutes it should take me? You bet!
Do I sometimes dread having three meetings a month AFTER a full day of work? 100%!
But when I get my head back in the game, when I help pull off a successful event, when I write an article that people give me good feedback on or when I close a sale at work, that sense of accomplishment and the high I get from it is better than I think any drug could make you feel.
Kiwanis has given me so much more than that sense of accomplishment — it’s given me an amazing group of friends, a plethora of role models and it helped me discover that I have a servant’s heart.
I don’t think that we should be looking at one another and thinking that someone has a problem saying no… or that someone doesn’t say yes enough. Instead of discouraging me from taking on more, maybe ask how you can help me accomplish what I have taken on. Remind me that you’re here for me — your ear is open for me to vent to you, offer up a prayer for me, ask what you can do to make something easier for me. When someone is willing to do — don’t encourage them to stop — support them and you’d be surprised at how much stronger it makes them (and rewarding it can be for you) at the same time.