There’s a lovely term within the yoga world known as ‘finding your edge’. It encapsulates the moment where you challenge your body whilst also respecting its natural limitations.
Within the modern world, there’s a tendency to feel that more equals better and that in order to be a success we must push past our maximum. We look up to world-class athletes (and more recently insta famous fitness personalities) as an ideal of physical fitness which encourages us to push ourselves as far as we can go.
Whilst it’s fantastic to feel motivated it’s also important to proceed within your limits and to respect your body. Let’s not forget that these amazing athletes often have to retire from their chosen sport at an extremely young age (in the scheme of life). These folks have spent many years going beyond their edge in order to achieve peak performance which is completely different from achieving everyday health.
This idea of ‘finding your edge’ can be transferred from physical activity to all facets of life. As inspiring as extreme high achievers may be, I personally believe aiming for record-breaking excellence on a daily basis is not a necessity. Of course, there are times where we need to work hard and up our game but this needn’t be our default mode.
In a world that encourages us to push faster, harder and further, I think it’s imperative that we take time to actively step back. I believe that in general finding our edge can be the sweet spot where the magic occurs.
I work with lots of clients on the topic of time management and remember working with one client in particular who wanted to focus on getting more done throughout the day. He was a high flying recruitment consultant who was having trouble juggling work, social life, keeping fit and parenting. He had recently been offered an opportunity to become a trustee for a local charity and couldn’t figure out how to fit it all in. His immune system was suffering, he often came down with colds and felt constantly stressed. When we examined his schedule it transpired that he was averaging on around four hours sleep a night. When I questioned him on the success of his current model and suggested a longer night’s sleep he was aghast.
“No, no no I don’t want to have LESS time in my day. I want to have MORE” he replied curtly. “Besides, I can function on four hours sleep just fine!”
“Just because you can does it mean you should?” I replied.
Needless to say, this gentleman was less than impressed and wasn’t keen to join the slow and leisurely brigade. He decided that his meetings with me were another unnecessary time-stealer and decided to cut our course of sessions short.
I can’t help but wonder how this clients life could have changed if he took a step back, retreated from his ultimate capacity levels and made his way towards the cosy yet challenging space of his personal edge. I would imagine he would have felt a lot less frazzled, a lot more energized and that his relationships would have greatly improved. Much to my disappointment, I will never know. However, one thing I do know is that racing at 100% full pelt 100% of the time will eventually lead to burnout.
After all, it may be fun to zip around in a luxury sports car at top speed but do it too often and the car will inevitably break down. So, the next time you’re in the fast lane burning rubber without abandon I suggest slowing down, restarting your engine and finding your edge.
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