Things have been quite hectic recently. As the launch date for my book, Passage of the Stork, nears, I find myself caught up in a whirlwind of promotional activity. And a lot of it is taking me way out of my comfort-zone.
Yes, I do feel my book is worth reading and supporting. But going out there and telling everybody this is a different matter. As I was doing my 3-minute pitch for Monique Burger at De Nieuwe Boekhandel in Amsterdam, the shy little girl within was squirming with discomfort. You don’t really think that she’s waiting for a book like this? a little voice whispered. Look at those fantastic titles she’s carrying! I shushed her gently and brought my focus back to the pitch.
At one point during the past few weeks I realized the balance was tipping towards too much being out in the world, too much stretching. Too little quiet time or time spent doing things I love and can do well. So I cleaned up my schedule, taking out all activities that weren’t necessary for the book launch and only keeping things that feed my soul (like photography and painting… or just sitting quietly).
I once learned that it’s healthy and important to spend 20 percent of one’s energy doing things that stretch you. Doing things that take you out of your comfort-zone, past your present boundaries. Continuously more than 20 percent tips the balance into unhealthy stress. Continuously less than 20 percent and you start stagnating and no longer grow.
So it’s good to spend about 80 percent of your energy doing things that you love and feel comfortable about. But don’t forget to go out there and stretch yourself a bit. Not too much. But enough to grow.