“How many have laid waste to your life when you weren’t aware of what you were losing, how much was wasted in pointless grief, foolish joy, greedy desire, and social amusement—how little of your own was left to you. You will realize you are dying before your time!” Seneca, On the Brevity of Life 3-3b
I’ll never forget the friend who told me that my success was being curtailed by being transfixed by my own story. Despite my achievements, I was focusing too much of my energy of the problems of people and the world around me. Instead of working on my little corner of the universe and working outward, I was attempting to be the rescuer of everyone around me, with very little sense of accomplishment. I eventually realized that my friend was right. Attempting to change the world was wasting my life and energy, and that I would be much more effective focusing on making my own business, life, and local community effective.
I often find this problem in companies and clients that I coach. Previously innovative companies are so stuck in their previous methods and path to success that they are blindsided by companies that are able to target their energy towards building a new model. Individual clients have often let a decade go by before they tackle a major career change because of family, fear of change, or complacency. Years of their lives were wasted that they cannot get back. The important question to ask ourselves is how we doing this in our own lives.
When I see this in my clients, I always asks the following questions:
- Where have you become so consumed by our family, social problems, or celebrity culture that we have forgotten the gifts of our own life?
- Where have you been so focused on the story and culture within your organization that you are missing potential opportunities or threats to your business?
- What are small, actionable steps that you can do today to keep you focused on the task in front of you?
Add this practice to your yearly routine of reflection. It will ensure that you spend more time focused on making your own life, business, and values instead of the agendas of other people surrounding you.