Successful Schedule Syndrome
Managing Your Stress
Part Two: Being the Best or Being Your Best
Topic: knowing your limits
Are you the type of person who loves to have a few good hours to relax in the evenings? Are you the type of person who loves to constantly be on the go? Maybe you’re somewhere in between?
My fiance is the type of person who needs time to relax and unwind every evening. He recharges by sitting on the couch and watching TV shows. He needs that time every day to tune out from the stresses of work, our relationship and other responsibilities in life. Though he may spend more time relaxing than others, he is no less successful. He works as a financial analyst and quickly moved up to become a business manager after less than one year. Additionally, I can attest to what a wonderful significant other he is. He helps me out with my busy schedule by doing most of the cooking because I’m always rushing off to class in the morning or busy doing homework in the evenings. He is happy in his life and shows it through his patient, kind, gentle love. Though he may spend a good portion of his days relaxing, he has a successful personal and professional life.
On the other hand, I thrive more so from a busy schedule. I find exciting weekend outings and long bouts of exercise relaxing. I’m used to a packed schedule because of college and long-distance running, and I find it boring if I end up with too much time on my hands. When I get that extra time, I usually find some project to tackle. However, I do enjoy having an hour in the evenings to read or watch TV because it calms me down from the busyness of the day before bed. Like my fiance, I’m successful. Surface-wise, I’m an A-student. In a less tangibly successful way, I diligently pursue my passions of blogging, writing and running. While my fiance is the steady, patient presence in our relationship, I bring along excitement and the desire to experience life. I also have a successful personal and professional life.
We are two very different people; we are two very successful people; we are two very happy people.
Last week, I talked about comparing your achievements to others. However, the comparison game comes in many different forms, so I’m back on the topic again.
Part of being your best self and part of not comparing yourself to others comes with knowing what type of person you are and then being okay with who that person is.
For some, a few activities and social situations are draining. For others, activities and social situations fuel their energy.
Being a busy person doesn’t necessarily make you better. It only makes you better if a packed schedule makes you happy and helps you meet your goals.
Though I may write about avoiding the comparison game, I still find myself doing it at times. I ask myself, should I join honors societies on campus, making time for the meetings and community service that they require? Should I try to freelance on the side while still in college? Should I take a full-time job over the summer even though I’ll be planning a move and job searching for a post-grad position?
I can easily start to think that I’m not successful because I’m not considering doing the things listed above. I see some of my peers joining all of the honors societies, working part-time jobs, taking on internships, AND planning to have a summer jam-packed with similar activities.
But I have to stop and think. I know there’s only so much I can handle. I wouldn’t be successful if I took on more than I could or care to handle because I would be stressed out and unhappy. I choose to fill my schedule up to a point and no further.
So just like you shouldn’t compare your tangible achievements to others, don’t compare your intangible achievements either.
Perhaps having a packed schedule makes you appear successful to your family, friends, peers and mentors. However, if it makes you unhappy, you’re not successful. Being busy does not equal success, but being happy does.
Now, it’s easy to read this and feel inspired, but it takes confidence in yourself to end the comparison game (and as you read, I’m still not all the way there).
Sit down and make a list — not a list of all the things you’re involved in or do. Instead, make a list of all the things that make you great. It can be as simple as being a loving pet owner or making the best pancakes in the world. Try and get away from the obvious things: A-student, all-start athlete, club president, renowned author, regional manager. Strip it back down to the basics because, at the end of the day, your labeled “successes” are fleeting. You may lose your high-paying, powerful job; you may encounter a crisis in life that makes your grades drop; you may be starting a family and no longer have the time to devote to your career, continuing education or volunteer work. Your character traits — the basic essence of your being — are what make you who you are; positive character traits are what make you a successful, happy person. Being a compassionate, friendly person who loves life (in whatever way you choose to love it) is being a success. Waking up with a smile because you’re happy with yourself and what your day holds is all the success you need.
What does success mean to you? Comment below and let me know.
Thanks for reading!