What if something happened to me? How would my family survive? Who will fulfill my tasks at home and at work? Will the planet still spin on its axis? Maybe the sun will forget to rise. We have all grappled with these thoughts where we feel the burden of the world is on our shoulders. We are the ones making things tick. We are the 'responsible' ones.
Let me break that myth.
You, me, none of us... are that important.
When you start to operate with this mindset of being responsible for everything (and sometimes everyone!), you put yourself in a downward spiral of anxiety, expectations, unfulfilled expectations leading to an unfulfilled state. You find your fault when wrong things happen around you - for your direct reports not performing, peers not collaborating or senior management not being aligned to what the right path is. If we move to a personal context, you hold yourself responsible for how your spouse leads their life, your children respond to situations, or how the lives of your friends are turbulent.
You are overthinking this.
We are all interdependent. Significantly rely on each other for fulfilling the smallest to the largest of our needs. Each one of us plays a critical role in this cycle. Imagine the water that you drink in the morning or the food you eat. You are not responsible for putting it on to your plate. Many many individuals played a part to make sure that it reaches you.
It is the same for everything else too - every decision you take, the task you accomplish, or need you to fulfill is dependent upon so many others who are supporting you, assisting you, being there for you, and sometimes even pushing you. It is an ecosystem that we are a part of.
What you can control!
I hope we are now aligned that we are not the ones controlling outcomes. We are not in command. The only thing we can try to control and hopefully reach a state of control is our aspirations, our desires, our emotions, our beliefs, and our actions.
Imagine the following scenario
You are working on a critical client project. It is overwhelming. The deadline is fast approaching - 5 days to go for that big presentation. You are the Senior Director of Client Development and you are the (wo)man in the house to get this done. 6 years in the organization. Prepared for such a high-stakes moment. You believe you will deliver. You have done it numerous times.
You are looking through past history with the client and working on the story for the meeting next week. The phone rings and it is your loved one. They are not feeling well and they need you. You run to their rescue. The rest of your day goes into managing your personal situation. Meeting the doctors. At the hospital.
You are feeling anxious. Distracted. You want to open your laptop but you also want to stay present to the health condition of your loved one. You decide to work on the presentation at night.
It's been a long day and you reach home and open your laptop. Drained. But you still try to do it because you truly believe that you are a super-(wo)man. Alas, you are not. You doze off.
The smarter thing to do
We are all in such situations from time to time and we hesitate in asking for help because we believe we can achieve anything and everything. The smarter path forward is to 'Ask'!
So next time you are in a situation where you want to be the hero(ine), pause, think, and give a shout out. Find help. A colleague. A friend. A loved one. Someone will always come and assist you.
It's like football. Even if you are Messi, it is not necessary for you to score all the goals. You can either assist or have others assist you.
Life is a team sport, not a one (wo)man battle!
Fun stat - Messi is the 'Top Assist Provider' in LaLiga and he holds a record as LaLiga’s top assist provider ever with 183. Xavi is second with 128.
Thank you for reading through. If you have reached this then hopefully you enjoyed the article. Do comment below if you have operated with this mindset? Is your life a team sport or are you playing it alone?
Utkarsh Narang is the Founder of IgnitedNeurons. He is a Certified Happiness Coach and an Internationally (ICF) Certified Life & Business Coach. He leads workshops with corporates and executives on Well Being, Growth Mindset and more. His mission is to inspire & ignite the unique spark within every individual.
You can reach out to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can follow him on LinkedIn.