Posted by: Cathy | January 30, 2013

Baby Steps and Baby Bites

I’ve talked before about baby steps; taking small movements toward your goal. Another lesson we can learn from babies is to take baby bites as well; not biting off more than we can chew!

Here are some examples of too-big bites …
* Saying “yes” to another project when your schedule is already full.
* Saying “yes” before you know exactly what a new project will entail.
* Telling one person you’d be happy to help a second person, only to find out the second person has unexpectedly great expectations of you.
* Committing to a last-minute business trip before you check with your family and personal commitments.

Coach Blog 013013 The point of baby bites is that your mouth is only so big. Most of us know the sensation of having taken too big of a literal bite of food – your mouth is too full to chew properly, some crumbs may fall out of your mouth, you put your hand up to cover your embarrassment. When I was a kid, we liked to see how many grape-flavored gum balls we could fit in our mouth at one time, but once you had them all shoved in there, you had too much to blow a decent bubble. So just as eating too much or too fast only leads to bloating and discomfort, taking on too much at work leads to trouble.

Like you’ve learned to take a just-right-sized bite of actual food, you may have to learn what a just-right-sized bite is in your work, volunteer, or hobby life. Before you make another commitment, take a moment and check in with yourself and your planner. Look at how much time you have available, how much the commitment would require, and how soon the deadline is. Be honest with yourself, and then be honest with the person asking for your time. If you can’t commit and feel badly about it, look at what you could help with and stick to your smaller offer if they pressure you for more. Maybe you can’t do the whole project but could do a portion; or offer one afternoon to help instead of a whole weekend; or offer a resource or colleague you know instead.

Don’t bite off more than you can chew! Respect yourself and your limited time to only take just-right-sized bites!

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