I’ll admit it.
Sometimes I wake up and don’t exactly feel like “charging forth” to take on the day. Lately, I have found myself way too wrapped up in the to-do lists of others simply because it is hard for me to say no. This makes it far more difficult for me to start the day off with my hair on fire since I don’t want to let anyone down, but at the same time do not always want to have to dedicate large blocks of time that could otherwise be spent with family or working on my own coaching, business or health.
I know, boo hoo – you reap what you sow.
We all know that being a true professional often means doing the things you don’t want to do, but don’t we also need to be more honest about what NEEDS to be done and what CAN be done? Where do we draw the line when it comes to putting your head down and taking on yet another task instead of sometimes being willing to be the bad guy and saying no?
We can talk prioritization strategies and checklists all we want, but in truth, much of this is governed by emotions and our desire to scratch the itch or the urge to please others.
Is there such a thing as “professional FOMO?”
For me, at times, I worry that if I say no or choose not to take on a difficult project that I am missing out on an opportunity to improve or learn something new from someone I may not get to collaborate with again. I’m also all too aware that someday people may no longer want to hear from me. Someday the requests may quit coming in since the field as a whole, and those who comprise it will inevitably gravitate to something “new” and shiny.
We all have our own version of this concern and question: “How much time do I have to make an impact that truly matters, and that will have a ripple effect long after I am gone?”
If you know me well, you know that my kryptonite is anything to do with time and the inescapable truth that we don’t have much of it. Thus, I always try to embrace chaos and maximize the type of experiences that others may take for granted so I can make an impact.
It’s as if I perpetually hear the music that often accompanies the scene in any movie where time is running short and the “hero” is running for their life, (if you want a more visceral example of the exact tune I hear in my head, be sure to look up “No Time for Caution” by Hans Zimmer).
The difference is, I learned long ago that I’m no hero, I’m just hopeful.
Hopeful that some day when this ride is over that something I said or did stuck or mattered. I know this, if it does, it won’t be a Twitter or Facebook debate I engaged in (which is why I don’t take the bait on those anymore), and it also won’t be because I went overboard on saying no – even though the benefits of doing so can be tremendous.
If something sticks for any of us after we are gone, it will likely be because we had the courage to try something new, or stick our necks out for something we truly believe in – even if it is something that many people don’t fully understand at the time.
This is the era of urgency.
A time when the only way any of us will break through the noise (whether internal or external) will be dependent on us deciding what we want to fight for and having the courage to voice it in a consistent manner in as many mediums as possible even if it means doing it on someone else’s terms on occasion.
So yes, embrace “deep work,” keep your checklists and structure if they work for you, and limit the numerous distractions you have in your life, but also realize that sometimes the masterpiece comes from the mess. The delicate dance of sticking to your guns and surrendering them never comes easy, but then again, neither does anything worth having or creating.