Busyness can be a shield from unimportant and important distractions, but not regret
Time is constant, life is not. Yet, we live in a time where busyness is pervasive and we make decisions as if life, like time, is constant.
How many times has someone asked, “how are you?” only to respond, “busy.” And many times, the response back is something along the lines of “tell me about it” or “same.”
The truth is that there’s never enough time if you don’t make the time. It’s something we all know. But oftentimes, we lose touch with the weight and urgency of life’s priorities. Sometimes we have to focus on what’s most pressing or critical. At the same time, there are always new ideas or things to chase, things we keep putting off or meaning to get to, and everything and everyone else, we try to balance in real time.
Giving ourselves to a lifestyle of busyness however means that we are likely to miss and lose many important moments, experiences and even relationships before we’re ready. The resulting self-pity, pain, the barrage of “what if’s” and “could have’s,” are the things most of us will have to live with indefinitely. In this life, it seems that regret is an inevitable outcome. But in actuality, regret is preventable. It’s all a matter of prioritization and that’s where things get so difficult.
What’s important in the moment is quite frequently measured in the moment and not against a greater construct of values, time, and purpose.
Life is like a river. It simply passes us by.
There are no trophies or awards for busyness. The only certainty are the ribbons of regret we’ll carry if we don’t live life with intent and make every important decision count.
I wanted to share one such story with you. After writing Lifescale: How to Live a More Creative, Productive and Happy Life, I started to receive stories that move and inspire me. I wanted to share one with you here. There’s something in it for all of us…
I don’t read books. I simply just don’t have time for it. But I read yours.
Years ago, I sat on a panel in NYC. When an attendee asked how you retain customers in a price competitive world everyone on the panel talked about volume discounts, bundles, etc. When it got to me, I simply said “treat your employees like they’re coated in gold. Happy employees equal happy customers, and happy customers will pay a premium for great service.”
I am, and always have been, focused on employee health and well-being. Time off, not always connected, work from anywhere, yadda yadda yadda.
I didn’t, however, do that for myself.
The number of times over the last 6 years that I’ve told my son we’ll go to the park, go skiing, go hiking, throw the football, etc. and then not delivered because I am building a startup are uncountable. I thought I was teaching him a lesson about hard work, dedication, putting in more than the other guys to make sure you win. I’ve essentially been an absent father and felt completely disconnected from his life, but wrote it off to “startup life, amirite?”
10 weeks ago my 81 year old father was going to the gym 3 times per week. 10 weeks ago they discovered he had Multiple Myeloma, a cancer of the bone marrow. A former marathoner, track coach, basketball coach, etc. that in the blink of an eye is now gone I recount the number of times I said no to playing a round of golf because I was too busy in startup life. The number of times I missed a backyard BBQ because I was too busy in startup life. “The guy works out 3x/week, there will always be time for golf once my company gets off the ground.”
What I wouldn’t give to play just one more round of golf with my dad.
Coupled with this “smack you in the face” life event comes LifeScale. Given the timing of everything I thought “fuck it, I guess it’s about time I read another book”. So, I bought it. And I read it. Honestly there was nothing earth shattering from a “I didn’t know that” perspective but rather countless gems that make you think and reflect on how I am operating currently, and what truly matters in the big picture.
Thank you for the eye-opener. I am buying a copy for every member of our team and a handful of entrepreneurs I am currently mentoring (along with a note that says I will be less available as a mentor as I realign my life).
Here’s hoping my son never has to say “what I wouldn’t give to play one more round of golf with my dad”.
Photo Credit: Steve Shreve, Unsplash