In the past, I have taken responsibility beyond the balance point and become over-responsible. I know this comes from a fear of failure. If I try really hard and do not only my part but also help others do theirs then how can I be faulted or judged ~ no matter what the outcome of a project. It is an interesting way of staying safe.
Part way through a dance lesson one day, Raul Santiago (those of you who have been following Salsa Life Lessons already know of my incredible instructor) pulled up and stood still…always a sign he’s about to bring attention to a habit or approach to the dance that it is time to end. “Stop doing more than your fifty percent,” he said.
I was puzzled for a moment. Fifty percent? Who does fifty percent and gets anywhere in life? I put at least one hundred percent into everything I do, if not more.
“It’s more work for me,” he pointed out. He went on to explain this alien concept to me. When working in partnership if one party does more than their share, they actually complicate the process and make it more difficult for the other person. My job in salsa is to follow the leads I am given. If I anticipate what is next and start in one direction when my leader wanted me to go a different way, I make it harder for him. He either has to change his choreography mid-stream or work really hard to re-position me so the original move will still work.
Either way, I’ve expended more energy than necessary thus requiring him to do the same. The flow and direction of the dance is interrupted. It becomes work for both of us. Usually people work hard and try hard because they want to succeed. It is important to put effort into things but effort can become an impediment. Conversely, sharing responsibilities can create ease and conserve energy making the experience more fun, creative and more in the moment. Less thinking, more being. For me, it is the difference between trying to figure out what is coming next and actually dancing.
My lesson with Raul helped me to realize that sometimes, in life, when I really care about something, I try too hard or work too hard at it. If I choose to just do my part and trust that the other person will do theirs it works out much better. If I truly trust my clients to do their work and be there to support them, not do the work for them, then they transform at a faster rate, integrate the change more fully and learn the tools to be able to eventually be able to independently live a conscious life of their choice.
By doing just my fifty percent, I clear a space and create the support for the client to choose their goals, design their steps, go through their process and bump up against their limitations. If I constantly solve a client’s problems, they cannot get present to the patterns and thoughts that have held them back because they keep getting the solutions from outside themselves. Eventually that makes it harder for them as they have not had the experience of designing a life that speaks to them, digging down and facing their fears to create it and uncovering where they get stuck so they can work it through.
Where is one place in life where if you simply did your fifty percent you would create more ease, fun and probably greater results for yourself and, most likely, for others? Take a week and commit to showing up fully, but only for your part, not for anyone else’s. Notice what shifts for you. Ready, set, go!