Now not later
Ever thought that things will slow down tomorrow, next week, or next month? Did things slow down? People who think things will slow down in the future are almost always wrong. They may be mildly self-delusional.
This morning I had coffee with a community business leader who recently started a business. His comment, “I should have done this 15 years ago.”
Is your putting-things-off bucket overflowing? Do you consistently put off what you want to do for what you have to do. You’ve been putting things off too long.
If not now, when?
Can you reach into your bucket of things you want to do and pull something out today, something small? If you can, then do it now. Do it today.
Buried under a smoldering pile of responsibility is a suffocating passion. Can you give oxygen to your passion today?
Call someone you want to reconnect with.
Talk to your children or spouse. Last night my wife and I turned off the TV and talked for 30 minutes. Cool!
Read a chapter in a book.
Watch the birds.
Clean out a desk drawer.
Say thank you to those around you.
Spend five minutes thinking about the future.
Pursue a new opportunity.
Give something away.
Take one small step toward the life you dream of.
The statistics on death are 100%. If not now, when?
What can you take out of your want-to-do bucket today? If you share it here, you may be more likely to follow through.
I love the spirit of this post! I run across ministry leaders who not only have the time to do what they WANT to do, they don’t even have a list.
The first step is to carve out time for getting back to our childlike roots and dream, imagine, brainstorm all the things we can put on our WANT TO list. Then, armed with a list, start weaving it into the fabric of the journey.
I want to create a robust spiritual check-up process (similar to an executive physical) for ministry leaders.
Great seeing you today. Thank you for your practical suggestions.
On a related note, when I was designing questions for my coach to ask me, I asked my wife this question, “What question would you like to give my coach to ask me.” She said, “Have him ask you if you are having fun.” Wow! I thought I was. She said you are working all the time. So, my coach calls me everyday. One of the questions is, “Did you do something just for fun?”
I found that I enjoy work and have fun…but I don’t know how to grab a moment that is JUST for fun…
Love your idea of a spiritual check up process…
Best to you,
“We don’t rest from our work. We work from our rest.”
For those people who operate with this principle, any moment for fun isn’t always necessarily JUST for fun. It’s an investment in strength for the future work ahead.
Great question, “Have you had fun today?”
Great post! You stated “Do you consistently put off what you want to do for what you have to do?” I can see this as a problem for many people, but I also see the opposite as well. There are many that are constantly putting off what they have to do for what they want to do. Example: students putting off studying so they can play video games or employees spending time on facebook instead of working. Yes, there are times when we need to take a break from our “have-to’s” and spend some time on our “want to’s” – but we cannot forget our “have-to’s.” Something else I’d encourage people to do is to objectively look at their “have-to” list to see how much is on it that really doesn’t belong there.
Thanks for the good word and for dropping in again.
You sure know how to think otherwise! Great comment. Now I have to write about the dangers of procrastination.
Have a great weekend,
And maybe there’s rhythm in the trilogy of…
don’t-do’s (the things we think we need to do but have no business doing)
Since I began running again in December 2008, with a goal of completing a 5K in less than 30 minutes, running had been a very large part of my life and dealing with job/life stress. When I injured myself in early July, it took until the end of August to come to terms with the fact that the only solution would involve resting my foot. Ironically, this rest period led me to fetch something out of my fitness want-to-do bucket early: swim. I had always said, “once I reach my running goal, I will take up swimming.” In addition, the fitness diversity has included biking, yoga, pilates, TRX suspension training, indoor rowing – you name it I have done it. My upper body and my core are in shock! But it has been such a good thing overall – physically and spiritually. I didn’t choose an injury but it opened the “lid” to my “bucket.”
One of my twitter friends just sent me a picture taken from a traffic accident he saw this morning; I have absolutely no knowledge of the person who died in this very horrific accident except her gender – but I think we all would hope that individual had, up to the very last moment, felt that she was dipping out of her “bucket” regularly.
One of my favorite quotes is: “What you love is a sign from your higher self of what you are to do” (Sanaya Roman). Here’s sending a wish (and, heck, a “command” of sorts) to the LF community to find at least a moment today to align yourself with what you love.
My most recent blog post describes a moment when it became clear that my passion was suffocating: http://waytenmom.blogspot.com/2010/11/broken-mama-kat-writing-workshop-prompt.html
Beautifully said Paula and yes I will most certainly find something today I love to do and remember your quote. It is a keeper for sure. Thanks for sharing, regards, Al
Al, that sounds like a strategy that will result in a very positive day! Thank you for your kind comments.
