W.I.N. Wednesday: Lessons From Life's Most Powerful Question - Ah, the stories we tell ourselves.
We all tell ourselves stories. Some are actually true. Many however, just make us feel better about the decisions we are making.
You tell yourself, "My family is my number one priority, the most important thing in my life." Yet, you spend 60 to 80 hours a week at work and when you are at home you are engrossed in your work and not paying attention to your family. This makes you uncomfortable so you tell yourself the story that you are doing it for your family so your kids can have the things that you did not and have a better life. Yet, what your kids really want is to spend some quality time with you, not more stuff. You tell yourself that you are seeking that promotion at work so you can better provide for your family. You tell yourself that as soon as you get that promotion you will spend more time at home knowing that the job will in fact require you to spend more time at work. You tell yourself that your family understands that you are on the road and away from home all the time because you are doing important work and 'saving / changing the world'. Yet, they sit at home and wonder why 'the world' is more important to you than they are. In an interview with Darren Hardy for Success Magazine Rabbi Shmuley made a profound statement when he said, "You are no hero if the people who mean the most to you, think the least of you." He related how he was on a mission to save the world, and finally realized it was at the expense of his family. He had to change the stories he was telling himself to justify his schedule. If his family was in fact the priority, he had to prove it through the way he lived his life.
You tell yourself that your health is a top priority for you, next only to your family. Yet, you are sleep deprived, have not made exercise a priority in your life and you eat crap. You then tell yourself you are too busy right now to work out and do not have time to make a healthy lunch or take time out of our busy day to work out. You tell yourself that as soon as this project is done you will get on track, the same story you have been telling yourself every project. You tell yourself you are too busy yet, people who are significantly more productive than you are eat healthy, make time to exercise every day, get adequate sleep and do in fact make their family a priority.
You tell yourself that the people in your unit / team / organization are important to you. You tell yourself you are committed to developing them into better leaders and people. You tell yourself that your job is to be a positive role model and a mentor. You tell yourself you are committed to taking the team / unit / organization to the 'next level'. Yet, you are always away working on some 'special project' or 'special assignment', demonstrating to the people in your team / unit / organization that your story is inconsistent with reality.
We all tell ourselves stories. Some of them are true, some however are fictional stories and some are flat out lies.
What's Important Now? - Truly examine the stories you tell yourself. Be brutally honest with yourself about which ones are true and which are 'cover stories' to allow you to justify behaviours you know are wrong. If you felt uncomfortable reading this, then I am talking to you. I felt uncomfortable writing it and as a result have begun working on changing my behaviours and my stories.
Committed to the pursuit of excellence through Life's Most Powerful Question - What's Important Now?
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to have me speak to your team, your organization or at your conference.