When I am feeling overwhelmed, stressed and on the edge of burnout, I try to remember the three truths of enoughness.

Three Truths About Enoughness:

I am too much.

I am too little.

I am enough.

All three of these statements are true about me (and you) …all of the time. The trick to reducing burnout is to be able to adjust the lens on your life to see the truth of all three – simultaneously.

I am too much.

Recently I realized I’m doing too much parenting. It is a habit that grew out of love and necessity. During the pandemic I became mom, teacher, best friend and playmate to both of my tweenage daughters. But now that they are back at school full time my kids need less of my attention. Instead, they need space to start meeting the routine challenges of being tweens – navigating to and from school, making and unmaking friends and managing their homework. Rather than growing resentful of their lack of appreciation for “all I’ve done,” I’m intentionally pulling back by saying no.

“No, I won’t pick you up from school today…you need to ride the bus.”

Right now, there are probably places in your life where you are over-involved, over-committed, over-killing, over-reacting or over-engineering.

When you are too much – you may experience certain feelings. You may feel slightly embarrassed or exposed. You may feel let down or even resentful towards others.  You may even feel rejected. These are areas to consider pulling back or sharing responsibility with others.

I am too little.

In my commitment to social justice, I am constantly confronted with the reality that I am not enough. I’m just not. No matter how much I care about dismantling white supremacy, preventing climate catastrophe, healing political polarization and restoring democracy…these are not issues I can address on my own. My “not enoughness” makes me feel overwhelmed and can sometimes lead me to freeze up rather than taking small and sustainable actions that would be helpful in the long term.

Right now, there are likely places in your life where you are underperforming or failing to meet your commitments or not living up to your values. You are procrastinating, neglecting, avoiding, minimizing or numbing.

When you are too little, you may feel ashamed, embarrassed or guilty. Or you may feel angry at others for not making it easier or smoother for you to meet your commitments.

I’ve learned that showing up for the issues and people I care about means actively acknowledging my feelings of “not enoughness” and then investigating what prevents me from taking action. When I offer myself compassion and work to see the barriers to action clearly, I am better at making to meet my commitments in a sustainable way.

I am enough.

This is where the Three Truths get a little mystical or even spiritual. I don’t have scientific evidence to back up this claim, I simply know it in my gut.

I am enough and YOU are too.

Right now, right in this moment, we are enough. We simply are. We are a gift to the people who depend on us. We are loving caretakers to the bodies we inhabit. We are ancestors to our great grand relatives. We are all that we have…and so we are enough.

That thing you did, right before reading this email. That was enough.

And whatever you do after reading this email is enough as well.

Our enoughness is nonnegotiable and we can carry it with us wherever we go.

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About the Author: Kate Cockrill

A little about me... I am a social scientist, facilitator, and professional coach. Through my business: Kate Cockrill Coaching, I support mission driven managers and directors with 1:1 career coaching, leadership coaching, team workshops, and retreat design. My clients include leaders in healthcare, education, research and social innovation.

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