“Our greatest fear should not be of failure…but of succeeding at things in life that don’t really matter.” – Francis Chan
These days it seems like the acceptable and laudable answer to “How are you doing?” is “Busy!”, as though that’s an accomplishment. Our society has apparently decided that being busy is an achievement in and of itself.
Are you really busy doing something that matters? My experience with our clients (and unfortunately, myself) is that a huge percentage of the time the answer would be “No”. We spend our time doing things other people tell us to do. We spend our time doing things we think we’re supposed to do (I’m the CEO, therefore I should be doing X). I think maybe the biggest culprit is spending time doing things just because we’ve always done them.
One of the problems with being so busy is that we’re too busy to stop and think about what we should actually be doing. The reality is that you cannot call yourself a success, or even a good leader, if you don’t have any time in your day to think. More specifically, to think about where you should be spending your time.
The answer is of course different for everyone – we all have different lives and talents and opportunities. But here are two places to start:
What are you really passionate about? What is it you’re doing when time seems to fly by? What is it you do that you can work at for hours, and when you’re done you have more energy than when you started?
What makes you feel good about yourself? What is it you do that when you’re finished, you feel like you’ve really accomplished something? What makes you feel like you’ve done something that made the world a better place?
Maybe you think those questions are just idealistic, but you’re wrong. We’re each wired to do certain things, and when we’re doing those things we’re excited and energized and feel good about ourselves. If you’re really passionate about something, then guess what – that’s probably what you’re supposed to spend more of your time on.
If you’re spending all your time being busy, take a minute and stop. Think about what things in life really fire you up and make life seem like a lot of fun. Are you doing enough of those things? Nobody ever lies on their deathbed and thinks, “Boy, I’m sure glad I did all that stuff that was boring and meaningless.” Find your passion & you’ll find the world you’re supposed to be living in. Good luck.