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Live Life Without Timelines

Recently, a friend who is a prominent business person apologized to me for not getting back to me in a timely fashion. But who am I to judge when the time is right for this person to get back to me? That started me thinking about a time when I shut a family member out because I felt I needed to get back to someone because I told them I would. Then I began to think about all of these artificial timelines that we all (especially the over-achievers) hold ourselves to at some point.

Oh my! Right now I am overwhelmed by the ridiculous nature of telling a loved one in your presence that you have to get back to “Bill,” who is three thousand miles away, just because you told him you would respond by 4 pm.

Ok, all of us over-achievers get it and I really don’t need to beat up on us about it. Hey, it’s just the way we are wired. But let’s adjust the kaleidoscope per the “K” blog I published a while back—and ask ourselves what if instead of establishing these artificial timelines and dutifulness (that btw, like the problems of control that the big corporations taught us, the command to hold everyone accountable is just another control) we instead turn it around and keep what’s important to us accountable. For me that’s my wife and my daughter, so what if everyone in business said that same thing: My wife, my daughter, my son, my family trumps everything else from a business perspective. I can’t tell you how many business situations I have been in where I was told family first, but I never really accepted that, and that’s my bad.

So what if I tell you I will get back to you by Friday? Well, I think we all understand that there is always an unspoken caveat, a kind of “I will get back to you on Friday unless life intervenes.” Yep, everyone knows that living life means that we cannot control the day-to-day, and whatever I tell you today could be changed by a heart attack, an accident, a child that needs attention.

So why don’t we just give everyone a big pardon right now and be done with it. We cannot live life—or maybe I cannot live life—thinking that reporting something on a deadline is more important than our family and friends. What if we just say that living life means just that… living live and rolling with whatever cards we are dealt. If we all agree then no problem, right? We cannot control life and if we think we can we’d better check our ego at the door! If I think I can hold anyone to a timeline then I am wrong. I believe I am really speaking to myself here, not you necessarily. I have worked so many years worried about everyone else’s timelines and control dramas at the expense of what’s close to me that I hope anyone reading this will not do the same.

Onward to living life—

AZ

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