Are You Caught in the Whirlwind?

From gfycat.com

Look or sound familiar? Sometimes I’m definitely Mickey and that whirlwind doesn’t want to let me go.

The whirlwind is a term coined by the authors of Four Disciplines of Execution: Achieving Your Wildly Important Goals. They describe it as the massive amount of energy that’s necessary just to keep your job going on a day-to-day basis. We all know the feeling – the emails, the phone calls, the meetings, the to-do lists. It’s absolutely necessary but it’s also is the enemy of getting something new or innovative done. (p. 6)

The first step to getting out the whirlwind is to notice it. It reminds me of how lots of people like to talk about how busy they are and how exhausting their life is (see Dean Shareski‘s excellent posts on this topic). I get it, we all seem to have lots to do. But once we notice, maybe it’s possible to find some time to focus on what’s important. Maybe you can step away from the whirlwind for 30 minutes and create the time.

Perhaps as you read this you are laughing hollowly. “No way,” you’re thinking. “She is nuts – I don’t have a minute extra”. If that’s you, it might be time to read Essentialism.

I find it as hard as the next person to focus on what’s truly important and not just urgent. And yet, if I did it first thing when I get up, or blocked my calendar for 60 minutes every week, or went away for an overnight by myself to focus, or turned the TV off before the next show in the bingeworthy series came on…it could be different.

Photo by Jenna Hamra from Pexels

Yes, it could be different.

#oneword 2019 – ACTION!

Ta da! The curtain is up on my #oneword for this year.

Created by Wordswag

I’m excited because it’s taken me a while. I discarded two or three potential words after letting them roll around – they just didn’t seem to fit. In past years, I found my #oneword easily. Things are changing though, and that’s good.

Why ACTION?  It’s a combination of reasons. First, I tend to be a thinker (some might say an overthinker). I can get lost in my own reflections and wondering. I’ve been doing that for a while when it comes to my career and my life. Last year, my #oneword was “Explore” and most of that was about thinking. The time has come for me to do something.

I’ve been reading Becoming by Michelle Obama . She is inspiring me to action as well. Her thoughtful reflections through the lens of her, frankly, incredible experience and power as a woman are about accepting and doing what’s right, even when it’s hard.

Another influence is a critical friend who patiently listened to me as I spoke – with maybe a bit of whining too – about where I want to go next. He carefully pointed out that opportunities don’t just happen or come walking by – you have to go out and make them.

So there – ACTION. I need to ruminate less, act more, and to make the most of the times I have to create my own opportunity.

 

See other #oneword posts: 2018, 2017, 2016

Life Isn’t a Holiday and That’s Good

You probably just spent some time reading, hiking, skating, or one of many other activities on the holiday break. Wasn’t it great? Vacations can be truly wonderful. I look forward to them for a chance to disconnect from work and do some things I love. For instance, having the time to read more fiction is such a treat. I’ve always been a reader and remember my parents yelling at me to stop reading and get outside. They were right because I love outside too. Still, settling down on the couch with a book I’ve been looking forward to and losing myself in it is wonderful. It’s easy to forget about the world and indulge.

Some people mistake a vacation for real life. They yearn for retirement when they “can do whatever they want”. I know those who count the days to the next holiday. I just can’t get on board with this kind of thinking. While I love time off as much as anyone and yes, work can be stressful at times, what I am doing needs meaning beyond pleasing myself.

A full, satisfying, and happy life must have purpose. This can take so many forms, and we don’t need to be in a fancy job or have a lot of money to find it. I try to think about what my purpose is every day. A fresh start in 2019 is a perfect time to remind myself of that.

Recently Barack Obama challenged followers on Twitter and Instagram to take up the challenge of making something better.

Obama gives many wonderful examples in his feed, and I’ve been thinking about this a lot. I know where I want to go to try to make a change in my community.

What about you? What is your purpose?