This week marks about 5 weeks of the stay at home order here in Illinois and much of the nation. This week I did a little personal inventory a little reflecting back on the week to see if I’m on the right track. Remember, Steve Jobs told us we can only connect those dots looking back. And I have to say that looking back I feel pretty good. If I was in a job interview right now and the interviewer tried to test me by asking what 3 valuable uses of my time were during my period of unemployment. I feel confident that I would nail it. I’m learning about financial advising, I’ve enrolled in some free online classes – blows my mind that people don’t take advantage of these great opportunities, I’ve started this podcast – which by the way you can also start for free and I’ve gotten outside and worked on staying fit. Also free!
The binge watching couch potato.
Not for the interviewer, but for you. I’ve also seen the first three seasons of Money Heist – love it! Except that they killed my favorite character – not a spoiler alert since you don’t know who my favorite is and Except that while playing a board game with the family the other night I heard Tokyo narrating my next play in my head. “now is the time for mommy to make her move, but she’s screwed. She missed the opportunity to play her awkward pieces and now there’s no place for her to play on this board. The professor told us we would face this, but where is the professor now? We haven’t heard from the professor since the coronavirus began.” Yes, I love this show, but I don’t love it in my head.
Jonathan Estrin says “The way we spend our time defines who we are.”
So I’m sharing this story because there are so many choices right now –
You can choose the couch
You can choose to dive into sharpening the saw or learning new skills
Can you see the tyranny of “or” here? If I choose one path I choose to deny myself of the other path. Or is oppressive. It’s why so much self improvement, so many diets, and so many new ideas fail. Poor sad little “or”. You don’t have to sacrifice one for the other or choose just one path. As Jim Collins would say in his book Built to Last “Embrace the Genius of AND.”
Instead of being oppressed by the “Tyranny of the OR,” liberate yourself with the “Genius of the AND”— and set yourself free. You can embrace two extremes at the same time. It is possible. You don’t need to choose between A OR B, figure out a way to have both A AND B. In my earlier example I have used my time for self-improvement AND I’ve been a couch potato. Just not equal parts of both.
There is no balance.
We’re not talking about balance here. Balance, balance, balance. Everybody says they want life balance – Balance isn’t real. And if you’re out there saying you want balance your lieing – yes I’m sorry you are lying. Balance is equal. What does a scale look like when it is balanced. Two sides are at the same level.
Extend both of your arms out to your sides. Pick two important things in your life – say your career and your kids. Now raise the hand of which one you want more of in your life.
One hand went up right? Not balanced. If they were balanced they would be of equal value and they are not. There are times when your kids are more important AND they should be
Not balance – this is when this side of the scale is more important. The scale is tipped.
Alternatively, if we are looking to get a promotion, become a leader, start a new business or some other type of career growth the scale will tip away from our kids and towards career growth.
“Balance” implies going to the midpoint, fifty-fifty, half and half. I think this is why so many people don’t go back to school. Or don’t write that book or don’t train for that marathon. They focus on the sacrifice of what they need to give up – the tyranny of “or” instead of finding a way to have it all – embracing the genius of “and”.
What is something you’ve always wanted to do?
What is something that has been holding you back?
How can you find a way to break through?
Pride or regret?
Connecting the dots looking backwards how will you reflect back on this time? With pride of your accomplishments and contributions? Yesterday was the best time to start. Today is a great time to start. Tomorrow . . . next week . . . . Start small and build. Small improvements over time are like compounded interest. They grow into something large.
Staying at home as been difficult, certainly regret is worse. Don’t let another moment pass. This is your time. Take that first step. You can do this. Yes you can!