Later Will Be Now Before You Know It

execunetselect-man-boy-dressed-upWe have a question to ask you.

But you have to slow down to answer it. Stop scrolling.

Take a moment.

Take a breath.

Knowing what you know now,
having all of life’s experiences thus far behind you,
what would you do differently?

The Present

Why is this important? Because if you are still reading this SRA Update, you’ve got a gift sitting in front of you. Every single person reading this article has this gift in common.

The gift? Is time.

Why is it that the question of “what would you do differently” is most commonly asked following a negative event? A missed opportunity to land a big client, a health scare, the sudden loss of a loved one? Why must it take being jarred out of the routine of life before reflection becomes a prioritization?

The weekend should not be a 48-hour countdown until Monday, and Friday should not feel like the victorious finish line of a marathon. What if instead of being vulnerable to the regrets of the future, we take a moment, take a breath, and decide what we want to do differently – starting today.

The Past

Fill in the blanks:

I wish I would have_________________________
I would have spent less time__________________
I would have spent more time_________________
I would have worked________________________
I would have focused more on_________________
I would have focused less on__________________
I would have worried more about______________
I would have worried less about_______________
I would have cherished______________________

The intent behind this exercise is not to create a laundry list of missed opportunities; holding on to regrets can be a form of self-sabotage. In fact, in many cases it is impossible to have made a better decision at the time; we were doing the best we could with what we had in the moment. But as life’s experiences evolve, so do we. Values change, financial circumstances change, confidence and maturity change. We are meant to grow and outgrow past versions of ourselves. But life moves fast, and the routine of everyday norms can accidentally engage the auto-pilot setting of survival.

Fill in the blanks above for all aspects of a balanced life, including relationships, career, health and financial. Next exercise: take each of the “I would have” statements of the past, and revise them to be your non-negotiables for the future.

The Focus

It is not possible to manage time; it keeps marching forward regardless of what we do. However, our energy is one of the most valuable things we can control. What do you allow to take this most precious asset of yours; who and what receives your focus and your attention? If you ever feel like your energy is depleted but not sure where it went, you may need to focus on the proverbial “apps you have running in the background.” With so much high-tech in our daily lives, it can leave little energy left for high-touch. Consider the following to give yourself more battery life:

  • Give yourself a full hour to start your day before allowing yourself to check email on phone/computer
  • Eat lunch anywhere besides staring at the phone/computer
  • Disable push notifications for social media, news, email, etc.
  • Leave devices in another room during meals and while sleeping
  • Delete certain apps entirely and relegate usage of those apps to a web browser only
  • Switch phone display to grayscale, making the colorful icons less attention-grabbing

Recognize that there is something bigger at play here; there may be a deeply rooted connection as to why the phone ceased to be something that is enjoyable, and instead something you are virtually compelled to use. Connect the feeling behind the activity:

  • Feeling lonely, so time to check social media plan something enjoyable with a friend/family
  • Need something positive to happen at work, so I’ll keep refreshing my email spend time making new possible opportunities happen at work
  • Nervous about all of the chaos going on in the world, so need to check the news again do something that makes life feel less chaotic today
  • Feeling bored, so need a distraction to work on being comfortable spending some time alone with your own thoughts

In a culture that is bombarded with information and stimuli, finding time void of noise can seem inconceivable. However, it is in that void that we are able to tap into the part of the brain that can process thoughts of deep significance. Give your mind the space to take all of the information it’s received, and make use of it in important ways.

Instead of a fear of feeling bored, consider instead a failure to appreciate the repercussions of not being bored enough.

Later will be now before you know it. It’s time to value the gift of time.

Karen Schmidt

Karen Schmidt

Karen Schmidt is the Managing Director of Kaye/Bassman International, Next Level Exchange, and Sanford Rose Associates®, consulting with search firm owners who have a greater vision of growth, hiring and training. She is a frequent speaker and facilitator at continuing education seminars in the areas of recruiting, sales execution and performance development.

Karen graduated from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas with a degree in General Business. Karen was recognized by the Dallas Business Journal's “40 Under Forty,” a list of rising young leaders in the Dallas area.

Finding People Who Make a Difference: Executive Search Review has recognized the totality of the Sanford Rose Associates® network as being one of the Top 10 Search Firms in North America with 125+ offices worldwide. To learn more about how we can support your professional and organizational growth, please reach out to your Sanford Rose Associates® executive search consultant today.

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