Almost 20 years ago, I was a college student.  It feels so odd to say that, because it really doesn’t feel that long ago.  At any rate, Acting I was one of those “formative life experience” classes in my first couple of semesters.  I went into the class expecting the challenge to be memorizing lines.  Day 1 we learned we’d only be doing one scripted piece during the whole semester, and that would effectively be our “final exam.”  I remember feeling disappointed.  I’d done a lot of acting and and taken every available theater class in high school, so I thought that this was going to be “backtracking” into remedial territory.

I couldn’t have been more wrong.  That class pushed me into places as an actor that I couldn’t have imagined beforehand.  By the end of the semester, six of the thirty or so students were assigned three “final scenes” that our teacher had never given out before, because of the level of difficulty.  Chris and I were two of those students, although we weren’t in the same scene together.   My final project? The attempted-rape scene from “Extremities.”  So yes, it ended up being a far more demanding and challenging class than I thought it would be.

But the most difficult task I was assigned in Acting I was not my final project.  It was a trust exercise about halfway through the course.

It is a bit of an understatement to say that I have some trust issues.

For almost exactly a year now, my work life has consisted of spinning a number of plates as fast and efficiently as I can.  Adding to that, my tendency to dabble in 100 different things as a hobbyist coupled with my “compliant first born daughter” thing has lead me to say “yes” to wayyyyyyy too many commitments in my personal life.  In short, I’ve known for a while now that the number of total plates has really exceeded my capacity for spinning.

What happens when you exceed your plate-spinning capacity and you have outrageously high standards for yourself is that you end pretty much every day feeling like you suck.

This is not an optimal way to end each day.

It looks like there are some changes in the wind at work that will allow me to pass along the spinning of certain plates to other people, so that I can focus on getting really amazing at spinning the plates I have left.  I have bowed out, a gracefully as I can, from a number of personal commitments that, while important, just don’t fit my bandwidth right now.   Or, more accurately, are preventing me from knowing what my real bandwidth is. When you’ve consistently blown past it every month for the last year or two, it’s hard to gauge what would be a realistic and manageable schedule.

I am effectively declaring Bandwidth Bankruptcy.

You may ask, what does Bandwidth Bankruptcy and the passing of spinning plates have to do with trust?

A lot.

I have to trust that the people I’m passing my beloved plates off to will not drop and break them.   (In addition to trust issues, I have some problems letting go.)

I have to trust that the people I work for will still want me around when I’m doing fewer things, better.

I have to trust that the people in my personal life will still be okay with me when I’m not doing what they want me to do for them.

That’s a lot of trust to bite off on in one mouthful of a month or so.

Wish me luck.


  1. ·

    Stepping back and letting go are very difficult for me, too. I put an incredible amount of pressure on myself to be perfect and I have a hard time recognizing “good enough.” The times I can just let things go almost always end up being a tremendous success. I hope you have a similar experience. Or at least a lighter load to carry. 🙂

  2. Kat French

    Mark – And I appreciate your understanding. 🙂

    Charles – I feel you on having a hard time recognizing “good enough.” The plates have wobbled from time to time, but so far no major crashes!

    The times I can just let things go almost always end up being a tremendous success.

    This is wildly encouraging. Thank you!


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