As my life unfolded to include many children and numerous businesses, each with commitment and responsibility, I recognized that I run around on stage much like the performer keeping plates spinning for an audience. Mind you, I’m also in the audience. Regularly, I am entertaining myself. I can laugh heartily at my efforts.
It takes a lot of energy to keep plates spinning, doesn’t it? When a plate drops, sometimes there is a dangerous mess to clean up. More often, it’s simply a broken plate that needs to be cleaned up and decision about whether or not there is a margin of energy to keep it in the “performance”.
To follow the plate imagery, let’s explore how to increase the effectiveness in balancing what is in our lives:
Energy: Where do you get it? How do you sustain it?
For me, there are areas of my well – being that I know are crucial for my effectiveness and steady contributions to all I choose. My lifestyle (diet, exercise, chiropractic, prayer, reflection, sleep, etc) and relationships (with my God, partner, kids, family / friends, fellowship / friendship with "my people" and even, maybe especially, mySelf) fuel me. Know where your energy comes from.
Momentum: What are the habits and systems you have in place to reflect and evaluate how you spend your available energy? I’ve used various tools over the years, but currently use a personalized Daily Rhythm Register from Darren Hardy’s work and the applications of brain dumping from David Allen’s Getting Things Done.
Attention and Intention: Line it up – are you giving attention to what you INTEND to give attention to? Distractions are everywhere. As a mother of 5, I have learned to make “room for detours” so that I can CHOOSE to give my attention to the day’s priority. There is energy in choice. Recently, I added the Passion Planner that organizes my intentions in a methodical process, speaking a similar language that I use with clients. There are ample tools out there. Find the ones that resonate with you and USE THEM, not because anyone said to, but because you choose to, knowing they support your intentions.
Seasons: There are seasons with more plates than others. With more plates, there is more running between them, increased stresses and increased production. There are seasons with less plates too. Pick. Choose. Receive the Power of choice in the plates you DESIRE to give your energy to.
Do the plates ever drop? Of course they do. How do you think we learn to spin them and then spin more? If you wanted to learn how to spin plates, you start with one. Gradually, you add more and perfect your skill of spinning over time. In another plate spinning video with Henrick Bothe on the Ed Sulllivan Show, he says “HELP!” That is a powerful and valuable word to keep in our vocabulary as we learn to navigate the new plates that we’re adding. Leading in our businesses create this need, yes? We can bring others in to spin some plates. Remember that different seasons have different plates. New kids, like new businesses require different attentions and intentions, don’t they? How many of us still spin the diapering and potty training plate? How many of us enroll others to share some of the spinning. You're not alone. Ever.
We have all dropped a few plates in our lives. Can you receive that experience in a way that is life giving and contributes to more energy & attention to your intentions? OR are you framing the experience as failing? This is a very energy draining perspective.
Rest: It’s okay to stack the plates, take a break and come back tomorrow. They’ll be there and you prioritize which ones get your energy for the day. You remember that the oxygen mask goes on the parent before the child on an airplane? Your recovery and time for health is critical to the energy you can bring to those commitments tomorrow.
Learn to leverage your experiences with patience, trust in the processes that you’re investing in, and stay aware of the skills you’re developing along the way.You’re not spinning your wheels, you’re spinning plates.
At the end of the performances, the crowd roars. Please find your voice, and ROAR with them. You’re in the audience too, Mom. Give yourself a hand.
I'd love to hear your thoughts and feedback. If you enjoyed these perspectives and reminders, please share with others so they can be encouraged too.