I love reading history, and this morning, I was reading a collection of speeches by the eminent American historian, David McCullough. He said that it is easy to forget that individuals made choices and decisions in the present not really knowing how things would turn out. We tend to think of them in the context of the past. It’s too easy to forget that things didn’t have to turn out the way they did.
That impacts my choices for today. My responsibility is to step up to any challenge and recognize that it is all I can control.
Reading a few verses from the Bible is kind of like drinking Orange Juice concentrate. It’s a lot to take in. I’ve often tried reading for quantity in hopes that the sheer volume will have an impact.
But my experience has taught me that even just a few sentences and paragraphs are enough to chew on, think about, and try to apply. And applying is really the point anyway.
You know that feeling you get that you’re missing something? Or the envy of some successful person who appears to be having a wonderful time and apparently has a fantastic family, a powerful career, the adoration of millions, enough money to last a lifetime, and the smile to prove it?
Yeah, I know that feeling. I wrestle with envy an awful lot.
It’s easy to think that someone else has it all together. It’s also easy to think that you can be amazing at everything. You simply can’t. So, choose your priority, and allow other interests to fall in place below it.
Oh, and read this book.
In the book, The One Thing, Gary Keller made a point that was worth the entire book to me. He mentioned that the word priority didn’t become pluralized until the last century. My guess is because we wanted to lie to ourselves that we could focus on more than one thing. That’s the opposite of focus.
Priority by definition can only be one thing.
So, the next time you list your top 3 priorities, just stop, and choose one. That’s your priority.
The next time someone asks you if you did something, and you reply, “I didn’t have time,” try this instead: “I prioritized other things instead.”
Because that’s the truth. We all have the same amount of time, and we all make priority choices constantly.
That’s not a bad thing, but let’s be honest and take ownership of our time. You have plenty of time to do the things you deem important.
Maybe I’ve corrupted the good ol’ Puritan work ethic, but it seems like when I’m working hard I feel useful, and when I’m resting I feel lazy.
But the more I learn about how our bodies and mind work, the more I’m convinced that appropriate rest and downtime are far more important than I ever imagined.
So, I’m trying to embrace sleep, and plenty of it. I’m trying to accept sitting still, being calm, and sometimes even being bored.
You are on news overload.
The truth is that you don’t need to know everything that is going on. The media/internet/socialworld all thrive on getting eyeballs on their stuff, so just because they’re talking about it doesn’t mean it’s important.
Choose when and where you consume your news. Do it on your terms.
When you hear a piece of news, ask:
- What action can I take because of this news?
- If you can’t take any action, you’re creating a news burden.
- How do I feel/react when I heard/see this news?
- If it doesn’t stir action or create peace, you’re creating unnecessary drama in your life.
“You own the phone. It doesn’t own you.” Ed Young, Jr.
Technology has made it easy to be always connected and always available. That’s too big of a burden for anyone to carry.
Just because your phone rings does not mean you must answer it. It’s your choice.
Just to prove to yourself and your phone that you own it, try a couple of things:
- Set Do Not Disturb on your phone from the evening until work hours.
- Intentionally leave your phone somewhere where you can’t access it for a while.
What do you do to prove that you own the phone?
Record your next presentation, and see how many of these you use. You’ll be flummoxed, shocked, stymied, and simply agog.
Trust me. None of those words improve your communication.
Nothing feels quite like fixing something for someone, and seeing that “man, you’re a genius” look in their eye. But, as good as that feels, it’s killing your leadership potential.
Tell your team that if they identify a problem, rather than bringing it to you to fix, they should try to solve the problem, and if they’d like affirmation, they can tell you about it.
Anyone can find problems. Valuable team members solve problems.
Enable your team to solve their own problems, and you won’t feel so good about your own wits, but you will feel better about your business.