The Blog.

Is your can-do attitude getting you into trouble?

1 Feb 2016 | Work Life Rhythm

Phew! Deploying 3 Ninjas across 20+ UK workshops, 6 overseas missions across 6 different sites plus 12 webinars, all in the space of 2 months for 1 client is exciting for sure, but organising the logistics is not my idea of fun!

It’s something I can do, and I’m happy to do, when it means I get to do more what I love – namely speaking, coaching, training and writing. But it’s not work that brings me to life. In fact, it would kill me if this was all that I do.

So as much as it was a compliment to have a colleague (who herself is a logistics queen) tell me I’m really good at it, my immediate response was a rather forceful NO: don’t ask me to to do more of this!

The truth is, we all have work that brings us to life – the work that we enjoy doing so much that it gives us energy. The work that we’d gladly do all day long if we could.

And we all have work that’s harder, more draining, that’s not in our strength, that we can do – and are willing to do – to enable more of the work we love. But when this supporting work becomes the only work, that’s when we hit trouble.

That’s when we lose our passion, purpose and drive, when our work becomes drudgery and wholly unsatisfying. Ironically it’s also when the quality of our work suffers, and we question our own capability.

Just because we can, doesn’t mean we should. When we say ‘yes I can’ to too many things, it becomes one giant “I can’t”. I’ve wrote about this a while ago in what I called the curse of the capable.

But it’s one thing knowing something, and another thing applying it.

So here’s an opportunity to coach yourself and reflect on how your year has started.

What’s been your life-giving work in the past month? The work you’ve enjoyed doing so much, it gives you life. This is the work you need to make space for.

What’s been your life-support? The harder, more draining work that’s worth doing to enable the life-giving work. This is the work you need to balance – so that it genuinely supports, rather than replaces the life-giving work.

What’s been the distracting work? The work that neither gives life nor supports it. The work that actually taken you away from the work that brings you to life. This is the work to eliminate, to actively say ‘no’ to.

And here’s the clincher: What would you like to do differently next month?

Leave a comment and let me know. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Or if you’d like to dive in deeper with a coaching conversation, check out the different ways of working with me.


Image if author Grace Marshall

About Grace

I coach, train, write and speak on productivity. I help people adopt new ways of working and thinking about their work to replace stress, overwhelm and frustration with success, sanity and satisfaction.

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