The Overwhelming Weight of Success

Christi Hegstad September 12th, 2013
Since early summer when the apples on our trees started appearing, my family has looked forward to a bumper crop. With the past few years yielding only a handful of apples, this year’s promise of hundreds thrilled our “inner farmer”!
Until one day last week, when we looked out the window and saw the tree had toppled (show in photo at right). Apparently the weight of this successful crop became too much to bear.
Can you relate? Have you ever felt like there’s just too much – too much responsibility, too much to do, too much weight to bear?
I know I have.
As I started looking into ways to save our tree, I learned a few lessons that we can easily transplant to our own success:
1. Set realistic boundaries. We learned that we need to prune the apples – to clear away the excess so the tree is allowed to flourish to its full potential. The same goes for our schedules: we need to decide what matters most and be willing to release the not-as-important stuff. Don’t take on more than you can feasibly handle. And if you do, build up the courage to start saying “No.”   

2. Be flexible. Things don’t always go as planned – even for those of us who love to plan. 😉 We need to be able to bend without breaking. To succeed, we must be able to alter our plans if it’s for the greater good and doesn’t compromise our core values and purpose. Our little tree tipped – but didn’t snap.
3. Seek support. You are not weak if you ask for help! The strongest people know they don’t succeed alone; we are always in partnership with others who help us on our journey and whom we help along theirs. I’ve always loved the phrase, “Never mistake kindness for weakness,” and believe the same applies to requests for help.
As for #3, we took the tree’s condition as an ask for help. We pruned, stood it upright, and supported it from various angles (see photo to right). Time will tell, but I’m hopeful we were able to save it!
And in future years, we will proactively watch for signs of “too much” early on.
I encourage you to adopt the same plan in your work and life, too. Define your boundaries, be flexible, and get the support you need to reach your goals. You and the world will enjoy the “fruits” of your labor, and you’ll serve as a role model for others to stand tall and flourish!  

How do you deal with – or prevent – overwhelm? Please share your ideas below, or on Facebook and Twitter!

Dr. Christi Hegstad helps you successfully do what you love! As President of MAP Professional Development Inc., she coaches professionals to get unstuck and reach Bold Goals with clarity, confidence, and meaningful action. Learn more at and follow Dr. Christi on Facebook and Twitter

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