OK, people, it’s done.
Summer’s over. The vacation’s behind you. No more lazy lunches. No more casual Fridays.
It’s time to put away the Dockers… and the swimmies. It’s time to get back to it.
September’s here. Time to get busy; time to get serious.
No more leisure, no more playtime.
It’s time for work.
Uhhh, wait a minute: I object. I don’t want to give up playtime!
It is a busy time of year. But perhaps we can take some of summer with us?
In summer, it seems, time is more expansive; the rules more flexible; the boundaries softer.
And then September comes and – maybe it’s a holdover from going back to school – it seems like the time for fun is over.
We move back into our busy lives, our schedules chock full, shuttling around the kids, out to soccer games and swim practices, with evening meetings, volunteer activities and board commitments.
Many of my coaching clients feel like they’re moving back into the forest fire armed only with their squirt guns; their lives turned into an out-of-control carnival game of whack-a-mole. Reacting endlessly, and breathlessly, to the urgent.
Never really getting to what is really, truly the important in their lives.
And summer slips silently into the rear view mirror with perhaps some vague hope for respite and reprieve on some distant unencumbered weekend… or maybe in February on that “vacation… .”
There is a different way.
But it requires that you become a control freak.
That’s right, a control freak: someone who takes control of their lives!
No one else is gonna do it for you. You’ve gotta do it for yourself.
And this means that you need a bit of courage and audacity.
I know. I live it too. Bombarded by unceasing demands and expectations in every area of our lives. Inundated by inputs. Juggling multiple modalities of communication. Over committed and suffused with the anxiety of dropping the ball.
But here’s the truth: the in-box will always be full. None of us will ever get it all done. If you died tomorrow, you’d be replaced.
So why not pay attention to what truly matters?
People ask me how it is that I take so much time away traveling and adventuring. The answer: it’s a choice.
Last year, I took 13 weeks off. There were no disasters. No one missed me. The world went on.
And, damn, it was fun.
So here are some practices to consider before September gets too crazy:
- Decide what really, really matters to you. Spend time on that. Get rid of the rest.
- Get really good at saying no; if you find yourself saying you “should” do something, you probably shouldn’t.
- Carve out time for yourself – every single day. No one else is going to do it for you.
- Get up an hour early and enjoy the quiet. Use it to read and write and meditate and create.
- Plan your weeks; and plan each day; actually schedule in the time for the things that matter most to you.
- Turn off the TV at night and focus on the life you really want.
Here’s the scoop: at the end of our lives, no one is going to wish they spent more time in the office, billed more hours, sold more product, sat on more boards, went to more PTO meetings, or volunteered for more committees. It won’t matter whether you went to one more network group, whether your Facebook status was up to date, or whether you were well LinkedIn. What will matter will be the experiences you have had, the love you have shared, the lives you have touched.
What will matter will be whether you showed up in each and every moment to know the fullness and the joy of your life.
What will matter is whether you have lived without regret.
For that to happen, you’ll need to become a control freak.
p.s. If you’re working on creating the work and the life you love, and would like some support and coaching, consider booking a complimentary breakthrough Strategy Session with me. We’ll get laser focused on you and figure out exactly what needs to happen to get you the results you want. Email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
This is an encore of a piece first published on September 6, 2012.