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Bring Your Vision to Life

November 19th, 2015

Hello, Trailblazer!

It’s Wednesday afternoon and I had planned to finish this by Tuesday evening so it would arrive in your inbox Wednesday morning. Do you ever have a schedule that seems to sneak up on you, pile it on, or just flat out not respect you? That’s the way I see it sometimes!

But I know better. Last month I wrote about The Empowerment Dynamic and how not only people, but also situations and events, can play the Persecutor to our Victim role in the Dreaded Drama Triangle.

Catching myself playing the Victim is a regular practice
I know I’m not really getting mistreated by my schedule, or by Time. I set the schedule and choose how to respond to disruptions. But it’s easy to get pulled into the Victim mindset when many things call urgently for my attention.

Too many great opportunities?
Most of the reasons I’m temporarily swamped are actually good ones on their own. I’m taking an extremely enjoyable course called Make Your Job a Calling through MentorCoach with vocational psychologist Bryan Dik, PhD. Career Counseling was my least favorite course in grad school, below statistics and research design. But new career search models are including meaning, purpose, and transcendent connection. It’s refreshingly enlightened.

I’m also taking a course on Appreciative Inquiry through MentorCoach that I’ve been wanting to take for years. This is the first time it has fit into my schedule. I’m grateful I can finally take it.

Saying it fits into my schedule is a bit of a stretch. I didn’t have anything specifically planned in the hour per week we have class. That part was open. Finding time for the reading and the exercises? I didn’t think about that before signing up. After all, I was excited I could finally attend the course! But now I’m wrestling with when to plan the outside-of-class time. It’s worth it, but it’s a challenge.

And these are just two “on top of everything else” activities on my calendar lately. I have a lot going on in many different areas. I’m grateful for the variety, the exploration, the learning, and the connection with people. But I’m busy!

Saying ‘yes’ is a choice
I realized in a conversation with a friend recently that I wouldn’t want it dialed down too much, just two or three clicks, because I would be bored without having a lot going on. But just above “keeping things interesting” I wind up in overload.

Backing away from viewing myself as a Victim and Time as the Persecutor, I realize how much is really under my control. And I realize that I haven’t been respecting my control, my choices and limitations, and the nature of Time. It’s time for me to repair this relationship. Is it time for you, too?

Managing Your Relationship With Time

When you consider how Time considers you, things can get pretty bleak. Think of the aphorisms and cliches: it marches on, it stands still for no one, and it changes everything. It sees everything else come and go but is unchanged.

Time is ruthless
It’s pretty hard, if not impossible, to have a healthy relationship with something so detached, impersonal, and uncaring as Time.

Here’s the thing. Bit of a spoiler alert here. Our only relationship with actual Time is that we live within it and move through it in one direction at one speed. There is no way to change our relationship with actual Time. Time simply is. It doesn’t care, it doesn’t yield, and it doesn’t compromise.

That’s okay, because our challenge isn’t really with time
The relationship you can manage is with how you perceive Time. That means it’s a relationship with yourself.

The good news is you have a lot of choices in how you relate to yourself. You can consider, evaluate, and even change your mindset, your habits, your mood, and your decisions. Here are 5 tips you can implement to improve the way you manage your perception of Time.

5 Tips For Managing Your Perception Of Time

Everything Takes Longer Than It Takes
Get more strategic about putting things on the calendar. Instead of estimating based on the best-case scenario, plan for scenarios with bumps and detours. Add a few minutes to an event that is hard to estimate. Schedule buffers – blocks of unscheduled time – throughout the day so you don’t wind up booked back to back to back. When overflow squeezes your schedule, the buffer is there for you to flow into so you can get back on track.

We Must Go Slowly, There’s Not Much Time
I thought I heard this line in the movie , but it turns out I read it in a newsletter from someone who saw it on the wall of the Women’s Theology Center in Boston. Apply this counter-intuitive wisdom by carefully planning the details of a demanding, complicated project before you jump into high-speed action. Carefully planned high speed action can be productive. Unplanned high speed action can generate chaos. Take time to check in with your detailed plan as you go to keep you on track.

Respect Your Priorities
Take time to consider relative priorities in detail. 9 on a scale of 1-10 looks slightly more important than an 8.5, but you only notice the difference when you give it careful consideration. Include urgency in addition to importance and rate them separately. 9 on importance with 7 on urgency can be scheduled after an 8 on importance with a 9 on urgency.

You Are Mortal and Finite
You can’t do it all. Your capacities are limited. Your energy, attention, and motivation are going to run low. Set healthy boundaries so you’re not wasting your resources on things that matter less and shortchanging yourself on things that matter most. Be in a position to say ‘yes’ to the right things by saying ‘no’ when you need to.

Treat Yourself With Compassion
People who are oppressed fall into despair and lose hope. People who are loved and nurtured become hopeful and energized. Be a good friend to yourself, not a demanding task master. Care for your physical, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual health.

Application: Schedule time to sit down and look at your calendar for a recently completed day. Write down the things you did that weren’t on the calendar. Compare what you planned to what you accomplished. Notice what showed up and took over. Consider where you could exercise your choice.

Question: Which tip will give you the best result right away? (Of course I encourage you to implement that one!)

There are no easy answers. Living in linear time as finite beings is a limitation. I really don’t like accepting limitations. How about you?

May you be agile – and find the way to accept what is – on your trail.

Take Care,

Stephen Coxsey, MA, PCC
Professional Certified Coach (ICF)
Self Empowerment and Leadership

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About Steve Coxsey

Steve collaborates with his clients to design and implement a customized plan for success, well-being, and fulfillment for themselves and the people they lead. They thrive on a personally meaningful path and instill a culture of thriving wherever they lead.

Steve is a supportive ally to his clients. They are typically people in charge who have to juggle competing responsibilities in a variety of roles. They have a compelling vision of what they would like to create or accomplish and are committed to turning it into reality. To make that happen, they develop the agilities of leadership to be able to empower and direct themselves, craft meaningful work, and inspire others.

Would you like that to be you?

Are you ready for a creative, dynamic, collaborative partnership focused on turning your vision into results?

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