Many coaching clients come to us because they feel their lives are out control. One of the first things we do is look at how they are spending their time. Most of us live fast-paced existences. We are caring for others, we are part of families and we contribute to our community. We work, we volunteer and we belong to teams and groups. We even try to find time by ourselves on occasion. Regrettably, our society seems to place value on people that can pack a lot into a day and a week. More is better, right?
Usually it is unrealistic for us to put a hold on everything we are doing, even when we are on the brink of crisis. So, when a client comes to me I ask them to explore their personal values and to plot each of their life’s activities on a continuum between busy and full. This week a client asked me, how can I tell if what I am doing is busy vs. full?
My response to her was that a choice to do or not do something creates busyness when it is not directly related to a personal value we hold. A choice to do or not do something creates to fullness when it is more directly or closely linked to a personal value. For example, let’s say time with your family is one of your top 3 values. The choice to undertake a master’s degree when you have 3 kids under the age of 7 at home, while working in a demanding full-time job may lead to more busyness than fullness. Conversely, choosing to coach your son’s house league hockey team instead of joining a community board that will increase your public profile is likely to create more fullness than busyness.
Neither option is wrong or right as both have potential short and long-term pay-offs. In both scenarios it is a question of what are you risking by choosing or not choosing to do this? In terms of spending time with your family, which choice will put you on a direct path to achieve that?
Both this week and last week, I have shared moments with friends who are grieving the loss of someone close to them. The online tributes and the depth of mourning are not the result of busy lives. The best legacy we leave behind is by living a full life that is attuned with our own values, whatever those may be. If you want to lead a full life, you must first understand that you have a set amount of time and second, make conscious, intentional and values-driven decisions about who you are going to use it.
If you want support creating a full life, contact us today.