I have always been motivated to help others. There was a time when this consistently came at the expense of my own well-being. I would sacrifice sleep for workouts, coaching, and writing. I was hardly home. I burdened my wife with taking care of the kids and dragging them to basketball games where I was coaching. When I was home, I was often tired, distracted, or working. With all that, we were still a “happy” family… perhaps satisfied by knowing it could be worse. No love was lost. We made it work. We adjusted. We seemed normal. I was very fortunate. I always knew I was going to stop coaching high school basketball so that I could coach both of my sons’ teams. I had no idea at the time, but that was the game changer for my family. Before that, I didn’t know anything other than constant exhaustion. Exhaustion from giving myself to things I cared about outside my household. Once coaching high school basketball was out of the equation, I became more available to my family. It took almost a year get adjusted but over time I realized the redistribution of my time was not only better for me, it was better for my family. I know a year seems like a long time to adjust, but lots of dynamics had to change. My wife had to get used to entertaining my opinions and ideas about home life. I had to understand I couldn’t come in and take control of everything. I had to learn not to take dislike for my suggestions personally. Our boys had to get used to both mom & dad being around and all that came with that. There were lots of rough patches but I learned from the experiences. I now understand that I have a responsibility to myself and my family to stay attuned to how I deplete my time and energy. I also realize that rest to recharge has to become a higher priority as I mature. I am not completely cured, but do have a better understanding of what it takes to thrive in all my life pursuits.
Our insignificance is most significant. That is not intended to be received in a cold way. It’s meant to spark a desire to reevaluate how we are spending our time with an understanding that our absence will not stop others from living their lives. It’s intended to alleviate the fear of letting others down by adjusting how we prioritize our time and energy. It’s okay to leave work at work. It’s okay to set hard boundaries on evenings out with friends. It’s okay to miss a friend’s event because you have set that time aside for your family. It’s also okay to attend the event and shift the family time. Just don’t skip the family time, unless you see your friend’s event as a higher priority. Please notice what’s important here. Whatever you decide, let it be based on your priorities and NOT how anyone is going to feel about what you decide. That’s where it begins. Once you are able to start challenging your choices, then you will begin to understand that even greater things are possible. As you move into different challenges, circles, and experiences, you will likely find that others will want to follow your lead. Your life becomes an example of what can be accomplished by setting priorities and applying them to the precious minutes of our lives.
Originally published at www.huffingtonpost.com on May 16, 2017.