“Find your edge and then work there!”
That’s the sort of advice coaches of all kinds are likely to give you, whether they’re helping you get fit or get more out of your career.
My problem is that I have a hard time figuring out when I’m at my edge, and I don’t want to risk burning or wimping out.
I had a yoga teacher once who said, “You know you’re really balancing when you feel like you’re about to fall over.”
That might be all right in a class where everyone is on a mat and the emphasis is on breathing, but I submit that going through your working life feeling like you’re about to collapse is not a good idea.
I thought maybe tightrope walkers would have something to teach us in this regard, and, wouldn’t you know it, they do.
According to Wikipedia, the trick to walking on any kind of wire – whether high, tight or slack – is to position your center of mass directly over your base of support.
That makes sense to me, whether I’m crossing Niagara Falls on a wire or keeping my work and life in balance. It’s important not to let your reach get too far away from what really sustains you. In the case of more earthbound careers, this could mean a certain skill set, like working one-on-one with customers, or a support network, like your family.
Wikipedia then goes on to say that when we’re walking on the ground our feet are side by side, so we have a wide base of support. On a wire, our feet are placed one in front of the other, so the base of support is much narrower.
In fact, it seems to me that staying focused on their forward direction might be one of the main things that keeps these acrobats on the wire.
I think that has real significance whatever you’re trying to do. As long as you keep your goal in sight and move towards it, you can handle a little herky jerky motion and unsteadiness.
If the distractions get much greater, you need to take a breather. Or get a net.
Food writer Bryan Miller once wrote, “The qualities of an exceptional cook are akin to those of a successful tightrope walker: an abiding passion for the task, courage to go out on a limb and an impeccable sense of balance.”
I think the saying holds true for anything we humans do. What about you?
by Danielle Dresden