You may know from reading The Inner Edge that it is possible to have, do, and be more than you thought was possible, all at once. How do you maintain that kind of life forever? How do you keep that kind of balance as a leader? This section helps you think about your “all” again, only this time with an eye toward understanding when your “all” is enough.
When is Enough Enough?
A common characteristic of successful leaders is drive. But even though drive can keep you moving forward, it can also backfire – particularly when you’re not clear on where you’re going or when you don’t know when to stop. Without a clear sense of destination, you may keep driving forever. Many people do. They stay in constant motion but never seem to find a sense of arrival.
Of course if you’re a leader dedicated to success and achievement, you will always be inspired by what else is ahead. That’s fine. Like the horizon, your ideal is constantly changing. It is always moving. It is always out of reach. By definition, you cannot be at the horizon. you can only see it and head for it. That’s what makes it so inspiring.
It’s also what makes it so hard to stop striving. In the wise words of famed psychiatrist Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi, “There is no limit to desire.” And sometimes, you need to stop. You’ve earned a rest. You get to celebrate. You’re allowed to let life be complete for awhile, so that you can enjoy it and be at peace.
In my work with executive leaders, I often see leaders who have forgotten to decide how much is enough. Without thinking, they blindly race after the next promotion, the next client, the next acquisition. And while those decisions certainly advance their careers or their business, they can also derail whatever plans the leader had for taking a more conscientious approach to their life and leadership.
The same is true in personal life. People strive for the bigger house, the better car, the better image until they’re so far overextended they can’t enjoy what they have. They forgot to stop and ask themselves, How much will be enough? Suddenly they have too much, and instead of adding to their lives it’s taking the joy away.
I’m not advocating slowing down on your goals. I’m certainly not saying you should hold yourself back. What I’m saying is that you need a sense of perspective. Remember your vision. You don’t want to fly so fast toward some future achievement that you blow right past the present you wanted to create.
The trick is to know when enough is enough. In money, in your career, in your family life, with your time, you need to determine what you want and then recognize when you have it. Mark the milestones. Feel the sense of satisfaction and completion. Then decide if and when you want to go on.
Complete the questions on the worksheet, “Your “Enough” in The Extension. Then ask yourself, How close am I to having enough? You may find you’re already there.
The ideas in this article are drawn from The Inner Edge: The 10 Practices of Personal Leadership and the accompanying eBook called The Extension. The eBook is designed to give you simple, engaging personal leadership exercises and activities to help you be a better leader, and lead a better life. Get your copy today! Click here for a Preview and to Order.