Have you reached your breaking point?

It happens. You get to a point when you just can’t take it anymore! Or do you? Have you gone on autopilot, going through the motions of everyday living, putting up with aches and pains, minor discomfort, and stress and anxiety as things you have to deal with as a part of life? Tolerating distress takes its toll on your body, mind and spirit. Reaching a breaking point is a serious matter.

Remember the commercial for the medical device with an elderly woman who exclaimed, “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up?” In business and relationships, you may fall down – make a mistake – or get to a point when you realize that it’s no longer possible for you to accept the unacceptable. That’s OK. The important thing is not to get to your breaking point when you fall and can no longer stand on your own two feet.

“Breaking Pointe” just concluded its six-episode run on the CW network and I loved every minute of it. Probably because I’ve lived my adult life “behind-the-scenes” of professional dance companies. I really cared for the dancers because I understood what they were going through as they reached for perfection in every company class, during rehearsals, and, of course, on stage. I found myself gasping along with the theater audience when Rex Tilton fell during a performance. I felt so badly for him. And then my thoughts went to how I would feel if I had made such a mistake if an audience of 2,000 could see that I wasn’t perfect.

It was all put in perspective by the company’s artistic director, Adam Sklute. “Falling happens onstage,” he stated. “What’s important is how the dancer gets up.” Rex did continue his role on stage and danced beautifully. The artistic director was pleased and the audience showed its appreciation. Naturally, Rex was devastated when he came off the stage. I smiled, though, when I heard Sklute’s words. How true they are for dance and how appropriate they are in business and in life.

Think about it. Do you know people who make a mistake and then blame others? How do you feel about them and their actions? On the other hand, do you know people who take responsibility for their actions and therefore you want to reach out and support them? No one is perfect (not easy for me to accept). Mistakes happen. It’s the follow-up that matters.

Don’t let life’s disappointments get you down or push you to your breaking point. Most importantly, don’t listen to the negative voices in your head that tell you you’re “not good enough” because you are not perfect. Be the best you can be. Live your best life by nurturing your body, mind and spirit with healthy food and nourishing thoughts. Begin each and every day knowing that you have the power to make it a great day and believe it with every ounce of your being. I’m not suggesting this is easy, but the effort is well worth it. You may fall. Remember that what’s important is how you get up. Think of “Swing Time” and the charming music and lyrics by Jerome Kern and Dorothy Fields: “Nothing’s impossible I have found, For when my chin is on the ground, I pick myself up, Dust myself off, Start All over again.”

Next Steps:

  • Strive to be your best, but don’t obsess about being perfect.
  • Notice how you feel and react when you make a mistake, or when things don’t go exactly as planned.
  • Remember to take a deep breath and “get up” respectfully and powerfully.
  • Rinse and repeat. Make it a habit to be your best and be able to course correct when necessary.
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7 Responses to "Have you reached your breaking point?"
  1. Gay Edelman says:

    My self-growth project for now and for as long as it takes is to let go of having to be perfect. So much of what you say is about that. Perfect doesn’t exist when it comes to humans. The only perfect people are dead! And I’m not there yet. As far as I’m concerned, yes, I have to have standards, and they will vary depending on the situation. But for most things, good-enough is the new perfect!

  2. Yes to banishing negative self-talk! I am finding that we are all on a constant journey of self-growth and discovery. Even as a coach, my “school” is constantly in session:)

  3. April Fan says:

    What do you think?

    I’m not sure how “trying to be perfect” got started. It’s so ok to strive to be the best. We would never get the chance to live life to the fullest, if we were so focused on perfection. It’s not worth hitting our breaking points. Good is really good enough!

  4. April Fan says:

    What do you think?

    I’m not sure how “trying to be perfect” got started. It’s so ok to strive to be the best. We would never get the chance to live life to the fullest, if we were so focused on perfection. It’s not worth hitting our breaking points. And, it’s not a bad idea to dust self off and start over…we’ll just get better and better.

  5. Roz K Walker says:

    I love your advice about not listening to those negative voices in our head. It’s so easy to fall in that trap. It’s so important to begin each day thinking positively. I do some spiritual reading to motivate me and I refer to it during the day if negative thoughts try to creep in. Thanks for this great reminder!

  6. Sara says:

    I love the rinse & repeat. That sounds so cleansing. I hate negative – chatter that creeps up at night. I try to write / journal everything down, so I can step away knowing that I have said it, and the words/emotions are literally out of me.

  7. Elizabeth says:

    Great advice, especially in the last paragraph. It is so important to let the little things go. Treat each day as its own.

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