I’m giving myself ten minutes to write this. Because it will take as much time as I allow it.
I used to be a big time procrastinator (sometimes I still am). The reasons for procrastination vary - and mine usually involved paralyzing perfectionism. But along with that perfectionism was an understanding that whatever project I was putting off wouldn’t take as much energy, time, and effort if I put it off rather than doing “a little each day.”
The “do a little each day” philosophy never made sense to me. If I worked on a research paper a little bit each day, it would take way longer than it needed to. Not to mention the time it would take to get back into the swing of it, remembering where I left off each time, etc. I’m a binger, not a chipper.
The perspective that made much more sense to me was:
If you wait until the last minute, it only takes a minute to do.
And as much as it was an excuse to just put off school projects, I’m seeing more wisdom in that perspective now than I ever have. Maybe not the "wait until the last minute" part, but the idea of giving yourself a tight deadline.
If I gave myself an hour (or just “however long it takes”) to write this note to you, I would take all that time. And it might not be because it would really take that long to write, but because I would wander over to Facebook, change my mind about the subject, go off on different tangents, check Facebook again, and maybe finish it, or maybe just come back to it later.
What in the world! Why do that when you could just do it in ten minutes if you wanted?
What would it look like to limit your next project to ten minutes? I dare you to try it and report back. Tell me what you did and how it went!
Time’s up! :-)
I am a big believer in being generous with compliments. How many times do you think something nice about someone and don’t say it? WHY IS THAT? Why not say the thing?
I try to remember to say those kind, genuine things often as I think them, because I know how sweet it is to get a kind, genuine compliment from a stranger (or even a friend). And I can’t tell you how many times people say “You’ve made my day.”
A kind word from a stranger has the power to make someone’s day?
On one hand, that’s pretty amazing. Spread that magical power around everywhere as often as possible!
On the other hand….
When we give other people the power to make our day, we also give them the power to break it.
Years ago I used to have a decently-read wedding blog. Most of the comments were kind, encouraging, or at least benign. And it felt good to have so much positive attention. But once in awhile someone would say something I thought was mean or rude. And that would RUIN my day.
My happiness and contentment was based on other people’s opinions about me. My barometer for how I was doing depended on other people. I had given away my power. And that wasn’t just something I did when I was a wedding planner, that dependence on other people to give me my identity has been hardwired in me for as long as I can remember.
Tell me who I am.
Tell me what I should do.
Tell me if I’m doing a good job.
Only in recent years have I realized - truly internalized - that I have one wild and precious life, and it’s mine and mine alone to live and decide about.And that feels like a huge responsibility for someone who delegated that to parents, teachers, spiritual leaders, God… for decades. And yet, it’s a responsibility I’m learning to love - one that’s showing me just how much strength I have.
So I still accept the compliments today, but I hold them loosely, knowing that my power and confidence is mine alone to hold.
Enjoy your power and confidence this week!
I completely stole this concept from Penelope Trunk. I think of it anytime I find myself wishing I had something someone else has.
The secret is this: You can’t want just one thing from someone’s life. You have to want their whole life.
The point is that it’s easy to envy that globetrotting family if you don’t look at the whole picture. You have to want an inconsistent, not-guaranteed income (perhaps). You have to want a whole lotta time with your kids and no date nights with your spouse. You have to want to be away from the rest of your family and friends. You have to want true unpredictability.
You have to also want that guy and those kids, and who knows what they’re really like. You have to want her personality, and who knows what she’s really like. You have to want her life experience, and who knows what that includes. You have to want to actually be her (or him).
And if I think about actually being someone else, I recognize how very happy I am to be me.
Enjoy all that it means to be YOU living YOUR LIFE this week.
P.S. If you’re not happy with who you are or the life you’re living, we can change that. Seriously. Schedule an introductory coaching consult with me here and let’s make a plan.
What does it mean to live a life of no regrets?
You know how sometimes you have to keep re-learning the same things? And how sometimes a really old idea hits you in a totally new way and it’s like OH MY GOSH! TREAT PEOPLE THE WAY YOU WANT TO BE TREATED! (Bad example; I think the Golden Rule is confusing and misleading, but you get what I’m saying).
One of those things for me right now is a sliver-lining thing: embracing my regrets. I'm choosing to no longer be a victim of my past decisions, relationships, or experiences, and instead embrace them as having helped me become the person I want to become - the person who can look back on those things with far more maturity and clarity and insight than she ever could have without those experiences. Without this perspective, I can easily regret almost everything I’ve done in my life - not because I think I made “bad” choices but because those choices have added up to a life that’s so far from what I expected of myself at 34. Then again, I’ve had more personal growth in the last 15, 10, especially the last two years than I could have achieved in a lifetime of killing it on Wall Street or whatever out-in-the-world thing I think I should or could have done.
Ironically, I’ve lived most of my life in fear of regret, making decisions according to what I think I’m least likely to regret - which, by the way, is impossible to truly know. And, sure enough, as my beliefs have evolved, it’s been easy to think of many of my past decisions in a regretful way. But through those experiences I learned discipline, sympathy, patience, gentleness…things that do not come naturally to me and may never have become part of me had I not made so many of those “regretful” decisions.
I now have a new way of understanding the pursuit of a life with no regrets. It’s impossible to know what Future Monica will regret, but I can definitely say she would regret not growing. And growth means Future Monica won’t be able to stand by everything Current Monica says or does or believes right now.And that is scary! It keeps me from saying and doing and believing now, because I’m sure I’ll say and do and believe differently in the future. And yet, that is what I ultimately want because THAT IS GROWTH.
So I will continue to try to live a life of no regrets, but what that now means to me is I will choose to see my past and my future as lessons and growth points and the forging of a path toward becoming the person I’m so excited to be.
Do you have a fear of regret? Have you ever done anything you thought you would regret, but later turned out to be a decision you're pleased with? I'd love to hear about it!