Some of us, especially entrepreneurs, have the capacity to take on a lot. Often take on a lot more than we should. And over time we get really good at it, and if more comes on, we might even take some more on. Or there will come a point where you say, “No, this is my limit. This is where a line is being crossed. This is it, this is too much.”
So how much is too much?
I don’t have an answer for that, because every person’s ‘too much’ is different, because each of us is different. Let’s look at questions that may help you answer your “How much is too much?”
Like many others on the planet, I have been propelled into an orbit where I am discovering new levels of integrity to lean into; or you could say I am finding parts of me that don’t feel integral to who I am. Which means I feel compelled to drop masks that feel completely stupid to keep wearing any longer. Or when I start writing posts for this blog, I say a whole lot more than I would usually say. There are blog posts that haven’t been uploaded here, because they are too honest, too raw, too much of my wading through troughs. It makes others comfortable. Or it gets some others to worry about consequences. Me? I don’t worry, I am not sure there are enough readers of this blog to really make any finite dent in the universe. But if it makes my people uncomfortable, then I will simply align to that, for now. So that’s the first question, and one that I will be dealing with for a while. How much is too much of honesty?
The first weekend of the year saw us have our lovely company offsite. We had a day of great conversations, discussions, drinks and dancing. The conversations continued over the week. One of the things that came up was that we don’t communicate enough. And one team member even pointed out that the co-founders need to be talking about their challenges to the team a lot more. We had another team discussion this week, in which the co-founders shared their experiences openly. It is not that we have not done this before. It’s just that we went a few notches further. More vulnerability, more rawness displayed to all. Is there a thing like too much display of vulnerability?
Here’s another one. You start a company with a certain focus, to really bring about a change in a domain you know you can make a difference to. And you do whatever you have to, to make it work. It builds, it grows, it stalls, it puts you through tremendous debt. And one fine day, you get funded. Nice! Now you have the wherewithal to make it bigger, and wider and deeper. And you do. Then the investors say, “Go buy that company out, because you have similar audiences.” You protest, but they insist (they are invested in that company too). So you agree to it. And then slowly (or maybe suddenly) no one is talking about that domain you were passionate to bring a change about in. How much interference is too much?
Here’s a really common one. You have it pretty good: a good job, money, a friendly spouse, a couple of great kids. You tick all the right checks: hang out with friends, take the vacations that look great on social media, banter with family and extended family, contribute to social causes, and so on. But somewhere deep down, you know this isn’t what you signed up for. When your best friend asks, “How are things?”, you often say, “Boring!”. How much is too much of boredom?
So many questions one can ask oneself.
How much abuse is too much? Emotional? Verbal? Physical?
How much of being taken for granted is too much? “She will do it for you!” “She won’t mind!” “She can do it by herself, she always does.” “She is a superwoman, she will manage.”
How much of helping others is too much? Thin ice, there. But a worthy question to those who can’t say No. And I know many of those; I have been there myself.
How much fear is too much fear? Of self, of others, of what others think?
How much carbs is too much carbs? Pass me those fries, please.
So it comes down to this: Where do you draw the line? Do you even know there is a line? And if you choose to have the line crossed, do you know why? And are you truly okay with that?
Whatever you answer to any of this, there will be naysayers. What will you do about that, especially if you have that ‘too much fear of what others think’?