I’ve had this blog post in the back of my mind for nearly year. Yep, that’s right. I have been mulling over a blog post for a year. This may sound crazy to you but it tells you how important this topic is to me by the amount of time I have spent thinking about it.
Bandwidth – specifically, personal bandwidth – is the mental and emotional capacity to deal with a variety of situations, whether personal or work-related.
I started thinking about this idea a year ago, right around the time I became pregnant with our daughter. The reason this idea came to my mind is due to the many opinions that started coming my way concerning my pregnancy and future parenthood.
When you are pregnant and/or baby comes, you won’t be able to go to do all the “extras” you do at school.
When you are pregnant and/or baby comes, you won’t be able to blog anymore.
When you are pregnant and/or baby comes, you won’t be able to go to conferences or speaking arrangements.
If you think being pregnant has been tough, wait until the baby comes.
When you have a child, you won’t be able to go on as many day trips or camping trips.
The list could go on and on…and it was so discouraging. Mainly, it was due to the fact that I really did have a difficult first half of my pregnancy because I was so sick. (I spent the first twenty weeks with pretty severe “morning” sickness, which is ironic since it lasted all day.) It was so discouraging to hear these statements. I actually started to believe that it was true because I was so tired and…well, sick.
Yet, there is one thing that you should know about my personality. I’m pretty stubborn. So, I pretty much made it my mission to prove everyone wrong. While I was pregnant, I still did the “extras”, blogged, went to conferences, traveled (for work and for fun!) and did all of the things that I had done while not pregnant. In addition to this, there was also a period of two months where I worked two jobs while transitioning into my new job. I was busy and I loved it.
Now, I want to make sure everyone understands that this is not an “Oh, look how awesome I am” post. If you know me, then you know that is not my style. Instead, I am sharing this to prove a very important point:
Everyone has a different level of personal bandwidth.
It’s true – some people can handle doing a million things at once. They even enjoy it! That’s okay – that’s their level of personal bandwidth. Some people may only be able to handle a few things at a given time. Or, maybe these individuals are better at recognizing their limits! Again, that’s okay – that’s their level of personal bandwidth.
However, I want to take my “main point” one step further:
Everyone has a different level of personal bandwidth – and we should support them.
I’ve always been a person that could manage many things at once. I enjoy being busy. I enjoy working, writing blog posts, traveling and so much more! It’s just how I am built. However, I have always felt like people have tried to tear me down for my level of “busyness”. I’m not sure why it is that way, but it is something I have dealt with my entire career. On the other hand, if I am being completely transparent, I have also judged those for their lack of “busyness” which is equally wrong.
As we go into the next school year, I encourage all of you to reflect on your personal bandwidth and the personal bandwidth of those around you. Support everyone for the things that they can and cannot handle. Lift each other up by offering words of encouragement, rather than words of discouragement or judgment. Remember, everyone has a different level of personal bandwidth – and we should support them.