The Past, The Present, The Future
Actions of our past do not make us who we are today. This is what I believe.
I do a lot of work in the start up field and when you look at what the successful startups are doing it is rapid prototyping and shipping products quickly. The quickly shipping products however is where the problems can be. Sometimes pride get’s in the way and the mistake of the past becomes the present. How we deal with this makes a mark on who we are and our long term code of ethics. We see a lot of companies make a choice to take the past and make it better. This choice leads to better businesses. When we make a personal mistake in life with those that love us we can do the same thing by owning up to it and trying to make it better.
If we are to be looked at who we are today then we need to take a look at the past and not dwell in it. Personal reflection is the mark of successful people. The personal introspection though can lead to self doubt and that is where the present comes in. This present is what we make of it today. Does this past create the reality of what a new future looks like, or do we choose to relive the errors of the past? It has often been said the definition of insanity is doing something over and over again and expecting a different result. In order to change this we must realize that our future is predicated on choosing to change today and make a difference in tomorrow.
All of this is predicated on our priorities and our core values. What are your core values? Sometimes the value in the today is the moment and the stillness of the now. My own experience was helping my wife when her son was in the hospital recently with viral pneumonia. The drive for the future was suspended by the now and that is ok. My wife and “bonus son” needed me. My wife needed someone to make sure that she was getting what she needed as she took care of her son. What this says is my family is worth it and for all of us this should truly be the case. I feel life really is to short and that the stress of life gets in the way of the love of life. The experience of the day and those that love us that are around us.
Our future therefore is unwritten. We get to make a choice in how we make it better. Our values dictate something about those choices. I know for me I am choosing the ones around me that care about me.
This is even true in business as Rabbi Lapin puts it, every dollar you earn is a “certificate of appreciation” from your customers. Take a look at your business and if you are to serve instead of receive how would your business change? I guaranty customer service becomes priority number one and you get rewarded for it.
By looking and learning from the past, stepping out of the present, and serving for the future we will have a better life in business and personally.
For quite sometime I have been dealing with a huge problem, but I had no idea. The bizarre thing about this problem is that most would think how could that even be a problem. It seems like it would be something that we all would want and even strive for. The challenge is when this problem kicks into overdrive it causes serious problems including self esteem, and for me just even dealing with the world. The problem stems from one word, and many people today have no clue how big of a problem just one simple word creates. That word is yes.
While yes by itself is not a problem, what stands behind it can be. If all that yes means for you is people will like me more, then you can relate to where I have been for most of my life. I sought out approval. I sought out the yes. You see for me it started at an early age, and is a story for another time, but in todays reality it has been a barrier. I lost my voice in the process of always saying yes. I lost my sense of balance. When you are always saying yes it becomes such a struggle to not get to such a high level of overcommitment that you have no where to turn. You begin to feel paralyzed at even calling a client and telling them of delays because you feel they won’t like you. You feel like you will have let them down. In reality you just are letting yourself down.
Saying no is tough because someone may not like us. In reality though we are just kidding ourselves. I struggled with this. How is it possible for someone to like us if we say no? I just did not understand it. Today I still struggle with it, but the reality is something that most of us forget about which is boundaries. We want to do so much that we get lost in the everythingness of just doing as much as possible, but in reality it is not a life worth living. It is living someone else’s life and not our own.
Enabling yourself to be happy and facing the dreaded no starts with your foundation. Who and what are you? Why do you exist? Why do you go to work? Why do you do what you do? Why are you?
For me the balance was shot. More work would be great. More income and better success. The reality is most of the time less is always more. Imagine if you are able to focus on just one thing today how much better you may be able to complete that task. Imagine if all you did today was focus on your relationship with your spouse, kids, relatives, or friends it will change your life. Saying no can help create balance and when you tell people that truly care about you that you need to think before you give them an answer it helps build respect.
I am not suggesting you say no to everything because remember your balance. Remember what matters most. Remember that life is not worth living by yourself, but with others around you and you certainly have to give back to whatever makes you who you are. The challenge for me though has been realizing that as long as I am treating each person with dignity and respect the no becomes less personal. My personal worth rests inside myself and not with others. I believe that for everyone. Find who you are and stop letting the no be so personal.
Most of the time when we start something we don’t have a good idea where the end is. This is even more evident when most business owners begin their small businesses. We think I want to change the world or want to offer a product that is not being offered by anyone else. We possibly find funding, buy equipment, buy product to sell, and we open our doors. If we guessed right and there is a market we begin selling our product and in time we find ourselves “successful.” Well at least others judge us as successful because we overcame that start up hump. To us though we just keep on keeping on and in some instances we are just making it. We are not really feeling successful. We still are struggling. We are struggling because our success compass is off.
Money is supposed to equal success. If we have the nice home, the nice car, or the nice office aren’t we successful? We have the money to show it, but in reality we have a false sense of success. Well at least I did.
I have owned my own business for over 11 years now. I battled through so many bad years just making it. I did make it though. I made enough to put food on my table and that in reality is what mattered at the time. I however still measured success as not having more money. I wasn’t driven by it, but I was placing my own value in it. I was not valuable because I wan’t making more. My reality, I wasn’t successful because I didn’t have the nice car or the nice house or the nice whatever. I was simply passing through my business making ends meet and at the same time becoming more and more bitter about it.
Why don’t people know my worth was often the question I would ask. I felt powerless and in that question alone is the value. We have to find our success in a different way.
Here is the reality when looked at through a different lens. For the past 11 years I have been privileged to be a part of some of the largest events in the community of Bend. I have put together many videos that have helped raise funds to change peoples lives. I have with assistance of an incredible team built and executed countless videos and events that have been the small ripple. So my value is greater than money.
Here is what I would encourage all of you. Take a moment when you are feeling the lowest, or are not feeling successful and reframe the question to what is it that I value. Success is in that value. Success is so much more intangible than money, Success is the change you make in the world today.
Begin with the end in mind, but start with values instead of success. If you stick to your values you will be successful by nature. Your nature is your legacy.
For years I have struggled with planning and goals, but this year I am determined to make it work and get myself going. I am going to outline my process so I can look back on it and better refine during the year if needed.
The first thing I am doing is using a great little iOS app called Timeful.
This little app starts my day off right and helps to find times within your days for priorities that you define and then keeps pestering you to go and schedule them. It ties into my calendar on Google and updates the calendar there.
Once I have the times mapped out I begin my day by spending those 15 minutes that are allocated to a simple document that I have created with Pages that outlines Year, Month, Week, and then finally Day. It is very important to make the actionable and focused. I don’t just say that these will be done, but instead I make them they will be done by X day or X time. this helps me put timelines in place for them.
The Mac app is very nice looking and I find it highly functional and one of the best GTD interfaces out there. This is a redesign that they underwent last year and it clearly shows they took some time to get it right.
You will notice in this photo I have some codes which are PB and PT. I have been grouping a bunch of small tasks into these “Blocks”. My codes are Personal Time and Productivity Block. I place a day as I tend to reuse the lists and I have created them as projects in the program. The nice thing is you can take any of these and drag them into Calendar which I am using on my Mac.
I am creating daily schedules at this point that have all tasks to complete for the day. Here is the part that I am still trying to figure out, but in essence I am budgeting my time. I need to do a better job of scheduling some breaks and will be working on that in the coming weeks.
I also have a couple of other tools that will help with my scheduling, but that is for next time. Please let me know if you have any question by emailing me. I also know this is a work in progress and hope to better refine it over the next month.