There is a concept that has crossed my radar frequently over the last few years. That concept is about having margins.
When I first heard it, I didn’t have a clue what was meant. Margins. You know: like the blank space along all the edges of the page (or even this post). If we crammed the writing right up against every edge, it would actually make reading pretty difficult.
Well, when you cram every moment with things to be done, life can get pretty difficult.
We need space
We do need space. And time. For ourselves. For thought. For breathing.
If we fail to plan for that space, we can find ourselves without it. That’s when we find ourselves running a rat race without even remembering why we’re in the race to begin with.
What’s your win?
Some talk about being in a race. Well, when you’re in a race, you want to win, right? So decide what’s your ‘win’ ahead of time.
If we’re going to run this race, wouldn’t be nice to know what winning would look like? If you don’t know what your win is, how will you know if you’ve succeeded?
For instance: he who has the most toys when he dies wins. Absolutely horrible goal, but it makes a funny t-shirt. And it’s a pretty concrete way to know if you’re “winning”. (Hopefully none of you think this is a good win!)
But take some time. Think about what winning would look like in each area of your life. I’m going to share some wins that Andy and Sandra Stanley set for themselves.
Early in their marriage they came up with what would be a win for them: that they each would always want to be where the other person was. Pretty simple, yet pretty profound.
Once they had a child they decided the over arching goal for their kids would be: that they would want to be with each other and their parents after they no longer had to. Pretty simple, and yet who can argue that’s not a great win?
Now create margins
Once you know your win, it’s easier to make decisions. Does this get me closer to my goal?
If something might start to crowd in on what your goals are, then it makes it a little easier to decide what to pare down.
Once you’ve pared down your activities, and have some margin, you’ll find yourself with a lot more patience.
Let’s face it – isn’t the most common reason for running out of patience, is that you feel that you’re running out of time?
When you’ve got extra time built in, then you don’t get overwhelmed, and you have the, what some might say, the luxury of patience.
But remember to practice patience with yourself! Changes come about with small steps over time. Don’t try to radically alter your life all at once. Choose one area in which you can create a little margin. Baby steps. When you see the difference it makes, you’ll find the motivation to make more changes.
Happy margin making!