10 minutes for me? You’re kidding right? I can’t find time to complete all that I need to do on a daily basis and you are suggesting taking 10 minutes for me?
My day starts at 5:30 a.m., as I’m putting in a load of laundry, ironing my clothes, and throwing lunches at the kids so they won’t miss the 7:30 a.m. bus. I grab my purse, briefcase and laptop. Double-check to ensure I have my cell phone, earpiece and keys to the car. I have a fun filled day of conference calls and an over-quota email inbox. I leave the office to drop the kids at “this rehearsal” and “that practice”, attend a meeting, circle back around to collect everyone and dash back home to prepare a well-balanced meal…in between answering social study homework questions and proofing book reports. (And don’t forget the next load of laundry that I started when I came in the door. I’m reloading the dryer now. From the laundry room, my voice reverberates throughout the house, “Take out the trash” and “Do the dishes”. I have said that twice already. Well maybe I can have 10 minutes now. No, the phone rings. I cut the conversation short because I remember that the cell phone and water bill are due. I get online, make those payments, and get caught in email. It’s 11:00 p.m. The news is on and I need to watch the weather but I haven’t washed my face or taken a shower, yet. Then, I’m out of the shower, and “What am I going to wear tomorrow?” I will iron that in the morning, I have to lie down. It’s 11:45 p.m. as my head hits the pillow…no 10 minutes for me.
Does this sound ever so familiar? Maybe you are in a classroom of 20 or more students or constantly answering the phone, filing and scheduling meetings. Or maybe you are attending a board meeting and running from courtroom to meeting room back to the courthouse. Regardless of your position, you are “turned on” from morning until evening. Whether its parent meetings, board meetings or web conference calls, your game face is the permanent display.
The western world (the United States) is constantly in motion; we are the only culture that doesn’t take time out. Most European countries have more holidays and certain times of the days the city shuts down. Merchants close shop and have tea and eat lunch with their families. Business resumes two hours later. When a U.S. professional is performing business in those countries, the laws of the land are adhered to and the employees continue to harvest that benefit; even if the company they work for is of U.S. origin.
We have settled for this lifestyle: challenging and pushing ourselves to achieve the ultimate American dream of success. However, if we don’t slow down we will find ourselves unable to enjoy life’s achievements. We will only end up with a premature head stone with a quote of what we should have accomplished.
Several years ago, I had the opportunity to hear a very empowering message by Dr. Margaret Douroux. This tantalizing message asked the rhetorical question, “What’s in your dash?” In other words what would you have accomplished? Would it be worth listing? Would it be worth sharing with the rest of the world? Did you make a difference? What will be your legacy? Or was your head in the sand of corporate success?