Thursday, September 4, 2014

“The way we spend our days is the way we spend our lives.”

I just got back from my morning run on Grays Peak, a 14er close to home here in Evergreen, Colorado. I’m stinky and salty sweat is stinging my eyes, but the ideas are flowing, so it’s time to write.

I spent the last 10 minutes of my cruise down to the truck considering a simple question: What matters to me in life right now?

Here’s what I came up with:

1. Be the best father and husband I can be.

2. Help other people learn, reach their potential, and make the most of life.

3. Reach my own professional potential in racing, teaching, writing, coaching, and speaking.

There it is--nice and simple. Three goals, three ways I should be spending my time. But is it really that simple?

If you’re like me, it sometimes feels like a million things are pulling you every which way, almost to the point of hardly even knowing what you are actually doing at any given moment (which is probably because you are trying to do at least three things at once).

Brigid Schulte’s Overwhelmed: Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time, which I listened to this summer via Audible while running in Europe, addresses the situation above. She uses the term, "time confetti," to describe a scattering of small bits of time allocated to various pursuits throughout the day. Schulte presents a variety of points relevant to my life--and maybe to yours as well. Two of her points come to mind as I think about what’s important to me.

The first: “The way we spend our days is the way we spend our lives.” And the second: We should only spend 5% of our time on things that do not fall within our foundational goals in life.

I really like what Schulte has to say here, and I’m going to spend some more time over the next few days thinking about whether the way I currently spend my days is really how I want to spend my life. I’ll also think about how I can plan ahead to spend less time on things that don’t fall within my focus areas--and maybe even loosen my expectations of myself in those areas to make time for boosting performance in the Big 3 I identified above.

If you’re interested, give it some thought yourself:

What matters to you in life right now?

How do you spend your days? Does the answer align with how you want to spend your life?

If not, what needs to change and how will you make that happen? Remember, you (not negative stories or external forces) are in charge of your life. My experience is that fear of risk and so-called "instability" is usually what holds people back from spending their lives in what they believe to be meaningful ways.

How much time do you spend on tasks unrelated to the things that really matter? How can you shrink this to less than 5% of your time?

As always, I’d love to know what you think.

August was a good month. I particularly enjoyed pacing Emma Roca in her epic win at the Leadville 100 run and conducting a corporate motivational training session for Oracle. I also had fun doing this podcast with Randy Ericksen of Adventure Race World. I just about have a complete manuscript of The Ultra Mindset to send to Da Capo Press, and that's exciting as well!

Thanks for reading,

PS- #1 in palliative care nurse Bronnie Ware's The Top Five Regrets of the Dying: "I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me."

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