There I was sitting with an enormous serving of taco salad staring back at me. The family chatter went on around me like everything was normal. In some ways it was. This isn’t the first time I have found myself confronted with an immense serving of taco salad.
We are a diverse crew, my family. Some eat dairy, some don’t. Some love tomatoes, some prefer to skip them. Some eat more like bunnies, others more like carnivores. To please all, the taco salad ingredients are placed on the table so that we can each make our own. The trouble is that a little of this and a little of that soon ends up being a serving that has the potential to feed the whole family.
The “taco salad” principle applies to life and leadership as well. If hats represent our roles, plates represent our tasks and responsibilities. As ambitious, driven leaders it is easy to keep adding more and more and then suddenly we are overwhelmed by the sum of them all.
Taking cues from health and fitness experts, what can you do to be more realistic about your portion size when it comes to tasks, responsibilities, and your “to-do” list?
1. Use smaller plates
Be honest with yourself. How much can you really indulge in? Just like when making a taco salad each ingredient might not be that much, but altogether it can quickly become impressive in size. Be realistic about what you can do. Don’t compare yourself! Everyone has a different metabolism and our metabolisms change during the seasons of our life. Our workloads are no different.
2. Drink water and eat fiber
In other words, keep the things that are essential for your health as a regular part of your life. Things like sleep, exercise, healthy meals, etc. are important factors in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. They will crowd out non-essential tasks and responsibilities that you might be tempted to let creep onto your plate.
3. Eat slowly
Slowing down to actually enjoy your food and savor it is more satisfying. So is focusing on one task at a time. The more your rush through the things you need to get done, the more likely it is that you will make mistakes leading to frustration. Less multi-tasking equals more enjoyment, and tasks completed with superior quality.
4. Quit the clean plate club
It is easy to feel obligated to eat all that is on your plate. The truth is that whatever is on your plate will never help the starving person on the other side of the world. The same is true with extra tasks and responsibilities. Either eliminate them or pass them on to someone who has less on their plate.
The best part of about partaking in a smaller portion size is that it leaves room for dessert! It makes space for the things you love – people, hobbies, learning, travel, etc., without the calories or negative sugar effects! It re-energizes you so that you can thrive and lead effectively.
How about you? Would you like to experience more effective leadership? What “dessert” would you like to make room for in your life and leadership? What changes can a coach help you make in your life and leadership?