What do you think of when you think of margins? Initially, for me, I think of time freedom, room to breathe, and extra space. There’s another piece to margin though when there’s not enough of it!
When there’s no margin left, or worse, you’re stretched beyond the margin, then we get into trouble. Whether it’s finances, time, drinking, giving, fast food, or any other facet of our lives, when we’re overextended and outside of our personal boundaries, it’s time to act!
Sometimes, when we’re stretched too thin it can be an opportunity to make a drastic change. Kind of like making the pendulum swing the other direction. For example, have you ever been so “saturated” in stress that it caused you to completely go a different direction, maybe even a healthier one? I’m no phycologist, but in my opinion, being out of margin is a clear opportunity to get aware of my life choices and adjust what I’m doing.
The part that is tricky is the tendency to be a victim of our circumstances, as in…
- My boss makes me work too much
- My metabolism slowed down
- I don’t have time to exercise
- It’s too expensive to eat healthily
I get it, I think those same things at times, and while it’s healthy to acknowledge the struggle when we choose to LIVE there for too long, we can make ourselves get STUCK.
Where we can gain power, is once we’ve made ourselves the player again, like being the subject of the story.
Of course, taking action won’t make you a superhero at every turn, it can simply frame our circumstances as something we can influence, even if that influence is acceptance, thus putting us back in the driver’s seat of our life.
The margins in a notebook are a place to jot down special notations, flags to come back to that are helpful. As you examine your margins, take note of where you might take a turn, detour, or possibly even discover a new and different path.
I love this quote from Fred Kofman, the author of Conscious Business…
“Unconditional response-ability is self-empowering. It lets you focus on those aspects of the situation that you can influence.”
Let’s see how we could reframe the statements above to empower ourselves in these hard situations after an adequate dose of contemplation…
- My boss makes me work too much…
- My schedule is unbalanced with my work commitments.
- My metabolism slowed down…
- I notice my body changing and am curious.
- I don’t have time to exercise…
- I fit movement into my life in stolen moments throughout my day.
- It’s too expensive to eat healthily…
- I find ways to eat healthy in light of changing prices on food.
These are simply examples of how we can respond, instead of giving over our control to circumstances. Try it yourself and see if you agree.
When I’m running out of margin, it often correlates with being out of alignment with my core values. I think it can be helpful to revisit your core values to make sure you’re in touch with the ones that are most pertinent to your life currently. Here’s a list of various values, see if you can find 5 that really fit you. It’s even more powerful if you can categorize them into your top 2!
If you’d like to go deeper on this subject with a coach, please reach out for a complimentary discovery call.