Monday, October 10, 2011

Your Family, Inc.

How do you currently run your life? I’ve recently been ‘running my life’ a lot more scattered and unorganized than I would care to admit.

It often feels like there’s just not enough time in the day and like I have spread myself too thin amongst all my responsibilities and to-do’s. By the end of the week I’m sometimes left wondering if I’m winning or losing…lol

Alright…most weeks I guess I do I feel like I’m more ahead of the game than the previous week, but by how much I’m not always so sure.

We try to pack so much into our days and weeks that on one hand we can feel accomplished (especially if you truly enjoy “getting things done” and “checking things off the list”)….but on the other hand, it can also feel like we’re just not able to keep up with everything – much less enjoy ourselves.

It’s so easy to get caught up with our current social conditioning; doing things because ‘everyone else’ is; keeping up with the Joneses; or even doing things (good or bad) just out of habit – that it can leave you wondering why you do the things you do. 

If you spent the whole week running around like a crazy person just to get everything done with little or no time actually spent on the things you believe to be important to you, then it doesn’t feel very good, does it?

And unfortunately, that’s kind of how things stay: not very good…unless or until you decide to change things. The problem here is that often, “not very good” isn’t horrible enough to warrant change. I mean we’re getting things done, aren’t we?! We’re showing up to work; we’re making those dinners (and lunches for school); we’re cleaning our houses; doing our laundry; paying those bills; taking our kids to their lessons; volunteering at our kids’ schools…..blah, blah,blah.

And if you look at it from THAT perspective, you might say we’re doing well…

B-U-T….are you also finding time (between all those tasks and to-do’s) to really enjoy life? Are you finding the time for things that are important to you? Maybe it’s connecting with your partner; connecting with your friends (at a level greater than Facebook or Twitter); connecting with yourself - enjoying a hobby; doing that yoga class; learning Spanish; having that lunch or coffee date with your girlfriend; finding time to meditate…or whatever it may be for you.

What it comes down to, is asking yourself if you are getting what you want out of your life. Or put another way…are your current activities in line with you and your family’s mission statement and values?

Family’s mission whhhaaaat you ask? Well, here’s where we can take a page from successful corporations who have answered the questions: (1) What do we do? (2) How do we do it? (3) For whom do we do it?[1]

Most of us don’t give much thought and attention to why we do things we do. Most of us don’t spend much time reflecting upon how things are going (unless of course, things are going terribly sideways). But what’s wrong with giving you and your family a healthy check-up to see where you are at? A mission statement can help you do just that.

By having a family mission statement to refer to – a direction for yourself and your family, you are able to get much more clear on just what sorts of activities are worthy of your time, AND with whom! Future opportunities, obligations and activities can all be evaluated against your mission statement which makes the plethora of decisions we face on a daily basis easier to make.

Gertrude Stein is quoted as saying: “It is awfully important to know what is and what is not your business”. Or, in our context, it’s important to know what it is we are choosing to focus on (and why). (In later posts, we’ll talk more about how important it is to say “no” to some things….to be ok with not taking the world on…and possibly risk people not liking us for it).

Take some time to think about this…in a post later on this week, I’ll give you an exercise to create your own family’s mission statement so that you can get clear on where you want to go, and how you want to get there ;)



[1] http://www.inc.com/resources/startup/articles/20050201/missionstatement.html

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