Sometimes I get distracted and discouraged. Maybe you do to—most of us do. Call it intellectual drifting where we lose sight of where and how we intend to create and sustain meaningful impact with the people we love and teams we lead.
Summer is the drifting season. The “lazy days of summer” invite us to take it easy. Planning for relaxation to reenergize is vital to sustained impact and is much different from intellectual drifting. Drifting is losing touch with our most important roles.
Who will cross your path today? Some will be the people you know the best and love the most—you’ll create some of these intersections, other will seem random. Every personal interaction presents you with an opportunity for impact. Knowing why praise is not encouragement is the key.
Does it surprise you to learn that that you will meet between 80,000 and 100,000 people over the course of your lifetime? You’ll be in the presence of millions more. Let’s create a quick visual of the size of this opportunity. Picture yourself sitting in the The Rose Bowl filled to capacity. Now wrap your head around the knowledge that you are going to have a face-to-face interaction with everyone sitting in that stadium over the course of your life—amazing opportunities for impact.
Everybody wants more time but it is finite. It doesn’t discriminate—it can’t. You’ll cry out with anguish that you don’t have enough time, but it is one thing that no one has more of or less of than anyone else.
How you spend your time fully exposes where your heart is and what you’re passionate about. It is simply the nature of time—it marches on regardless of circumstance. You can’t put a price on it, but to the people you love and lead it is the most valuable gift you give them.
Do you know anyone who gets up in the morning, thinks about the day in front of them for a moment and proclaims, “I hope I get a chance to struggle today.” As a parent, do you think about your kids and say, “I sure hope they are challenged today?” Do leaders and coaches look at the teams they are leading and wish for them to experience failure and defeat?
I need to be reminded, sometimes frequently, that the goal of struggling should be growth and improvement—ultimately greater impact. Embracing struggle and the reality of being a work-in-process is not easy or comfortable. In the midst of struggle, the path to victory is fueled by learning how to get comfortable being uncomfortable.
Don’t you love the elation you feel when you cross the finish line of a successful race? Don’t you still recall a few great celebrations after accomplishing a big goal or dream?
We all have. And when we set our sights on a new finish line (an important goal or big dream), we are filled with great intentions and expectations. But then something happens. Your race grinds to a halt as resistance robs you of your passion and enthusiasm.
It comes down to choices. Frequently there are too many options to decide. I reach into my pocket and there it is. A reminder of the sanctity of life, the gift of time, and the opportunities this day will present.
The marble in my pocket reminds me of the man who bought a vase and put one marble in the vase for every week he had until his 75th birthday. He removed one marble a week and what remained was a striking visual reminder that his days were numbered and a reminder to live with focus and urgency.