This is the time of year I freak out.
And it’s not about last minute Christmas shopping.
Or rushing to finish up projects before the holidays.
What freaks me out is more of a slow-burning, can’t-escape-it feeling. Here it is:
I worry that next year will be more or less a repeat of this one. Sure, I have some trips planned, a book I want to write and new projects at work – but that happens every year.
What I don’t have on the calendar is what I’m doing to break old routines.
“If you think adventure is dangerous,” warned author Paulo Coelho, “try routine; it is lethal.”
I don’t track it, but did I procrastinate less this year? Did I delegate more fully? Did I let people I care about know that? Did I really practice gratitude thinking?
Our mind loves a path of least resistance – just like a river flowing downstream, we tend to follow well-worn ways of thinking. It’s unconscious, but these patterns lead to the behaviours that shape our every day experience. “We don’t rise to the level of our expectations,” cautioned the stoic Archilochos, “we fall to the level of our training.”
When I don’t take a few minutes every day to refine my Flight Plan for the week there is a anxiety-creating snowball effect. Deadlines get ignored, my Day Plan is overloaded and I put pressure on my team with last minute requests.
I know what I need to do – but, instead I don’t value my time, don’t plan, and then feel frustrated, rushing to catch up.
For sure, there are lots of reasons to blame, resent, fear and avoid responsibility. It’s part of the human experience to focus on stuff we can’t control.
There are lots of reasons to blame, resent, fear and avoid responsibility – but that’s just Ground Hog Day over and over again.
But, that’s not growth—that’s Ground Hog Day, over and over again.
The reality is – and this is perhaps the #1 lesson we all need to learn – is that we have choice. “Between stimulus and response there is a space.” wrote Viktor Frankl. When we focus on our choices we have the “freedom and power to choose our response.” And then everything changes:
We can (maybe for the first time) be honest with the person we’ve been hiding from.
We can say “No” to jobs that don’t challenge us or make us feel alive – even if they come with a pay cheque.
And we can reach out to someone who needs a hug and has no one else to turn to. It is the “responsibility of our future.” George Bernard Shaw wrote about that can turn our focus from what isn’t happening to what could happen.
So I’m quitting.
I’m quitting wasting time on meaningless tasks that don’t create real value.
I’m quitting worrying what people think about me (especially when I mess up).
I’m quitting eating crap food that sucks my energy and leaves me feeling sick and guilty.
I’m quitting procrastinating on work I want to do, but for no good reason leave to the last minute (like this blog post).
I’m quitting holding back the truth they need to hear and I need to let go of.
I will stop saying “As soon as….” and instead only look at today as my field of options.
I will stop undervaluing the successes I create and I will allow myself to celebrate.
Are you with me?
If you’re tired of repeating old patterns over and over again that don’t serve you. And you know you’re playing small and have so much more to share with the world.
Why not declare a new start?
If you are ready to quit all the stupid, petty, small thinking that holds you back.
Click on this link below.
Let’s do this.
Note from me: I rewrote this post more times (I think it was 8 times) more than any other post this year. You see, it’s not that hard for me to crank off a post about organizing your week or building new habits or even what to do on stage to win over an audience—that’s all about sharing what I already know. But writing about my backfires and missteps is new territory. My ego doesn’t want me to sound like a complete loser (good luck with that) and, yet, my ambition is to share what’s important to me – like what I’m struggling with and what I’m learning about living a great life.
My hope is that somehow these posts (and there will be more like this coming up) find their way to people who are willing to look in the mirror once in a while and to do something about what they see there. Hopefully, you’re in for the ride.