I’m seconding Al’s comment. Wonderful comment. Very encouraging.
Time to listen up and then follow through…
Paula is a featured contributor on Leadership Freak. Read her bio at http://leadershipfreak.wordpress.com/paula-kiger
Cheers to you as well, Dan, and thanks for all you do to help us all focus on being in touch with our “higher selves.”
Good morniing Dan. What a timely comment. Yes just like you and I suspect almost everyone else in the community our buckets are truly full of “stuff.” Well guess what at my wife’s insistence I have finally started writing again. I am dedicating 30 minutes every other day and so far so good. I also understand that “life is not a dress rehearsal” or the way that George Carlin would say: “Life is a one-way ticket with no refunds.” We truly get caught up in our daily work and it seems as one thing is removed from the bucket three more fall in. I have also like you stopped watching TV as much and now spend time with my wife who’s been practicing Yoga for almost 10 years and is determined to teach me the basics! 🙂 I will let you know how it goes. I suspect sitting in the lotus position to meditate will be the easy part of the process. I may send you some of my “writings” to get your perspective. Writing for me by the way is a pleasantry and hobby. As I read back over the years (started writing poetry and essays in 8th grade) it is fascinating to see how one changes and develops different attitudes and concepts as we age and as we “experience” life. You have a great weekend Dan and Keep chatting with your wife, that is always a healthy thing just make sure you do more of the listening as I do! 🙂 Regards, Al
Love your comment. I’m so encouraged by you and the others who left comments.
I’ll chime in on the writing thing. I committed to write 5 days a week during 2010. It’s been an “interesting,” enlightening challenge. I’m glad I did it. Best in your writing. BTW, I’m no critique. 🙂
My coach asks me if I had a personal conversation with Dale… nothing like some accountability to motivate me to have those chats with her.
Even though we haven’t met, I feel we are friends.
Dr. Diaz is a featured contributor on Leadership Freak. Read his bio at http://leadershipfreak.wordpress.com/al-diaz
From experience coaching business owners I have discovered the “I’m too busy” excuse covers a multitude of self-delusional activities about their passion, beliefs and identity.
Too often the owner was in denial and did not want to face the need to change their identity to change their activity.
One business owner introduced himself as ‘the landscaper guy”. (He identified as a technician, not a business owner).
I told him I work with landscapers who are ready to give up landscaping so they can own a business and hire others to do landscaping – he didn’t want to be that person, so he continues to do landscaping (his identity), not create and run a business.
Yup, “I’m too busy” can be a convenient way to NOT take responsibility or ownership. It’s a safe haven. I’ve been there.
Alan is a featured contributor on Leadership Freak. Read his bio at http://leadershipfreak.wordpress.com/allen
Dan, your post today has wonderful synchronicity to themes in my life lately.
As a mother, many things I planned to do in life were set on a back burner. As it should be. Sacrifice is an important part of parenthood. Still, some things wish for attention. Others? Well, truth is I’ve changed and so have some of my desires.
However, there are things that have been on that back burner longer than they needed to be, because I allowed myself to have particular ideas about them, that weren’t necessarily needed.
A recent example involves my continued desire to become a piano technician someday. Piano technicians not only tune pianos, but fix them, with skills ranging from simple action repairs to pulling entire harps. (As a pianist, it’s always fascinated me that piano is one of the very few instruments where the players generally require someone else to maintain their instrument for them.)
Anyway, I was pursuing membership to the local guild (and looking for an internship) when I became pregnant with my first child 14 years ago. All-day morning sickness and parenthood, changed everything as far as my direction. And I do not regret one moment of that.
However, as the kids got older, I had very specific ideas about needing an internship first before daring to return and learn this art. Something not currently available in my area. And I could not bring myself to consider using a correspondence course, because I wouldn’t be able to ask questions. Or consider getting my training started on my own with my own two antique pianos (one upright and one baby grand) because we haven’t moved yet and I have very little room to work in our current house. And I can’t have parts all over the place with the kids around. And if I messed up something on my heirloom pianos I’d be broken-hearted. And I don’t have the proper tools just yet because I don’t have time to attend guild meetings just yet and well, what’s the point?
See the spiral I was fostering? And I allowed it because other things in life were screaming louder and got more attention. I was too busy anyway. So I ignored this one.
But I’ve been shifting lately. And I’m stepping outside some perspectives I’ve been ignoring from being on the back burner so long as to exist outside my immediate view. After all, I’ve been “too busy.” Too tied up with “responsibilities,” some of which I don’t even want and probably don’t have to contend with if I choose not to.
