Focus On The Must Haves

I got so many thoughtful and supportive emails about last week’s post (thank you!) that I just wanted to follow up and let you know that after I fell apart, I got to work on pulling myself back together and I’m happy to say that I am back in the game again. Part of my recovery involved taking inventory of how I was using my resources of time and energy and how I could be more efficient and focused with those resources to get what I wanted.  I have a weakness for fun of all kinds and I tend to say yes to every opportunity, activity, event and invite to to get my fun fix.  This definitely has its benefits, but unchecked, it can really dilute my focus from what I truly want by spreading my resources too thin over things it would be nice to have.  The net result is that I end up doing mediocre work and I’m exhausted.  I knew that if I were going to pull myself together, I needed to be way smarter about how I spend my time and energy.  I knew this was huge and that I needed to get on it right away, so, naturally, I rented the first season of Sex and the City and watched all the episodes back-to-back.  I really wanted to grab the second season, too, but the project of focusing in on what I truly want wasn’t going to happen without my involvement, so I did what I had to do. . .

I pulled out three clean sheets of notebook paper and titled them, respectively: what I want, what I must have and what I can live without.  I started unloading my wants, I have a lot of those, it was actually kind of fun seeing all the things I’d like to have, do and be.  Then I picked out what I absolutely must have from that list, those things people supposedly think they wish they had accomplished or acquired while they’re lying on their deathbeds and I came up with five things that I absolutely must have before I expire. Finally, I went back over my want list and picked out the things that, when it really came right down to it, I would be okay with letting go.  I won’t lie, it was rough–I felt a little bit like Meryl Streep’s character in Sophie’s Choice. I looked at my must have list, it truly represented my immediate deepest wants and I knew in order to get those things, I would have to funnel my resources to those five things.  Only, I got even more real and I knew that five things was still too many, I might be mediocre or just good enough, at best, by spreading my resources out over those five things and so I made some more Sophie’s Choices and narrowed my list down to my very top three priorities, the things that I knew I wanted to be nothing short of great at. These are my true must haves.

There is one caveat that takes any oppressive heaviness out of all of this though: I can change my mind at any time about what it is I must have. This is a major relief to me, because I don’t like the idea of being tied down to anything.  The truth is I’m free to do whatever I like, and what I like is getting what I must have.  One thing I know for sure is that unless I am clear and focused on what I must have and I consciously channel my time and energy toward it, I won’t get it. Nothing worth having happens by accident, we make it happen by actively planning, preparing and working toward it.  There’s little room in our lives for things it would be nice to have and no room for the things we can let go of when we are pursuing the things we must have.  The resources of time and energy are there, we simply need to decide how we spend them.

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  1. August 19, 2010 at 7:16 pm

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