Our plates are overflowing: more demanding schedules, daunting to-do lists, and having to do more with less. We wrestle daily with balancing the ever-increasing load on our plates, and we’ve become accustomed to squeezing every last ounce of productivity out of each hour. Time spirals away, and you feel like a slave to the schedule: overworked, out of touch, and disconnected from what you ultimately want your life to be about. The truth is that you’re probably too busy to be reading this post, and yet that is exactly why you need to.
Why? Because our lives and legacies are not based on the sum total of all the items we check off an overloaded to-do list, or how successful we are at squeezing every last ounce of productivity out of every day. Creating a lasting legacy lies in living your life with passion, and committing your time, energy, and resources to something you believe in that will make a difference in your life and the lives of others. It isn’t easy—doing the right thing rarely is.
If you’re willing to reverse the trend of doing just what has to be done, you can start here and now by answering one question: What is it you, at the end of the day, want your life to be about?
When you can clearly and unequivocally state the approach that drives all your choices, actions, and decisions, you gain a level of clarity and focus that transcends what you want to get done today, this month, or even this year.
Finding the answer to the statement I want my life to be about… starts with:
Exploration Is The Key To Figuring Things Out
You can start by each day, for the next 30 days or so, purposely leaving open spaces in your schedule, or planning a few less tasks each day so that you can commit that time to exploring, developing, and defining well what it is that you will strive to attain—no matter how long it takes, no matter how many obstacles must be overcome, and what ultimately, at the end of the day, your life is about.
At this point your focus isn’t about creating milestones, accomplishing goals, or even the to-dos that you believe will take you there. It is about investing time in yourself, learning what you need to know, connecting with yourself in ways that help you see things through a different lens, being creative, and connecting with who you are at your core. Make sure you balance learning, thinking, and doing, and build connections with others who can help you hone in on what matters most.
Tweaking It Brings It To Reality
Now that you know roughly what your dream is—that thing that you want your life ultimately to be about. You need to begin the process of aligning and bringing together the daily tasks, goals, and milestones that when taken in conjunction with each other keep you on track. When you build your daily to-do list, it needs to be tweaked to make sure that the low level tasks / goals and mid-level tasks / goals that make your list move you closer in some way toward that all-important ideal outcome for your life. Be ruthless, and ask yourself each time you think about adding a task, meeting etc. to your list—Does it distract you, take away time and energy from a goal that matters more? If yes, even if it is only a low-level goal, then it should be avoided and not added to the list.
There is real power in seeing your future in the present moment. Seek out and save inspirational quotes, photos, images, or anything else that will help you link what you are doing in the present moment to where you ultimately see yourself ending up. These everyday reminders can help you refocus, reset, and stay present when outside forces try to pull you off task and off track.
Appoint A Wing Person
Choose someone with whom you can share and discuss your dreams, plans, and challenges. Make sure you share with them your biggest aspirations and your biggest concerns about getting to where you want to be. This person should be a trusted advisor who is willing to ask you where you are on your plan at various intervals, share with you when they notice you’re off track, and offer you the kind of suggestion that will help you get focused on the future and reset yourself.
Whether you want to be the newest start-up CEO sensation, or help others fulfill their potential clearly and unequivocally knowing the approach that drives all your choices, actions, and decisions is what gives you clarity of purpose. It is this clarity that gives you the energy, passion, and perseverance to live your life in the way that best creates what you want your life to be about. I’d like to hear what you want your lives to be about and how you plan on obtaining it.