The problem with overwhelm (besides the fact that it can put you on edge or shove you into depression, depending on how you cope) is that poor judgement-calls tend to happen from this place. When overwhelmed, it’s so easy to make a snap decision from your head instead of checking in and being intentional.
It’s important to take a step back. Get some space from the crazy, chaotic life happenings. You can set aside time to do this (always a fruitful idea), but you can also embrace a metaphor that will help you hold a wise moment-to-moment perspective…
Juggling Glass and Rubber Balls
Using a metaphor made famous by Brian Dyson (former CEO of Coca-Cola), imagine that the categories of your life (work, family, health, friends, spirituality, etc.) are balls that you are juggling.
Some of these balls are glass and some of them are rubber.
The deeply meaningful and irreplaceable categories of life are your glass balls. If dropped they will become damaged, or even shattered.
Rubber balls tend to be external things that you’ve decided to take on. These things are pointed to and brought into our world by choice. They’re obviously important to you if you’re deciding to juggle them, but they’re not glass.
We don’t want to drop any balls! But life happens. And when push comes to shove, the glass balls must not be dropped. Life gets truly off track when glass balls are dropped.
What balls do you need to set down so that you are able to juggle your life well?
What glass balls are you treating like rubber?
What a rubber balls are you treating like glass?
Using this metaphor to assess and manage your life can keep you on track in a more meaningful, sustainable way. Even in the midst of chaos and overwhelm, this way of thinking gets you in tune with a wise perspective that will serve you greatly.