As most of you know, my wife and I welcomed our first child into our family recently and to say that little Charles has changed my perspective on things in life would be an understatement. In just a few short weeks this guy has started to enlighten me in many ways. One such way is highlighted in the title of this week’s blog. Since my son was born, I don’t want to put him down. It’s weird, but I feel like my wife carried him for 9 months and now it’s my turn. This new posture has forced me to do many daily activities, you guessed it, one handed. Take writing this blog for instance. I’m on my phone in my Word app typing with my thumb. This is terribly inefficient but it’sSaturday so I’m going to let it slide. If I had a picture of myself in the chair, holding my son, and working on this bit, I believe many parents would relate, if not to this exact scene at least to the feeling it embodies. Trust me when I say, I have zero advice to give on how to be a parent and work a successful career; I’ll write that in 18-24 years. Instead, what I’d like share with you are some thoughts about what this picture really means.
Responsibility: Responsibility comes in many forms, but by definition, responsibility is having a duty to deal with something or someone. Think about it this way, if someone is responsible for a project then we are trusting they will complete said project according to their instructions. If we say that someone IS responsible, then we are recognizing that they generally act, react, or manage themselves in a way deemed appropriate. Basically, we are saying that responsibility is an exercise in prioritization, i.e. my reputation is worth more than the consequences of acting in a certain way. Just because I now have more responsibility at home and one less arm does not mean I can be less responsible to my clients. It means that I have to get better at prioritizing and more careful in the responsibilities I take on.
Desire vs. Require: Sticking with the image of my holding my son, let’s be honest. He is asleep, like zombie sleep. I just dropped a leather bound Bible on a hardwood floor and he didn’t even flinch. The point is that there is no requirement that says I have to hold him. I could put him down in his swing and he would be none the wiser. I am holding him because I desire to. I think that many of us fall into this category with certain responsibilities. We want to go the extra mile and we certainly don’t want to say no to anyone. We are overly accommodating perfectionists, but we are missing something. Every decision made has a trade-off. Going the extra mile in one area may prevent going the extra mile in another area. For more on this topic, read any of the thousands of books on work life balance. As your responsibilities increase you will need to get better at weighing the trade-offs.
L.E.P: Love, Energy, and Passion: As I have gone back to work after Charles was born, I have re-evaluated everything we have discussed in these terms. What/who do I love the most? I have a finite amount of energy daily so how do I distribute that? How do the answers of the previous two questions overlap and pull me away from my passion? My passion in this life is to see people reach their true potential and win with money. No, not get rich, although I think that is a side effect of winning with money, but instead have a healthy understanding of the impact they can have on the world with money and talents. My passion now includes my son, but answering those questions has made it very clear that I need to become more efficient and eliminate some distractions in my life. If I want to have the impact I desire and be able to hold my son every morning, I will have to trade something else for that and I’m pretty sure I am going to have to learn to say “no”.
By this point, my thumb is numb, but I hope it was worth it. We have to be careful that as our responsibilities increase we do not use them as excuses. It would be very easy for me to change my expectations for myself now that I have more responsibility but what example would that set for Charles? “Oh son, as life gets harder just lower your standards so you don’t feel bad about yourself”. NOT!!! Focus, prioritize, evaluate, then get moving.
Caleb Bagwell/Employee Education Specialist
John Maxwell Certified Leadership Coach
Grinkmeyer Leonard Financial
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1950 Stonegate Drive / Suite 275 / Birmingham, AL 35242