Skip to content

Over-Booked, Over-Scheduled, and Over-Committed

June 17, 2010

Isn’t it time we all slow down?

Over the last few days, I’ve been thinking about what I really want. And in this thinking, I’ve discovered a few unconscious “gotchas” – you know, those fluctuations of the mind stuff that you never thought were there but silently steer you in a direction as if you were a puppet on a string.

What’s been running silently and deeply in the gray matter between my ears?

1. The fear of being seen as irresponsible


2. The fear of being a colossal failure
I’m probably one of the most responsible people you’ll ever meet but once upon a time, when I was a teenager, I was told time and time again how irresponsible I was by well meaning parents. I was by no means a model teenager – I was mouthy, I lied, I manipulated, and I probably pushed my parents to their limit. Once I got a clue I vowed to do my best no matter what I was doing. That led me to become your classic type A, over-achieving, uber responsible adult. I become so responsible, that I took on responsibilities that clearly belonged to other people.

Over the years, I have learned that taking on the responsibilities of others is emotionally draining and unhealthy and while I no longer do that I still carry with me this unreasonable fear of being seen as irresponsible. Which then leads me to my other fear – the fear of being a colossal failure. Not just your run of the mill failure, but a really really big one.

Both of these fears are my ego weaving its black magic inside my mind while hideously cloaked in stealth mode. Recognizing these two fears as driving forces in my life has been unnerving. I thought I had both of these licked a long time ago, but the ego thrives in fear and allowed me to think I had it licked while it simply switched to silent mode.

But how did I recognize them?

I was challenged by my friends Wilma and John – and they helped me realize I was overcommitting myself and my energy…again. When I begin to dread the very things I love to do because I feel overwhelmed by it all, that’s when I know I’ve taken on too much and that habit is driven by that silly fear of being seen as irresponsible.

And then I was challenged by my friend Tess – and I openly admitted to being afraid of being a failure, not just any kind of failure, but a colossal failure. So even this fear of failing has mushroomed inside my head as something so huge it has me running around doing a little of this, a little of that, and saying Yes to just about everything that comes my way. It keeps me awake at night, plotting and planning on how to involove myself in this project, on that project. I’m here, there and everywhere. And it all just becomes rather exhausting.

So exhausting that I want to check out of everything I’ve got going on. My Stepmom’s Toolbox blog, my Stepmom’s Toolbox radio show, supporting other stepmoms, writing my book, teaching yoga, and yes, even co-leading the workshop I have scheduled for August 7!

And when I confronted these unreasonable fears head-on and inside my head, I literally wanted to pick up my ball, stop playing, and go home. I wanted to shut the door on all this stuff, hang it up, and quit. And what would that have made me? An irresponsible colossal failure.

One the score card of life, my ego would have won that round.

Instead, I took some time to sort through my recently surfaced fears, pause through my knee-jerk thought reactions, toss ideas around with my husband and with my friends, and take my dog, Edgar, on some really long walks.

Like the character Tigger, I sometimes bounce too far from what I really want by saying Yes to nearly everything and I sometimes bounce too high and get stuck in trees and need a little bit of rescuing.

I thought about what I really want: To create an oasis of calm in the middle of every day busy-ness and I realized that the calm oasis must start with me first. Returning to my center, my core, and reclaiming my energy. On one of my walks, I realized I was over-booked, over-scheduled and over-committed. I looked at what was going on in life and in my projects and rescheduled my radio show programming as each show takes time to prepare beforehand and I want each show to reflect the care and quality of my preparation. What amazed me was how this one tweak seemed to break the log jam I created in my head.

The other day during my yoga practice, I realized that I needed to slow down. If other people notice how “busy” I am and wonder how I do it all perhaps I need to pause here. And ask myself how do I do it all? Because it’s not all being done with care. I decided to permanately take Fridays off from work. And I don’t want to fill up those 6-8 hours with other “stuff.” It’s the one day where I don’t have to schedule my time for other people.

How do I want to spend these reclaimed hours? Going to my yoga class at 9:30AM and then taking my laptop to the Coffee Factory in Derry, kick back with a large latte, and write to my heart’s content (or stare at a blank screen until words flow from my brain to my fingertips).

The other night I asked Richard what he thought of me opening a yoga studio downtown. After all, we’ve spent $4,200 to get me not just 200 hour level certified to teach, but 500 hour level as well. For the last 2 1/2 years, I”ve given up one weekend a month to do this. I loved every minute of it, but now that I’m done the next logical move in my small mindedness is to open a studio.

Months ago Richard asked me if I’d like it if he converted one of our garage bays into a studio so that I could at least teach to a handful of students while he’s deployed. I loved the idea. I remember wiggling about doing my happy dance. In my unintentional and underhanded way, I reminded Richard that the garage bay is still a garage bay and he’s only got 90 days at home before he deploys for a year. I don’t want his time sucked up by a yoga studio project. He told me he’s going to ask his ex-brother-in-law who still owes him a chunk of change to exchange work for his debt. I can see the possibilities here and how this arrangement will work so that everyone wins.

Even as I write this my ego is chattering away a million thoughts a minute. I am a work in progress but I’ll be damned if those ego driven fears of mine will stop me for enjoying every now moment I have. Worrying about whether or not I’m seen as being irresponsible or that I’ll become a colossal failure is robbing me of not only of this very moment but of my own infinite possibilities.

