I’m going to be in Sedona this week for the third summit this year for Aubrey Marcus’s brainchild, the Fit for Service Mastermind. The last two summits have been life-changing for me and I am looking forward not only to spending time with and learning from the extraordinary fellow members, coaches, and Aubrey Marcus, but I’m also looking forward to taking some time for myself to recalibrate.
I have been thinking a lot lately about time and how it can so easily slip through fingers when we aren’t cognizant of it. In the past few months, 5pm seems to come more quickly than it used to if I don’t stay aware of what I am doing and why I am doing it. Nod to Jack Kornfield.
When I was younger, I wasn’t nearly as aware of the passage of time and not as concerned about it, as it seems to go with everyone right? I’d run around like a machine, doing things that mattered, but usually not enough to fill all of my time. I did not yet know the fine art of prioritization.
One of the reasons I have been thinking about time so much recently is because I’ve always had a theory about how much time it takes to follow a dream, to be successful in work we love, to be creative, or whatever it is that rocks our souls. I have found that in order to do an exceptional job at something, I need what seems like an inordinate amount of time, much more than I imagined. I need time to think. It was a limiting belief of mine: I didn’t have the time to produce great things. But I do. Yet you know what that requires? Strong boundaries and an internal mute button. Fortunately, I’m nearly 50 years old so I’m getting those buggers in line.
When I was a kid, I used to pride myself on how quickly I could complete a task. Now, I pride myself on how much time I was able to give to it. If I rush something, I miss so much. Indulging in the thought process of work is a lovely labyrinth that uncovers so many cool things when we give ourselves the time.
It was when I worked in Bioterrorism for LA County that I first heard the phrase “mission creep.”Definition: a gradual shift in objectives during the course of a military campaign, often resulting in an unplanned long-term commitment.
Mission creep is bad and very challenging to notice when it is happening. Suddenly you find yourself spread too thin, incapable of giving the time and resources you should be giving to your life’s work and if we don’t catch it, if it continues for too long, then we are royally screwed.
This is a soul killer. What terrifies me about mission creep is that I believe it can hold us back from living the lives we are capable of, from our purpose and meaning. And that freaks me out.
I read this quote by Dwight D Eisenhower many years ago and it stuck with me: “Plans are worthless, but planning is everything.” It is in the planning where we go down into the murk, where we follow the labyrinth of possibilities, where we find ideas that we didn’t know we had. And this takes time.
I have a good friend whose role in a large organization is planning. Her job always seemed so boring to me (sorry WS). I thought, “Leave planning to the risk averse folks. Me? I’m going to let life happen.” You know what the result is when we don’t plan? Mission Creep. Now I have huge respect for WS.
This week in Sedona I’m going to pull out my wrinkled map and blue pencil. Things have changed since I last drew up my map which means I need to do some honing. My intention is to come home with an edited version of a plan that may be worthless, all the while knowing that the magic happens in the planning itself.