Two days ago, with a tune in my head, I got a wild hair. And I fixed some problems on my antique upright without “proper training” and a pair of needle-nose pliers. I used it for my NaBloPoMo post. You can see photos and read the story on my everyday blog here: http://thedifferencebetweenaduck.wordpress.com/2010/11/03/i-fixed-it-my-piano-n-me/.
So yeah. If I can do it, you can too. Who knows what else we might shift?
Wow, another heartfelt comment. What a great story that motivates me to reach into my “bucket.”
Thanks for leaving your link.
I love this quote: “I’ve changed and so have some of my desires.” That idea helps me let go of some things. It also suggests, if we don’t do it now, it may not matter later. That gives me pause.
Julia is a featured contributor on Leadership Freak. Read her bio at http://leadershipfreak.wordpress.com/julia
When I first started my college career, my intention was to accomplish a PhD in music theory. Near the end of my college career I planned to add music therapy to my list and work with mentally handicapped children. 20+ years later, I still love music theory and I still volunteer work with children. But I do not desire either career path anymore. At all.
So I think, yeah – while some things seem to stick around in our bucket lists, we also do change and so do our paths.
And we add new ideas, passions and interests along the way too. It never occurred to me that I would become a crochet designer when I was young. Even though I was passionate about making things. So my music degree doesn’t do a lot for me now, but it was valuable for that period of time in my life. I can embrace that and move on without regret.
Have an awesome weekend y’all….
A close friend of mine introduced me to the concept of having a “Bucket List” of things to do before I die. He turns 70 this weekend and has accomplished a number of things in his bucket. One of his and my Bucket items we shared in accomplishing together, which was receiving our PhDs following retirement from DuPont. The wisdom of my friend was a PhD in and of itself.
Bucket Lists are good, but should be well thought out, in my opinion. Too often we clutter our buckets with garbage or we do not revisit our buckets often enough to keep them current.
My wife turned 60 last week and one of her and my bucket items was to vacation in Yellowstone National Park. Since we live within 1,000 miles of the park, we decided to drive. We spent her 60th birthday in a blizzard. It was 12 degrees F driving over Teton Pass on the way home. Needless to say, even though we thought the Yellowstone bucket item was achieved, we placed the Yellowstone tab back into the bucket for another trip earlier in the year. Got to admit though, watching Old Faithful erupt in sleet and snow was a different experience and well worth the trip.
Glad to be back home in the desert.
Being from Maine your trip through a blizzard sounds wonderful. Sometimes in Pennsylvania we have blizzards too. I love being snowed in.
I think the dessert has made you weak. 😉
Seriously, thank you for sharing your story. You add fuel to my fire to be sure I’m thinking about and focusing on things I really want to do. Also love the relational component of you bucket activity.
Best to you on your next trip to Yellow Stone,
Jim is a featured contributor on Leadership Freak. Read his bio at http://leadershipfreak.wordpress.com/james-leemann
Did my time in Chadds Ford, PA. Recall the winter of 1993. We couldn’t get out of our front door for 90 days. Lived in Buffalo for two winters – 180″ each winter. Again, this is the reason I live in the dessert. Oh, 17 hurricanes in New Orleans helped with the decision also.
Dan, you have eloquently painted some beautiful and driving word pictures, thank you! Right up there with one of my fav progressive rock bands, YES.
This is a key part of a legacy post/perspective, bet it strikes a chord with us all.
Also would imagine I am not the lone ranger in wondering how will I be remembered…or even will I be remembered.
Dan, of course, being who he is, ratcheted it up a couple notches and said, ‘get off your duff and start making your legacy now!’ (And now he has something to report to his coach about!)
While the ‘fires de jour’ that we tend so conscientiously are very important for our organizations…now, perhaps even more important, is the bigger, longer picture that we can begin painting and some day pass the paintbrush on.
From Dan’s words, I see/hear/feel, ‘what are you waiting for?’
Another perspective that dovetails in with Dan’s post and the responses so far, is simply ‘do it’. Who is to say what may come from what you finally do ‘do.’ What you soon ‘do’ may be far more important that what you have been doing all this time…it may be your destiny and legacy that has been waiting for you.
Have to wrap with two Talking Heads quotes…Life During Wartime…
“This ain’t no party, this ain’t no disco
this ain’t no fooling around
No time for dancing, or lovey dovey
I ain’t got time for that now”
“Memories can’t wait.”
Thanks Dan, again you have passed along an amazing energy!
