Enough. A word that just keeps taking center stage in my mind this month. Whenever this happens--when I keep hearing something repeated in different contexts--I know it's a new lesson for me to absorb. First, a podcast message, then a book, then another podcast, all delivering a powerful message through that same word: Enough. No pun intended, but I can't get enough of it now. I'm really excited about this lesson.
Enough. In today's hustle culture of do more, be more, have more, get more, the notion of "enough" almost sounds synonymous with failure. But is it? What do you think when you hear that word? It's a word and concept that runs so counter to my natural inclination to strive, to discipline myself to do something BIG, to want more, and even to crave that feeling of "Did that, now what's next?" I remember checking 'run a marathon' off my To Do/To Accomplish list and within 24 hours determining the due date for marathon #2. And while training for marathon #2, I was plotting whether I should start with a 50K for the first ultra-marathon, or whether I should just shoot for a real goal like running the Leadville 100-miler made so popular at the time by the book Born to Run. (Great book!).
I've learned to embrace the part of me that gravitates away from moderation, often landing in the extremes. (Hint: this may explain why I was in recovery for addiction by the age of 20). I can always DO more; I can always BE more. If I can climb that mountain, I will feel amazing! Without much pause to celebrate the effort and journey to reach the top, I set my eyes on that next mountain. If I could just conquer that one now, I would really feel magnificent! Then, only then, I would feel like it was enough--like I had finally accomplished something. In fact, it sounds so foreign to me to imagine reaching the top of that mountain and saying "A-Mazing! Wow! What a beautiful view. I'm fulfilled. That's enough. I'm headed back down now."
So wouldn't a concept like enough be the enemy of drive? When you hear that word, do you think thoughts like: limited, small, or you can always strive for more?. Because the truth is that's exactly the gut reaction I have had. Yet I have no doubt the Universe is delivering a lesson right now that I'm prepared to hear, because this single topic of enough has now been swirling through my mind for weeks and I'm really fired up about it. Through my journey the last few years, I'm starting to see that I have begun to catch glimpses of what enough feels like, to replace my sense of craving with a sense of fulfillment in the present moment. Enough is not a destination or a finish line. Nor is it thinking small. It doesn't come from a place of scarcity, lack, or wanting more. It aligns with abundance, which is also a state of plenty.
To be clear, I am not checking this one off my "Lesson Learned" (past tense) column. This one clearly goes in the "Work in Progress Lesson" column. In this moment, it feels like that is enough. It feels like I am redefining enough as a feeling of fulfillment and abundance, knowing that I don't need to prove anything or prove my worth. But I also have the self-awareness to acknowledge that at some point this lesson will be replaced (hopefully temporarily) by that more familiar feeling of craving and striving for whatever goal lies on the other side of enough. I'm hoping that by writing this all down, I am imprinting at at a deeper level so that I will have the self-awareness to recognize it and short-circuit it quickly.
I want to share a couple of the stories that I heard recently that sparked this "enough-bomb" blog and delivered this little message and gift of enough. I'm a podcast junkie and I hear so many great lessons and gifts of wisdom on podcasts so I like to share them in case they help someone else.
The first was on Tony Robbins' podcast (link to the episode). Jenna Kutcher, a mega-influencer and entrepreneur was on the show talking about her success as a "lifestyle entrepreneur" (ie. her drive comes from wanting to build a lifestyle that allows her the freedom to work from wherever she wants when she wants; rather than a drive to build a big empire for the sake of building something big and important). She left a high-profile corporate career to pursue a photography business where her income dropped substantially; yet she said she felt like she had enough at that time in her life. What started as a $30K/year solopreneur business is now a 7-figure annual income as a media influencer, but she was very deliberate in applying that "enough" mentality to her business and company culture as she grew and scaled the business. She knows she could grow much bigger, do more, and make much more money. But she's ok leaving that opportunity or money on the table because she's happy with the lifestyle she has built. It's enough and allows her to be present and enjoy her life and family. Jenna has a podcast of her own called 'Goal Digger' so this is not a woman without goals or ambitions. However, the message she is sending in her interview with Tony Robbins is that she is setting boundaries so those goals don't rob her of actually living her life in the present.
The second story was on one of my absolute favorite podcasts, Dr. Peter Attia's 'The Drive'. (link to episode). He is interviewing Ryan Holiday, author of Stillness is the Key. Holiday relays a story from the book about two prolific best-selling authors, Kurt Vonnegut (Slaughterhouse-Five) and Joseph Heller (Catch-22), attending a party at some random Billionaire's home. The dialogue between the two authors goes something like this:
Vonnegut was teasing Heller and said "How does it feel to know he [referring to random Billionaire] made more money this week than your book has made in its entire life?"
Heller responded with "Well I have something he doesn't have."
Vonnegut asks "Well what could that possibly be?"
Heller calmly says " I have a sense of what enough is."
Peter Attia and Ryan Holiday proceed to talk at length about this concept of enough, which is pretty fascinating coming from 2 extremely successful, driven individuals. They discuss that same feeling that I have had about enough and the same feelings I'm sharing in this post. (It's good to know I'm in good company and not alone in my thoughts.)
I will close this out with a quick nod to my wise husband and best friend. Earlier this week, I was sharing with him some of these encounters with this concept of enough. Shortly after we parted ways for work, I sent him the text: "You know what just dawned on me? Abundance. We have an abundance of really good things going on right now." His response: "Yes we do. Some might even say it's enough. More than enough." Yep. He simplifies things much better than I do. It takes me an entire blog post to convey what he can say in a few sentences. I'm glad I get to be on this journey with him.
Here's the image that I'm going to choose to see from now on when I hear the word enough.