Getting Off Someday Isle
You will NEVER be any less busy later than you are today. We tell ourselves a necessary lie saying, “I’ll do it when I’m less busy or when I have time later.” I’ve coached some of the best business superstars and no one, not even them, are any less busy later than now. Most often they’re even busier later. The brevity of life is confronting, and we are not immortals. Yet, so many of us continue to live on an all-too-common island in life—SOMEDAY ISLE.
Having a big to-do list and knocking out tasks isn’t living well; it’s living an illusion. To-do lists are a great way to hide from taking stock of what’s in your life. It’s confronting to realize that you’re living a meaningless existence just to keep up. But the brevity of life evokes you to choose what matters to you and especially as you age. What once seemed like a mouse in a maze of circumstances is suddenly living from what you care most about. Some call this entry into the second half of life. When you organize your life around what matters to you as the centerpiece, you feel alive, because now your actions aren’t organized by circumstances. Every ounce of the present moment is moved from being an enemy to a reference point.
Current reality becomes a teacher. Rather than reacting and responding as an orientation to life, you operate within a creative orientation. Instead of bringing better responses to circumstance, you choose where to put your energies, and not because you have to but because you choose to. What once was a victim of the system, now realizes itself as system of the victim.
Time isn’t going to change for you, but your priorities will. And without priorities, time will organize you. Time management is self-management. In fact, I’m going to suggest we call it “matter management.” “Can’t means won’t.” When you say I can’t, you’re actually saying, “I won’t.” You could do it if you wanted to. If you say, “I can’t go to the party, you’re saying I won’t. Fess up. Learn to so, “No thank you.”
Many of the health problems today stem from stress related to the inability to say “no.” What matters to you doesn’t need defending. No one needs the artificial sweetener of a yes to avoid disapproval. People want a genuine yes or no—it’s respectful. That way you show up where you want to and insulate yourself from non-essentials. I remember giving a parking lot sales pitch once to a business opportunity. After we reached my car, I turned to the guy and said, “James, as policy to myself, I choose to focus on creating things that matter to me a lot in my life, but what you’re presenting me isn’t one of those.” He thanked me profusely for speaking from the heart. This is very confronting, because you own up to being solely responsible for where you put your attention. It’s on your terms and not theirs.
This is not suggesting that you can control what happens to you – the universe is a wild card. Don’t fuss around with it. Let the visible and invisible work in common cause. And when you’re dominated by living into what matters to you, shifting conditions aren’t so upsetting. They’re just a bridge positioning POINT A to a B destination. And if you want to see what your priorities have been, just look at how you spend your time—take stock. You can see if your actions support your spoken words. Indeed, you may say your health is your #1 priority, but does your time audit represent that? Most likely, they don’t. Use this as the starting point to shift your orientation.
You can choose to be healthy. Choose to become the predominant creative force in your life. Choose to be true to yourself. Choose to be free. Why would you invest your precious gift of life on a compromise? You’ve been postponing a refusal, why? You’ve been saying YES where you shouldn’t. Own up. Govern yourself by what matters to you. Make it more dominant than competing forces.