Doc, I love your comments and your poem and quote. To answer your question on whether we will be remembered I will go back at you with another quote from an English author Albert Pine: “What we give to ourselves dies with us. What we give to others and the world remains and is immortal.” Have a great weekend Doc, regards, Al
This is something I think everyone can relate to. ESPECIALLY ME ! Being a college student and procrastinator this really applies to my life. I often find myself making a To-Do List and as long as I know that its on the list then it will get done eventually.
But that list gets longer and longer and I never get around to doing things that I would really love to enjoy because leisure endeavors are second to my school work. So I need to motivate myself to carve out some time to do what I love to do and actually explore Pittsburgh while I am still here !!!!
Dan, great post on the power of now (sorry, Ekhart). Your tag line at the end reminded me of a story told me by one of my clients. He works in the mental health arena and was challenging an audience to engage in the battle over mental health as a third class citizen. At the end of his speech, he said, “If not me, who? If not now, when?
In the context of your post I might say, “If not for me, and those I love, who? If not now, when?
BTW, love the comments, everyone. Like a beautiful tree, each comment adds a branch to add beauty and strength to the tree. Next discussion…the art of BEING. 🙂
What a lovely analogy Jim! Thanks for adding!
Interesting timing on this post. Just last night I was talking with my wife about spending more time together as a family. We should make:
– one night a week family game night and turn off the tv
– one night a week family movie night
– one night a week read-a-book night and turn off the tv
Spending time together as a family is what makes memories and what our kids will remember years from now. Not that they got to watch some TV show, but that they spent time together as a family.
Boy did you hit the nail on the head. We should broadcast your comment nationwide and help America bring back family values. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, regards, Al
All in favor? Passes unanimously!!
(Actually might say we need to ‘re-create’ new values for families that bring the best of the past and the best of what this column values into the mix…after all if our families are not the most important ‘organization’, what is?)
Wow there are some really great comments on here. That’s why I love the LF community, the people become so engaged. Dan this was an eye opener and something that I’ve been writing about at my blog as well (http://lifesgreatescape.com/2010/11/03/life-from-a-kids-perspective/). Sometimes we get so caught up working towards outcomes we forget about the process. Of course life happens, we have responsibilities, but we also have a right to enjoy our lives as well. Life is to be explored. Putting off doing something you really wish to do, is cutting yourself from truly experiencing life and its wonders. I was watching a video of a young boy that was out jumping into the ocean and slipped. I won’t go into details because I don’t want to offend anyone, but the sight of that video sparked a moment in me. We never know when our time is so the best thing to do is enjoy the moments, take the exploration, and enjoy the journey. You’ll meet new people, explore new places and find out more about yourself. Thanks Dan for another great & intriguing post.
Now you have hit one of my favorite topics — action! I just got back from a celebration lunch I hosted for one of my coaching clients. She struggled with a company she didn’t like working for while trying to sort out her goals.
One day we were having a session on the phone and she said: I am just tired of being treated like I don’t count! A breakthrough. She hadn’t admitted the power her current job was having on the rest of her life and her ability to go after her goals. She then started looking and made the switch to a new company.
Realization that the current picture is not optimal is often the impetus to act now! Action activates achievement.
Great post. Thanks for hitting this on a Friday when people are often more aware of the frustration they feel. It may motivate many to work on a goal they have previously been avoiding.
Hi Kate, I like your Action activates achievement. that one I will remember. BTW loved your presentation of personality types and how simple you explained it. I am a dove-eagle. Some other folks at work came up with a great mix thinking of someone having a bit of each one at different times: “DowlPeaGle.” Have a nice weekend, regards, Al
I have this problem every day Dan. Knowing that for the most various reasons I am procrastinating on some important stuff, just because they are not work-related. Putting work before many things, can’t help it for now, but I made my written goal to do something about this in the first quarter of 2011. We’ll see how I do at that.
A Canadian songwriter and musician, Dave Carroll (od “United Breaks Guitars” fame) wrote an incredible song called “Now”.
When there is no way out, there’s still a way through.
So don’t give up whatever you do.
Surrender to moments and things as they are
From gaps in your catch-22’s
When there is no way out there is still a way through.
‘Cause Now’s all there is, so peaceful and still
In Now you don’t worry about what’s happened or what will.
‘Cause Now never ends
And Now’s never been
And all of your answers are waiting for you here Now…
If you have never heard this song, I encourage you to check it out on youtube – it is an incredible song.
The checklist at the end was really inspiring…
I am pleased to read of what you have said and agree that this post is great, has a positive spirit. I like your idea about creating a robust spiritual check-up process.