The ball drop (and how to avoid it)

It’s kind of funny when you think about it. Many of us gather in town squares or in front of TVs to watch a ball (or some other variation of that) drop each New Year’s Eve. It’s a time of festivity, cheering and celebrating a new year.

However, there are days when I “drop the ball” and there is nothing celebratory about it. My intentions and motives seem to be good, but the execution is seriously flawed. When I talk with other people, I often hear them say the same thing. I tried, but I just ran out of time or I meant to, but I forgot

Why do we drop the proverbial ball? There are various reasons that you can probably relate to.

1.    Super Mom (or Super Dad) Syndrome – I’m pretty sure I began over-committing myself when I was pregnant with my first daughter. I signed up for three different birthing classes. When she was a few months old, I was checking out “Mommy & Me” classes and reading four books at a time on parenting. Is it any wonder I missed my turn in the church nursery on a few occasions?  As my husband and I had more children and they got older, I felt like I had to do it all. Bake cupcakes for class parties, volunteer for PTO, coach soccer, organize meals for another new mom….but how many times did I do those things instead of sitting down to play a game or read with my kids? Sure, my world can’t revolve around doing that 24/7, but I look back now wondering if I dropped the “Fun Mommy” ball stressing out trying to be an overachieving Super Mom. The fix: Start saying no. Maybe you don’t have to say it to anyone other than yourself. Just because you can do it, doesn’t mean you should do it. Choose wisely and consider the cost. If you are frustrated and feeling hopeless to get everything accomplished on a daily basis, it may be time to re-evaluate and eliminate those commitments to the things that are not necessary. Ask for help if you need to. And give yourself permission to relax once in a while. When you aren’t exhausted, you can hold onto the ball better without dropping it!

2.    Boredom– My emotions got the best of me in the moment. How could I say no?  It’s such a great and worthy cause. After a few months of committing to this new responsibility, I don’t know if it’s worth it. Maybe I forget to show up or write my check because it doesn’t seem like a big deal anymore. I start looking at it a little more critically. What are they doing with my donation? Is my contribution making a difference? When I show up, does it even matter? Maybe this once worthy cause that I was so enthusiastic to support isn’t really that exciting? But this new responsibility over here looks pretty amazing… Yes, I’ve been that person to commit to something then drop it for something else “better.” And, I’ve also been on the receiving end of someone doing that to me. That’s not a good feeling. The fix: Do not rely solely on your emotions when it comes to making or keeping commitments, using logic helps, too. It also helps to discuss it with someone close to you who knows you well and can offer feedback. Look at the patterns in your life that have caused you to over promise and under deliver in the past. Occasionally, I have to remind my kids (and myself) that everything in life isn’t always going to be entertaining or fun. Many times when we are carrying that ball, it is for someone else. It is selfish to drop it just because we become bored. Stay focused and remember why you took on the commitment to begin with and figure out how you can breathe new life into it. Make or implement suggestions, set new goals and focus on the outcome.

3.    Disorganization – I have gotten my share of frantic phone calls from my children over the years in various states of panic based on something important they forgot. Or there was the time when we showed up to a soccer game that two of my daughters were playing in; one of them forgot her cleats and the other one brought two different left-footed cleats! They borrowed sneakers that didn’t fit them and afterwards got a long lecture from me about their choices affecting the entire team since they couldn’t play as well. Like most lectures I give my kids, I later wondered how many times my own chaos and disorganization had adversely affected someone else? When I forget to write down dentist appointments then fail to show up? When I forget to RSVP for a wedding because the invitation ended up buried underneath a pile of junk mail? Or, one of my re-occurring specialties…when my kids ask me to deposit their birthday money and several months later, I find the checks half-shredded in the bottom of my purse….sorry Aunt Theresa! The fix: Sometimes the solution is as simple as using a pen and paper. Or maybe you can take a few moments to type a date on a phone calendar or save contact info. I have discovered that putting off until tomorrow what I can do today often leads to complete chaos in my life and can have a negative effect on others. Missing uniforms, lost keys, a dead cell phone…typically when I put off doing simple things, it ends up creating big problems. In fact, sometimes I don’t just drop the ball, I lose the ball! Make sure everything has its own place, don’t procrastinate and keep track of dates.

We can’t avoid dropping the ball all the time…sometimes situations are beyond our control. But we can plan to go into the new year with a strategy for how to be more purposeful in what we do and faithful to what we are committed to so the only ball we see dropping is at midnight on January 1!

By Melissa Kindall
Social Media and Special Communications Project Manager
Corporate Communications & Public Relations

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