My wife and I spent the first week of 2016 in a beach vacation house in on the Gulf Shores, Alabama. It was not the ideal time to being on a non-tropical beach, but we thought it would be fun. We knew it would be cold, but we could bundle up. Best of all, we would have the beach mostly to ourselves.
The temperatures were comfortable the evening we arrived, so the next morning, I woke up at the crack of dawn and went outside to see the sunrise. I was totally unprepared for the near gale force wind that hit me cold. With no coat on, the wind went straight through me. Walking to the car, much less a stroll on the beach, felt like pushing a wheelbarrow up a steep hill that never ended. It was exhausting. I may have managed things better and even enjoyed my walk if I had stopped and prepared before I rushed out into the wind.
You may work in a world that can feel like a gale force wind of unwanted and non-essential activities that can push you off track and exhaust your time. I have observed that there are three primary things that contribute to extremely windy days at work for many leaders :
1) Meetings: sitting in meetings you don’t need to be in, especially when there is an ill-prepared Power Point presentation
2) C Players: spending too much time trying to fix the C players in our organizations – a nearly impossible mission to accomplish
3) New Technology: trying to learn how to operate new software and getting distracted from operating the business and, of course, attempting to manage the constant stream of untethered electronic communication.
4) add you own here…
It would be wonderful if we could simply step out of these winds while at work and cleverly avoid our time wasters. But after years of watching myself and other people strive to pull out of the gale force activity winds while in the midst of those winds, I have concluded that this strategy fails every time. But there is a strategy that works.
The folks who decide to Begin before they Start each day are the ones who more often keep their footing in a world of unyielding distractions. Their secret , they tell me, is to never let daily activities Start before you Begin. Invest a few purposeful minutes to put on your emotional and spiritual coat, before you step out into the wind.
Do you start your day in the wind with email, a calendar check, and a task list or do you begin with some time to reflect on things that really matter? It may be worth a try to intentionally “Begin before you Start” each day of your Leadership and Life in 2016.
“In times like these, it helps to recall that there have always been times like these.” – Paul Harvey
“The real problem of the Christian life comes where people do not usually look for it. It comes the very moment you wake up each morning. All your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals.
And the first job each morning consists simply in shoving them all back; in listening to that other voice, taking that other point of view, letting that other larger, stronger, quieter life come flowing in.
And so on, all day. Standing back from all your natural fussings and frettings; coming in out of the wind.” – C.S. Lewis – from Mere Christianity