REFLECTION: Remember Goldilocks? I’m pretty sure you do. But just in case it’s been a while, here’s a ten second refresher. While strolling through the woods one day, GL waltzed into the the empty Three Bears abode and made herself at home. Chair? Too big. Too small. Just right. Porridge? Too hot. Too cold. Just right. Bed? Too hard. Too soft. Just right. The TB’s eventually returned to surprise GL, who leaped from Baby Bear’s bed and ran from the house.
Now, while I don’t condone Break & Enter or advise helping yourself to other people’s stuff, I think Goldilocks was on to something in her search for ‘Just Right’.
What, exactly, can we learn from GL about the challenges of stress in life and work? Don’t blindly accept what you stumble across first? Keep testing and experimenting till you find something that fits?
In my work with clients, I hear a lot about the problems of overloading – too much work, too many demands, too little time. For others, underloading triggers its own set of problems – pointless busywork, feelings of uselessness, time weighing heavy. Rightloading – that ‘just right’ solution – is a tricky place to find.
And it’s not all about quantity. You can have a huge number of projects on your plate (overloaded), but all of them are routinely familiar and none of them challenging enough to be engaging (underloaded). You can count a large number of friends on Facebook or in life (overloaded) but none of those connections might be deep enough to qualify as a significant relationship (underloaded).
The sweet spot is not always as clear nor as easily determined as it was for GL.
ACTION: When underloading or overloading impact life or work, use the three R’s as pointers towards ‘Just Right’: Results, Relationships & Renewal.
Relationships out of whack? Strengthen upbeat connections, disconnect from downers, help people see how and why they matter.
Renewal out of whack? Make time and space for taking a breather, invest in care or learning, dial the pace of projects up or down as needed.
Experiment with actions that move towards rightloading – neither stretched to the point of breaking nor bored out of our gourd. Like dialing in an elusive radio station, you’ll know you’ve hit the sweet spot when the static clears and reception is strong. It will feel – in GL’s terms – ‘just right’.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “Happiness is a way station between too little and too much.” – Channing Pollock, Mr. Moneypenny
RESOURCE OF THE WEEK: Not all choices are as simple or as easily reached as those of GL. If you’re looking for tools to help guide your thinking in choice making, check out the Mind Tools collection.