As a teenage junior camp counselor, I came across a devotional about a man who didn't seem like much, but knew he could sleep through a storm. I loved this story. It reminded me of my dad and my mom, who each took these giant leaps of faith and built dreams into successful businesses. As the story goes, the man was looking for a job. He didn't come with a robust resume or a long line of people to vouch for him. He needed a job and it just so happened that a nearby farmer needed a farm hand. When asked what his skills were, the talents he would bring to the work, the man explained that he could sleep through a storm.
The farmer was pretty confused as you might be now. He wasn't really sure of the man, who didn't look like anything special, but he needed help and gave it a try.
Then, a storm rolled in.
The farmer looked to the sky, saw the storm rolling in from the house and called for the helping hand. There was no response. Frustrated and frantic, the farmer ran outside to close everything up as the storm began. As he went from building to building, what the farmer found was that even though he hadn't asked the man to, even though he man didn't come with some sparkling recommendation of greatness, even though they barely knew each other, the man kept his word to himself and to the farmer. That night, they both slept through the storm.
I've taken that story with me. I think some folks will tell you that I take on too much. And, they might be right. I'm finding that I have to really think about what I am all in for, in my life, and what doesn't fit anymore to achieve peace and balance. It's kind of a like a Goodwill donation. If we're just cleaning out the closet, we hang on to things. If we know it's going to go to good use, it's easier to stick with a straight Hell, yes! Or, Hell, no! (Let me tell you, when your clothes don't fit and you can't breathe squeezing in to them, it's just a no. Hanging on to that guilt is just not fair to yourself - enjoy the cookie and get rid of the shaming pants, people).
Now some of us, we just can't imagine sleeping through storms. We have a hard time letting go. Life doesn't always let us. Still, you can achieve this same type of peace.
I recently leaped to a new job. When I took the leap, it was on the wings of an incredible leader. She has faith in me that I don't always have in myself.
This new journey came with changes both for me and the organization. When I joined the team, a giant project was presented and when asked if I could make it happen, I answered "I got this, I got you" without hesitation. Doesn't that just make it entirely personal? Insert enormous fear of failure. My very next thoughts were: Crap! How will I pull this off? I'm all in -- I didn't even secure an option for what if. Wait, I can do this. How am I going to do this? I think I just took on way too much. I got this.
The other night, as I powered through the last days of this project, it kept me up until the wee hours of the morning. Truth be told, it didn't have to. I could have closed myself off in the office for the last few days and taken until the last possible second to wrap things up. I can't work that way. I can't sleep if it's not done, if there's a potential that I told someone I got this, when in fact, I have nothing. So power through I did. I ended up with the cold the family shared, that I tried hard not to get, but you know what? Cold and all, I can sleep through the storm. The peace is amazing.
I'm not saying you should take on things that are larger than life. I am saying, there is immense peace and joy in a job well done. Balance is realized. Simple has entered the building! A year ago, I am not sure if I could have done it. I was half in on so many things that I didn't want to be part of. The missing joy factor was sucking the life out of me.
This crazy journey to simple, it's more work sometimes. Make yourself the space to hang on to the things that are a hell yes. Let go of the things that aren't. Maybe they're a sort of yes, or a maybe no. You don't need those. They are making you feel bad and they are making you tired. Find those hell yes's, pour your talent on in, and let them fill you with joy. Enjoy the work you do, relish your people, and you'll find yourself sleeping through the storm.