It had been too long since I’d connected with a friend important to me. When she slowed down enough for us to have coffee, she described how very hard it had become to manage difficult and demanding clients, a family that needed her, health issues, along with a patient and understanding partner who also wanted her to share moments with him and not always be preoccupied.
“I can’t do any more!” she said. “I just want to say $*@& IT!”
“If you can’t do any more, maybe you can do less,” I said, recalling something my French grandmother had said.
“What do you mean?”
“Once when I was overwhelmed, I asked Grandmama how to do what I thought was impossible. She gave me a short list of guidelines.
(1) Only take on tasks you believe in;
(2) Only work with those you can work with;
(3) Only accept work you can work on;
(4) Only set goals you can achieve;
(5) Only criticize yourself when it’s constructive.
“But Grandmama, that’s just common sense,” I said to her.
“ ‘Doing simple things that can be done is how the impossible things get done, Jessica,’ my grandmother said to me.
“So now, when I can’t get everything done I need to do, I just try to do what I have to do next. One step at a time, a day at a time. And try not to be too hard on myself for what I can’t do today.”
We ordered another coffee, spent another 15 minutes together, then it was time for each of us to go back to work.