A friend recently emailed me and asked what I’ve been doing that’s different since I seemed to be so much busier and happier. As I typed out a response, I thought what I’m doing might help YOU as well. My reply is below…
Over the last few months, I’ve been working hard on clarifying what I want to do with my time, rather than being a slave to my schedule. Through this, I’ve realized the following:
To feel fulfilled at work or home, you need to…
1) Spend MOST of your time doing what you love.
2) Develop a mission or purpose in life that includes bringing more VALUE into the lives of those around you.
I was not doing so well on the first item (doing what you love) because I believed the stuff “I had to get done” was taking up ALL my time. Life seems busier than ever and it can feel like you’re drowning in a never-ending pile of stuff that needs completing.
Yet, there is also an unconscious habit that many success-driven people experience and that is to take on MORE activities than you should in hopes that something will eventually make you so much money that you don’t have to do anything else, except what brings you joy. Turns out, THIS IS A TRAP!
First, if you are spread too thin, you won’t be able to excel in one area that you can become known for. If you are a jack of all trades and a master of none, it will also hurt your brand because people won’t have a clear understanding of what you do, or how you can help them.
Second, working on several projects at once won’t give you more free time. Instead, it eats it all up. Every project you take on creates an entire list of sub-projects that you were not anticipating, which means you won’t end up with MORE free time. You’ll end up with even less!
Third, you only have so much bandwidth. I just turned 47 and I’ve noticed that I don’t have the energy to pull 80-hour work weeks like I used to. Plus, my laptop and smartphone were hurting my marriage because my family started feeling like my work was more important than they were. Thus, I put boundaries on my work so when I come home, the computer and phone go into my home office and stay there until the next morning. This has greatly improved my marriage, yet it also means I now have even less time to get things accomplished.
Sometimes life moves SO FAST, it can feel incredibly difficult to slow down enough to actually plan out a desirable outcome. This is a common theme for companies I work with and it happens in my own company as well.
If it’s happening in yours, try these 4 steps…
1. Take an hour (or a 1/2 day) and write down everything you spend your time on.
2. Then write down what you want to spend your time on. (What do you love doing the most? What would bring about the largest economic growth for your business?
3. Look at where you can start “clearing your plate.” What two activities are most important to you? These activities should bring you the greatest chance of success, while also cultivating the greatest amount of joy. If they are in conflict, go with what brings you joy.
4. Start prioritizing your day and make sure every task is related to the “two chosen activities” you’ve selected. It’s OK to say NO, to turn down money-making opportunities, and to protect your schedule in order to stay laser-focused only on your two main objectives.
I’ve spent my whole life growing a coaching practice, so I have a lot of security and pride wrapped up in it. This makes letting it go feel quite unsettling. My mind thinks, “What if the speaking thing doesn’t work out? What if I sell my practice and I can’t get it back if I need to? What if I can’t pay my bills and I end up living in a van down by the river?”
Fear (False Evidence Appearing Real) will suggest that it’s merely trying to keep you safe. Yet, why tip-toe through life so you can safely arrive at death? I joke with my wife that I came into this world naked and yelling and that’s how I intend to leave it! I’d rather wear out than rust out, so I’m going to take a chance on pursuing my next dream.
I can always open another practice, but my BIGGER dreams aren’t going to wait forever. It’s either now or never, so I’m going for it. I’ve shifted my fear so it’s actually scarier to play it safe than it is to track down my dream, and that’s what gave me the green light to take charge of my schedule. I’ve also created urgency, so I take action quickly rather than allowing the process to drag out.
Thus, I’ve now cut way back on the number of clients I coach each week and I’m devoting 80% of my time to consulting with companies because I can make a larger difference in this way. How will it all turn out? I’ll keep you posted on that. Yet, I have a strong feeling that it’s going to turn out even better than I expected it too!
What I want to know is how it will turn out for you?
I hope you seize the opportunity to find out.
Thanks for reading,
Tim Shurr, MA
President, Shurr Success, Inc.
“The ONLY thing that separates you from your goal is a belief. The faster you
recognize and shift your limiting beliefs, the greater success you’ll achieve.” -TS
“You start to live when you give!” -Dave Lindsey
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