My big wake-up call (when I finally started to "live" my life) came in the form of a piece of pizza.
Pretty glamorous, huh? Some people get burning bushes and "white light" experiences -- I got a piece of pizza.
For most of my adult life, I was always SO BUSY. And I wore this like some kind of twisted badge of honor -- when people would ask me "Hey Chris, how are you doing?"
I loved telling them "I'M SO BUSY!" (in a humble-brag sort of way.)
But here's the truth: I was a mess...
I was NOT focused.
I did NOT feel successful.
No matter how much I tried, I NEVER felt productive.
And I was certainly NOT happy! Not even close...
Basically, I was ALWAYS working. (Sure, I was "busy" but honestly, I had a feeling I wasn't really doing what I needed to do to move the ball forward.)
I was always STRESSED, and guilt was my constant companion (guilt because I was working so much and not doing other things that I wished I was doing...guilt if I ever did anything other than work because I knew I "should be working"...ahhhh!)
On the outside things looked pretty darn good -- but the truth was...
I was on the "treadmill to nowhere".
Now...it would have been bad enough if all of this was just impacting me, but I had a (very patient) wife and a (very precious) young daughter who wanted "more" of me, and who I wanted to be present for.
But I also felt this need to work more. If I didn't, I worried that this "boulder" (of unmet goals and unfinished projects) I was holding on my shoulders, would come crashing down.
And one day it did.
I was working (like always) on a Saturday afternoon. A business I'd been involved in was falling apart, and every hour brought new problems. I was standing in my kitchen -- in the midst of the "World's Most Important Phone Call" -- when my daughter walked in...
She started to ask me something but picked up on the "Not now, I'm busy" vibe that I always seemed to exude. And instead of asking me, she went over to the refrigerator, got out a cold piece of pizza, and moved a chair from the table over to the counter so she could climb up and warm up her own meal in the microwave.
She was just 3-years-old at the time.
I watched all of this, stunned. Not because it was some amazing feat but rather because something hit me like a gut punch...
My little girl thought that "work" was more important to me than she was. What the heck had happened to my life?
I hung up the phone in the middle of my conversation and sat down on the cold kitchen tile.
In that moment I realized it didn't matter how "busy" I was, or how much I was "working," if I was failing the people that I cared the most about -- and ultimately, failing myself -- at the most basic of levels. Right then I knew that...
Something had to change.
That day, and that slice of pizza, marked a new chapter, one where I committed to myself and to my family to finally get my workload, my productivity, and MY LIFE under control.
I was scared. I had no idea how what to do. But I knew I needed to just take a chance and move in the right direction. So I did. I took a "tiny" step and...
I spent the next 6 months on a "journey"...
It wasn't easy. I had to unlearn things held as fact, break and reform habits, and fall flat on my face more times than I care to admit -- but my WHY was so big, none of that mattered.
I was all in, 100 percent committed to finding a way.
As a result of the struggles during that very difficult 6-month journey (and all of the testing/experimenting/trying new things/etc.) Since then, I've learned a lot...and life has gotten pretty darn amazing.
These days, I work a fraction of what I used to. I'm no longer a "walking ball" of stress. I feel motivated when I wake up (about 98% of the time)...and I'm so much more comfortable in my own skin and with what I'm doing...
And my family is happier, MUCH happier.
But what I discovered isn't isolated to me. The lessons learned and systems developed along the way can work for others, too.
As a result of working with all kinds of different folks around the world, I've been discovered patterns and behaviors -- the things that are really holding them back -- and the things that help overcome these obstacles to make lasting, positive changes.
Bottom line: If someone like me could become more productive and happier, ANYONE can.
But you have to be willing to step out into the unknown and ACT -- sometimes before you're ready, before the entire path is clear.
October 1st marked the beginning of the last three months of the year! I want to help you finish this year strong. So, answer this question right now with whatever comes to your mind first:
What would you do if you had two "free" hours each day?
Don't over-analyze your response. Don't judge it. And please, don't hold back. There are no wrong answers.
If you're willing to take this first "tiny step" and answer this question, you've got my respect. Here's all you need to do:
- Leave a comment below and finish this sentence -> If I had two "free" hours each day I would...
Write down whatever came to your mind first (don't judge, don't worry, just write)
This will only take you about a minute to do and you'll feel better for the rest of the day. So...
Do it now. (<- Free productivity advice & motivational coaching in three words! :-)