You Can Do Anything You Want, But………

032 Margin II Table

You can do anything you want, you just can’t do everything you want. “No” is a complete sentence: no explanation needed.

I love coming across pearls of truth like the one above where a ton of wisdom is packed into just a few words. To me it is kind of like a zip file; once you access it the content expands and becomes actionable.

I can’t remember exactly where I came across the advice in the first paragraph of this post, but am pretty sure it was when listening to Michael’s podcast on How to Regain Interior Margin Through the Practice of Stillness. Regardless, check out the podcast because he addresses one aspect of the topic of Margin in a very practical way. He also has a number of other posts that speak to the subject and Dr. Richard Swenson has written about extensively.

Getting clear on your Margin gives you the space and breathing room to pursue the important (ie. your Mission) and not get derailed by the urgent. It also allows you to set realistic expectations…including “stretch” expectations……on what you can and can’t get done.

I’ve come to the realization that while you can progressively improve in your battle for Margin, it’s better thought of as a daily practice rather than a fight that is won. When I view building Margin in my life as a destination point rather than an ongoing process requiring deliberate practice, I set up an unrealistic expectation and get frustrated.

Victories in our respective battles for reclaiming Margin are sometimes measured in inches (or rather seconds) and the battle lines ebb and flow. How would you measure your Margin right now and where would you put your line?

Don’t compare yourself to others, that usually leaves you with either a false sense of elation or frustrated, neither of which is good. We each have our unique capacity for work and requirements for Margin. How do you know when you have what you need? I gave two examples in a prior post that may help you answer that question in the area of your time and finances.

Here are two things to remember: no one is going to walk up and give you more Margin and no one cares more about your Mission than you do. Here are four questions that can help you get clear on your “M&M’s” (Margin & Mission) and take action:

  • What do you need to stop doing to move you toward your desired outcome?
  • What are you doing that if you did less of it, or stopped it altogether, would move you toward your desired outcome?
  • What are you doing that if you did more of it, would move you toward your desired outcome
  • What you not doing, that if you started it, would move you toward your desired outcome?

*For the last two questions, if you are already stretched you have to give up something before you add anything else.

Remember, you can do anything you want, you just can’t do everything you want. Knowing what you need to do in order to get the Margin you need for renewal and pursuit of the important things in your life is key. That awareness will allow you to move from
being scattered, overextended and fried to focused, right-sized and effective. And enjoying it in the process.

032 Margin II 2 Table

I would love to hear what is working for you as well as what you are struggling with. I bet we all have a lot more in common in this area than we think and the dialogue could really help move the needle forward for everyone.