You can do both. But should you?

I’ll just do both!

Famous last words. Because the situation I ended up in could have been completely avoided if I had just honored what my priority was, instead of trying to do it all. Instead of trying to avoid letting people down. Because trying to live in the ‘AND,’ kept me from showing up as the person that I actually want to be – someone who honored where she was at, what was important, and made a hard decision in alignment.

I’ve worked (accordingly to some probably not hard enough) at being more flexible. I default to getting worked up, and frustrated, and disappointed when things don’t go the way I planned them – whether that means someone didn’t show up on time, or I had to do something other than what I planned to do, or the project was taking a different turn. I can be sooo not flexible. And it’s not a good look because adjusting the situation is normally totally fine. I don’t always get it right, but I’ve realized the importance (to me) of being a little more go with the flow.

But going with the flow, doesn’t mean that the flow goes everywhere, with everyone, to everything. Which is what I tried to do recently. I had work and personal commitments butting up to each other. I knew that the work was more crucial in this situation because of 100 million factors that meant a lot to me and what I’ve been working towards. It’s hard to actually say: my work is the most important thing to me here. I retract. But many times…it’s true. And some times, in some seasons, that answer will be: My family is the most important thing to me here. My friends are the most important thing to me here. My health is the most important thing to me here. But there’s only one “most important.” There’s not two. Which means that both can’t actually take the top spot. And when you can’t be two places at once, that awareness will be more important than ever.

Look, sometimes, you CAN do both. But just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.  It’s something I wish I had figured out about six months ago. Because if you’re doing both, and it means that you’re not actually present or enjoying yourself in either situation, what’s the point? You might as well have done neither, if you’re going to do both like shit. It’s OK to choose. It’s OK to let people down by choosing. It’s OK to be selfish and honor what you actually want and need to do when you’re being pulled in a million different directions. I’ve found the only way to get to the answer of which one do I choose? And if I should be choosing OR, when I want to pull an AND, is to ask: what’s the most important thing to me here?

Followed by: Will doing both affect the one that’s most important?

If trying to do both will jeopardize what’s most important…then even though you can, doesn’t mean you should. In fact, for me now…it means I won’t.

It’s a liberating feeling to get clear. And to decide. AND is always possible. BOTH is often possible too. But they come at a cost. You’ve got to decide if that cost is worth it.

This article originally appeared on MaxieMcCoy.