What’s robbing you?

8 Comments leave one →
  1. June 17, 2010 11:29 pm

    Dearest Peggy, I am wriggling about doing my happy dance. Oh my dear friend, these revelations are so powerful and so precious and they are life giving. You have regained your precious moments in which you can be you, no longer driven by the avalanches of doing your fears have generated for you.
    The ego based thoughts are very intrusive, they are everywhere and therefore often so invisible that we can only see them with the support of others.
    This happens to all of us; “Like the character Tigger, I sometimes bounce too far from what I really want by saying Yes to nearly everything and I sometimes bounce too high and get stuck in trees and need a little bit of rescuing.”
    Having to be rescued is NOT something to be ashamed of, we all need it from time to time and that is why what you and I are doing so valuable.
    What robbed me the most was my arrogance in thinking that if I didn’t know the answer nobody did, so I never asked anybody when I was stuck. Duh, as I am NOT Einstein, my own solutions didn’t get me very far and I missed out on using John’s brain. I too got over that and of course I am a lot smarter for it :).
    You champ for kicking that ego into place and that just in time before Richard disappears on deployment.
    Well with each other to the rescue you and I will go far, xox Wilma

    • Peggy Nolan permalink
      June 18, 2010 12:49 pm

      Dear Wilma,

      Last night Richard and I talked and I told him about this – about uncovering my inner cowardice – and not trusting myself or him enough to get to it sooner. I think about the time I’ve nearly wasted just being fearful without realizing it because I didn’t “see” it for what it really is – and denying it even after Richard asked me days ago, “are you afraid of writing the book?” Me? Afraid? oh hell no. But really…hell yes. And now that I “see” it, I can do something about it. Thanks to you and WomenLikeMe! xo, Peggy

  2. June 18, 2010 7:36 am

    Hi Peggy .. I used to be like you .. but I learnt to relax and do what I could do.

    Your project sounds lovely .. and I’m sure will satisfy your mind – as to its yoga needs .. a place to be professional with your new project .. easier to do it at home too – less hassle etc

    If Richard’s away for a year .. then you’ll have a focus and won’t miss him so much .. I think it’s great and to be able to offer your skills to others within the locality ..

    Enjoy .. and you’ve your wonderful friends to tap into .. Wilma and Tess .. who understand so much .. have a great weekend .. Hilary

    • Peggy Nolan permalink
      June 18, 2010 12:51 pm

      Dear Hilary,

      See, I thought I was relaxed and doing what I could do – only I’ve discovered I can do a lot less, focus more, and turn out something even better. Slowly but surely, I am getting it 🙂 Enjoy today!! Love, Peggy

  3. June 19, 2010 1:11 pm

    Oh Peggy I’m sure happy you’re back on this blog sharing life with me again. I love your thought process and who can’t relate. What’s robbing me? Quilt from playing and enjoying life…I think the world is a mess and if somebody had a video of my life they would think I didn’t care.

    I’ve been asking for a lot of guidance so far we put our home on the market and we’re moving closer to town when it sells. And I’m speaking again. I keep getting invitations and I have no speaking website or blog. Just people who remember how good I was. This week I got an invitation to speak at a high school for a lot of money. I want the money so I said I’d think about doing it and I’d get back on Wednesday. On Thursday I said the Truth…school isn’t my think I’m referring two other people for the job. She immediately had another offer at a place of business. Today I said yes. I have another offer we’re working the details out on…so it’s off to speaking I go;) happy weekend!

    • Peggy Nolan permalink
      June 21, 2010 4:42 pm

      Dear Tess ~

      How exciting to picking and choosing your speaking engagements! I’ve been asking for a lot of guidance, too. Things tend to get a little scary, a little whacky, and yes, very exciting when I set course in a new direction! I wish you success in selling your home and finding the perfect spot closer to town!!


  4. June 21, 2010 8:29 am

    Thank you for sharing this so openly. I will respond in kind so that you will know what you share does make a difference.
    This past week I have been awfully discouraged with my on the it truly the way to raise my children..You’ve ‘known’ me for a while so you would probably immediately question my newfound doubts, so deep that the thought has crossed my mind to just sell the boat and move to land. Ah, but my heart, my heart is so heavy at the thought.
    The culprit then..fear…fear as you mention..fear of being a colassal failure because I’m trying something new and different and my entire life I’ve been told new and different will never ever work. Fear because I have a few new maintenance projects on the boat that intimidate me, and in this fear filled moment I cannot see how it will “work out”, so I might as well give up then…My mind has overpowered my heart..because my heart knows..when I am authentic and stand in faith there is always a way..I do not need to ‘see’ the Answer, I just need to know it is there…
    I love watching your journey because you are soaring, and it is so inspirational to observe how you keep soaring…

    • Peggy Nolan permalink
      June 21, 2010 4:44 pm

      Dearest Joy,

      Thank you so much for sharing your fears, too. I felt silly for posting mine, but gosh darn it, I can’t be the only one with them, right? Made me feel a bit naked exposing what I so would rather hide – from me, from everyone! How right you are, “we don’t need to SEE the answer…we just need to KNOW it’s there.” 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: