Creating Caring Communities That Transform Lives
Creating Caring Communities That Transform Lives
Creating Caring Communities That Transform Lives
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Tuesday, April 16, 2013 @ 4:08:00 PM - Written by Doug Hignell -

I often wonder if it's possible to truly maintain healthy margins as we age. I thought maybe we would find it easier as we grew older, but looking around, most of my family and friends (and even myself) tend to move more towards overload than healthy margins as the years progress. I'm writing this blog post from our cabin where Kaylinn and I have withdrawn from the stresses of life for a few days. Today marks our third day up here, and I'm only now beginning to feel the beginning of being rested.

As I reflect on this week, in addition to my normal business responsibilities I've been helping my father with his estate planning, spending time encouraging several different family members and close friends who are near or at overload, assisting our son Ryan in key issues related to his CrossFit gym, and providing pre-marital counseling to a young couple. My guess is that your life, though it may look differently, is just as complex.

Part of the problem is that I honestly and thoroughly enjoy every one of these interactions, but when the pace gets too fast, I have difficulty shutting down my mind and getting in touch with my soul and spirit. During weeks such as this past one, I find it more difficult to connect with God and His presence. I also begin to reach unhealthy stress levels, which causes me to fall into the trap of thinking that if I just push through for another week or two, life will finally slow down. As we know, however, this rarely seems to happen.

Many years ago, a friend of mine helped identify part of the problem. He pointed out that as we move through life, our responsibilities and expectations increase. For example, at 20 years old, I didn't have five children, eight grandchildren, dozens of close friends, and a business with over 150 employees. As a young married college student, I thought life was full. Was I ever wrong!

My friend then pointed out that as life progresses, our mental, physical, and emotional energy capacities simply begin to decrease. I certainly found this true as I entered my 50's and 60's.

The real problem manifests itself, however, when the curve representing an ever-increasing growth in responsibilities is intersected by a slowly decreasing capacity curve. At that point, overload is inevitable -- inescapable, even. We can't increase our capacities, so the only choice is to begin to reduce our responsibilities wherever possible.

Next week, I'll discuss why maintaining healthy margins is more difficult in the world today than at other points in history. Until then, ask yourself this question: Are my current responsibilities proportionate to my current energy capacities?

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