What does a Great Day look like?
I was recently sitting at lunch with a 75-year old lady who was complaining a little about how she had to run to a second lunch, then meet someone for coffee, prepare for a dinner party and then had to be up at 8:00am the next day for a round a golf, and then some volunteer work at her church. Her list of commitments went on and on.
The first thought that ran through my head was how amazing it was to hear how active this 75-year old lady was. This was a typical week for her evidently. She was the type that threw herself into every activity and kept herself on the move.
I asked her. “Why are you committed to so much?”
She said, “I don’t want to disappoint anyone.”
The second thought that ran through my head is “why?"
I asked her if she ever said “no” to anyone. She explained that it was a problem for her to say no and that she was brought up to help others and so on. She had developed the habit of saying yes to everything. She labeled herself a “people pleaser”.
I asked her if she ever carved out time just for herself. She explained that she enjoyed time to herself but that it was very rare for her to do so.
I asked her what a perfect day or week would look like for her. She described a balanced week with time for herself and time for others.
My last question to her: “When are you going to start living that life?”
We love a good rhythm
Bob Marley once said in a song… “When the music hits you, you feel no pain.” It reminds me that we all crave a good rhythm. Whether that is in the music we are listening to or the lives we are living.
When we are living in a good rhythm, we feel a sense of security, safety, peacefulness and an overall well-being. When we are living in a rhythm, we generally find ourselves better organized and we feel like we have a sense of control over where the day, week, month or year is headed.
We also know that life rarely plays out the way we expect it to. All of us will face curveballs, obstacles and opportunities that we never saw coming. Problems and opportunities will always coexist and all of these have the potential to knock us out of our rhythm.
We see people everyday who have been side-tracked by an unexpected or transformative moment who are seeking to get back into a rhythm.
We love a good rhythm.
We love to Live, Learn and Grow
As much as we enjoy being in a rhythm, we are also wired to live, learn and grow. We need new experiences and moments to enter our lives. We learn from these. We advance our lives and all of those around us when we are open to experiencing life and continuous learning.
When we pack our schedule and lives so full of “stuff we gotta do” we can lose sight that all of these moments are learning experiences and opportunities to grow.
When we are reacting to every request with a “yes” and not moving through our lives with purpose and intent, we are giving up our choice to be the leader in our life and we are in essence, choosing to live life in a reactive mode.
When we’re out of balance, we know it and we can feel it. In some cases, we start to become the victim of our own choices and behaviors.
Chasing Our Perfection
Chasing perfection, as it’s been defined by someone else, is like chasing the golden egg. It doesn’t exist. Chasing our perfection, as defined by us, is totally possible but it takes having a plan of what that looks like.
When we have a plan of what that looks like, we are in a better position to make the choices necessary to move through life proactively. We become less reactive to the unexpected moments that present themselves and we gain the maturity to look at these as an opportunity to learn.
When we protect our time and when we focus on building the life and the rhythm that we want to live, we empower ourselves to choose the experiences and moments that are truly important to us and those that are in alignment with the world we are creating for ourselves.
Sometimes, You Gotta say No
It’s not always easy to say no. It’s not always easy seeing someone else be a little disappointed with our decisions. That’s ok. You have one life to live. It’s your life.
Saying “no” doesn’t mean you need to be disrespectful to people. It doesn’t mean that their time, request or desires are not important. When they are important enough, you’ll say yes.
Part of being a good human is saying “yes” to others when they have a need. Being the leader in your life is about saying both yes and no. Being the leader in your life is about making choices that are in alignment with the world that you are creating for yourself.
When you have a vision that is authentic to you and one that you are passionate about pursuing, you will know when to say yes or no.
Sometimes, you gotta say “no”. Just be respectful in that process.
Define your vision. Find your flow. Find your rhythm. Protect your time. Protect your vision.
Choose to be the leader in your life and you’ll grow with purpose.
To empower yourself with the privilege to say “no” start with this simple exercise.
Take out a piece of paper and write down your answers to the following:
- What does a great day look like for you?
- What does a great week look like for you?
- What does a great weekend look like for you?
- What does a great year look like for you?
Feel free to list as many bullet points that you can think of that describe the answers to these questions. When you choose to be the leader in your life, you will soon find yourself on the path to experiencing what you wrote down. You will also be in a better spot to articulate to others why you need to say “no” when these moments appear.
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