A few weeks ago my wife and I enjoyed dinner with some long-time friends — and met some new ones. As the dinner was starting, Taylor, one of our new friends, asked, “Can I ask you three questions?”
I was a little unsure at first, but since I help others network, I was game to play along.
Her questions were:
1. Where did you grow up?
2. What is a favorite childhood memory?
3. If you had all the time and money, what would your documentary cover?
Below, I share my responses to her questions:
Question 1 -- Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Rochester, NY. The first question was easy. Whew!
I then moved on to Question 2, a favorite childhood memory.
Well, it wasn’t the cold and snow. And like any good Rochesterian, I could have said grocery shopping at Wegmans. Yes, I know that sounds crazy, but if you know Wegmans, then you understand.
I was honestly having a little difficulty with the question. I wanted to share something unique. Unfortunately, nothing was jumping up and I began to feel stuck. I could have said playing baseball, cycling, mini golf, or bowling, but that didn’t seem cool enough. (Yes, I was judging my own childhood and a viable option was bowling. I grew up in Rochester, what can I tell you? Heck, I had my own bowling shoes.)
But then it hit me. I shared my memories of skipping stones.
Huh? I know, it doesn’t seem cool on the surface, but it is. And I earned points for uniqueness. But before you judge, hear me out.
As a kid, I spent a lot of time near or on Lakes Ontario and Canandaigua. Our vacations included trips to Lake Winnipesaukee or relaxing near the pond at my grandmother’s rustic New Hampshire farmhouse.
But in spite my closeness with water, I never fell in love with water skiing, boating, or fishing. I never got my sea legs. Instead, I preferred to stay on the shore. In hindsight, I guess it was the start of my valuable “alone zone” ritual.
I still love the competitive search for the perfect rock that could dance on the water’s surface, sending energy ripples in its wake.
With the right snap of my wrist, the rock would jump across the surface. A bad toss would remind me of the saying, “Sink like a stone.”
Much like skipping rocks, life is defined by how and what we toss across the pond.
As an executive and team coach, I know that leaders and work teams create their energy and productivity by the choices they make in five key areas: Spiritual, Mental/Emotional, Physical, Social, and Financial.
At a recent meeting of “The 1% Mastermind”, (a group I lead with fellow coach Dayne Gingrich) we discussed the importance of prioritization and choice. Up front, I will tell you that the members of this mastermind do not lack energy or productivity. They will more times than not choose to do more, try more, be more. It’s in their DNA.
They, like so many entrepreneurs and leaders, have ample opportunities to do more stuff. The drive to accomplish more is second nature to them. However, a question was asked that paused our session.
"What are you going to put on your NOT TO DO list?”
The value of busy over focus is a powerful, socially derived limiting belief. However, that type of faulty thinking fuels the urge to always hustle and grind as we try to turn over every stone. But the opportunity costs of this belief don’t serve us well in the long run.
Strategy in the choices you make is a yes-and-no proposition because there’s an opportunity cost to every choice you make. As productivity expert Michael Hyatt says, “Every yes is a no, and every no is a yes.”
And I see this play out in too many organizations and with too many leaders and teams.
· They say yes to every customer type, but no to having time to build trusting relationships with their most valuable customers.
· They say yes to weed whacking every project, but no to delegating and developing others.
· They say yes to fewer hours of sleep, but no to being as healthy as possible.
Yet, with different choices come different outcomes that make more energy and productivity possible.
· You can say yes to the being influenced and no to an “addiction to being right.”
· You can say yes to reflecting, strategizing, and innovating alone time, and no to spinning your wheels.
· You say can yes to prioritization and no to multitasking
Yes, there are great tools and apps out there to help you maximize your energy and productivity. I love using Nozbe, Freedom, and FitBit. But they can’t help you until you make a few foundational, strategic choices: What do you want to throw out? What can you skip across the pond? How do you wish to be?
If you want to see rock skipping in action, check out this video. I guess there’s a YouTube for everything. It has close to 60,000 views. Crazy?!?
If you want to show up with more energy and productivity at work and in life, give me a buzz.
As for question No. 3, I will leave that one to you: If you had all the time and money, what would your documentary cover?
You can answer the question in the comments section below.
If you wish to receive my weekly leadership tip to enhance your energy, success, and productivity, then send a text to 44222 and type in SHIFT4SUCCESS. I guarantee that it will help make work suck less.
Look for my book, SHIFT, about my near-death accident, recovery, and lessons learned in the spring of 2017.