It’s also crazy, unpredictable, challenging, amazing and wonderful … usually all at the same time. While we run around every day and go to our meetings, attend our activities and meet an endless list of responsibilities, it’s easy to feel completely and utterly overwhelmed. What’s a person to do?
I recently read this story in Judith Lasater’s book, Living Your Yoga. It really hit home with me:
A villager lived in a small house with his wife, mother-in-law, six children, a cow and some chickens. It was driving him crazy. So he went to the village rabbi and asked for help. The rabbi said that he could solve the problem: he advised the man to buy a goat. Overjoyed, the man immediately went out and bought a goat. Now he had a wife, mother-in-law, six children, a cow, some chickens and a goat. The house was even more chaotic than before.
The villager returned to the rabbi and described the increased chaos. Once again the rabbi said that he could solve the problem. He told the man to sell the goat. Obediently, the villager went home and sold his goat. Suddenly, all he had in his small house were his wife, his mother-in-law, his six children, a cow and some chickens. Things were positively peaceful without the goat.
Sometimes it’s simply all about perspective. <– Click to Tweet
I’ll tell you another story of a coaching client that I worked with. Scott was a broker. He was struggling with the passion and fire that he used to have in his work and wanted to get it back. Although his professional life was stable, over a three-year time frame his marriage ended, his father passed away, and his daughter moved out-of-state. On top of all that, since he was “most available” sibling, he was given the responsibility of managing his father’s estate.
In one of our coaching sessions, he shared his frustration with the collectors calling, the mounds of paperwork on his desk, the constant barrage of questions from the legal team, handling multiple bank accounts … well, you get the picture. It’s a lot of work. And, it was driving him crazy. Sound familiar?
He emphatically stated that he was going to “lay into” the next collector that called. So I asked, “Will that make the situation better … will you feel better?”
His reply was an emphatic, “Yes!” He was actually looking forward to a call from the insurance company so he could have his chance to explode.
“Then what?” I asked.
“What do you mean, then what?”
“What happens after you feel better about cussing out the insurance guy?”
“I get to be angry for about three days …”
You can guess my next question: “Would it be worth trading three days of your life?”
If I had read Lasater’s book prior to the conversation, a better question would have been, “Wouldn’t it be easier to just sell the goat?”
Personally, I have found that at the end of the day I just want to feel good.
Better yet … happy. Happy about the difference I’ve made in the world, the work I’ve done, the connections I have created, the experiences that I’ve had, and what I’ve shared with others.
But sometimes it’s just not that easy. So when I’m feeling overwhelmed and at my wit’s end, I now stop and ask myself, “Do I need to sell the goat?” It usually results in a different perspective and change in attitude.
Yes, the world is hectic. It’s always challenging us and testing our patience and ability to cope. It can seem never-ending, frustrating and throw-up-your-hands exhausting. But it can also be unbelievably beautiful, fulfilling and gratifying.
Perhaps it’s time to take a breath, evaluate your circumstances, and ask yourself one simple question: do you need to sell the goat? <– Click to Tweet
Do you have your own story that is similar to the villager and his full house?
Are you surrounded by chaos and need a new perspective? Or have you been in an overwhelming situation or state-of-mind, and have discovered a solution … a different way of looking at things? I’d love to hear about your experiences. Please leave your comments below.