Simple is good.
Simple that significantly impacts your life and career is even better!
I want to share a “simple” which created real insight and learning for me in hope it does the same for you!
Last week I spoke to an executive with whom I work. We were finishing some details for an upcoming visit. While it had nothing to do with our conversation, just before we hung up he said, “Hey Chip, did I tell you my new life mantra?” I smiled over the phone as I waited to hear it. “It’s simple”, he said. “It goes like this:”
“Shed the things that no longer serve you…”
I remember complimenting him and reinforcing his effort as we said our goodbyes. I went about my day; plowing through my to do lists and trying to get it all done. Interestingly, the “life mantra” stayed with me. I found myself thinking about it often. In fact, the more I thought about it, the more it took shape and significance in my mind. Better yet, I am now deliberately deploying this pearl of wisdom for myself.
See if my learning can benefit you. Here are my two significant take aways and some ideas for applying them.
The phrase ‘Serve you’… : At first, this sounds selfish and self-centered. However, if you think about it, it is the exact opposite. If you don’t take care of you – you can’t take care of others. Every time you fly they tell you to “put your mask on first before trying to help others.” As a leader, you must take care of yourself – the organization relies on it. Covey referred to it as “sharpening your saw” – it’s a deliberate effort to rejuvenate, rest, learn and grow. Makes sense. Using the wisdom of the life mantra – your job is to shed the things that no longer serve you. Translated, what are you doing that isn’t helping you to learn, grow, rest, rejuvenate and flourish? Identify it, target it, shed it. Here’s a list to start with – consider these:
- Not getting enough sleep.
- Drinking wine late at night (and then eating crap).
- Agreeing to do things I don’t want to do (thus wasting valuable time).
- Tolerating (and keeping) toxic relationships in my life.
- Passing up opportunities to exercise (even simple walks around the block).
The concept of a ‘Best version of you’: I believe there is a best version of you. It is the version in which you are happy, challenged, engaged and loving your life. It isn’t easy to find – I wrote a post about how to do so here. However, when found, it is even harder to maintain! Every day you make choices. Some of those support the ‘best version of you’ and some don’t. When you waver and wander from your best version, you begin to fade. It is subtle at first, but over time you can get lost. When you accumulate and accommodate too much compromise, you lose your best version under all of the crap. Your shine tarnishes and gets replaced with a ho-hum existence.
The answer – shed the things that no longer serve [the best version of] you. Once again, the life mantra is on point! The compromises to your ‘best version’ may vary – here is a list to consider:
- Staying in a job that sucks the life out of you and has no future.
- Working for a boss that doesn’t inspire, teach or mentor you.
- Avoiding continuing education or learning opportunities available.
- Settling for known compromises and second-bests.
- Failure to change or modify your bad attitudes or bad habits.
Do the Work:
I challenge you to better focus your choices and refine your decisions. To do so, use this simple, yet powerful life mantra – Shed the things that no longer serve you.
- Start by listing all of the choices, behaviors and decisions that don’t serve you well.
- Follow-up with a list of all that compromises the best version of yourself.
- With list in hand – start shedding! Take deliberate and consistent action to shed all that distracts and deters.
- Proactively manage future choices and decisions; reduce the tendency to compromise and your list of ‘to be shred’ simply goes away!