Are You a Slave to Time?

by Chad E Cooper

The first question to ask yourself is how do you know if you’re a slave to time? Take a look at your calendar. Are you filling your calendar each week with a bunch of have-to-do’s or are you looking at a calendar that makes you excited about the week? Most people I find are not happy, healthy and excited when they look at their week ahead.

Next ask yourself, do your activities listed on your calendar fill you up or drain you? If the answer is that they are draining you, it’s likely that you are a slave to time instead of time serving you. You never want your calendar to be your master.

There are also physical ramifications caused when you are a slave to time. Physically, its abundantly clear that it’s going to shorten your life-span. Lack of time in your mind create stress, anxiety, and tension. In other words, it’s going to create cortisol production in your body that makes you unhealthy, can give you a heart attack or stroke and shortens your life. However, before that occurs you may start turning to addictions to ease the stress. You may say oh it’s a small addiction. Perhaps it’s drinking alcohol or smoking too much. You party hard on the weekend, binge watch shows, or turn to pornography. Anything that feels good but is not good for you can be the result of trying to cope with a lifestyle or a schedule that is draining.

Many people have told me that the lack of time effects their moods and stress levels. It can show up after work when they come home, being grumpy or short tempered with those they love. Maybe you become disconnected mentally from your family just needing a time out. Or your only partially checking-in with your career and the people you work with. Maybe you show up physically, but mentally you’re just going through the motions and not really doing your job to the best potential.

So how do you flip this? How do you turn this around so you are no longer a slave to time?

The first is to get clear on what’s going on in your life. If all your friends and family were invited to the movie theater — and the movie projected your life covering the next 10 years… Would it be a Blockbuster hit or a B rated movie? Would you be the lead character or just a supporting actor?

What I would invite you to do is to take look at this. Do you initiate or cause the actions of the role you play? Are you preforming in the genre that you wanted to design when you were young? Maybe your watching an action-thriller and what you really wanted looked more like romance. Maybe you wanted to star in comedy movie (life) full of fun and excitement, yet you are actually living in the middle of a B rated horror flick. The first thing to change this is to get clarity of what you have and then what you want. What’s your purpose or core values? Are you headed towards disaster like in the Titanic?

Next look at whether you are using this script as an excuse? Are you blaming things on society, the economy, on whoever was elected? Are you blaming it on factors that you think are not in your immediate control? Or are you using your circumstances as an explanation for what you don’t do or have. And are you willing to accept ownership and responsibility regardless of what goes on around you?

The reason I see this with some of my clients, is they simply don’t have clarity what they really want. Example: A client of mine was complaining all the time that she just did not get the same chances in life as others and that’s why she was never successful. She said she was not a lucky person and always ended up in the deep end. A single mother of two small children she felt trapped in time between kids and work. Her movie was obviously a B rated drama. When I asked her what she really wanted the movie to be, she said a romance where prince charming would come along and save her. With this idea set in her ear of her movie, she had created the vision that she was a victim that she always needed saving. She spent her life just waiting for the prince to ride in on the white horse instead of taking responsibility for her own choices. To receive the outcome to the movie she created, meant a life of always being the helpless damsel in distress. It was exactly what she had created. The truth when we flipped it and found her core values was for her to be the strong queen in a feature film. In this movie, she could have anything she was willing to work for. She just needed to see herself strong enough to rule a kingdom with love and care for all who was in it. She did and now has a blockbuster life.

To turn life around and flip it, you must first find your core values. Get out some paper and then close your eyes. Think of three of the happiest memories/moments that you can recall. Write down as much detail about those past-memories on paper. You are looking for the things that brought you joy and filled you up. It may have been something that took a lot of time like graduating from college, or maybe just a moment when you made the winning pass for your team in the playoffs. Make sure that you are including as much of the feelings and the emotions that you can remember. Each memory should take up at least a half a page on paper. Go back through it now and circle all the words having to do with your feelings and emotions that those experiences created. You will start to see patterns emerge of repeated feelings and emotions. Those are most likely your core values.

Take those feelings and emotions now and ask yourself, with the events that are on your calendar in the future, how many of those are recreating the feelings and emotions from the past that lifted you up, gave you a sense of mission and made you free? If the answer is little or none, what are you willing to do to shift the next scene in the movie to start incorporating them? Without including the needs of your core values and creating events that generate them, you will never be the master of your time. What small actions will you take now to insert those feelings and emotions (core values) into your work or home life?

If you want time to serve you, you must be willing to get into the driver seat. You must be willing to say, if I’m just learning how to drive, I don’t expect that I can just plop into a Formula One race car. But if you learn the skill sets of an advanced driver and you want to do Formula One racing you must be willing to get up and show up at the track. See yourself winning the race if that’s the Oscar nominated role you want.

Change is inevitable. Growth is optional. Your choice, Your movie!

Take Chad’s 5 Day Challenge at Chadecooper.com