Without debating who they might be, we toss that phrase in the air – without realizing, in its saying, we are acknowledging that we must feel the same way about ourselves.
That what is, is.
That what is, is OK.
Yet, universally, we don’t like some parts of our life/work/play/family/business – and our view is about as analytical as debating which kind of wax polishes a shinier apple.
Change, self-change, self-help – is about as successful as dieting.
Book sellers do well by that phenomenon, but few people change much, if at all.
I like the wisdom in these Jim Rohn words:
“If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.”
My view – it makes dieting, getting in shape or giving up an addiction seem easy by comparison.
I’m being dramatic, not for literary effect, but because it really is change.
Gut-wrenching isn’t the word because that implies wretching or kvetching.
It isn’t about gut reaction, because that is so ingrained.
Not trusting my gut-reaction (trained, tried and true) but trusting new process I’m learning which is that the gut, the convention, the norm, the tried-true – is very often very wrong.
We trust habit more than truth, trust easy and smooth more than fact, we trust convention without regard to whether the numbers add up.
Hard to see so many things as anti-gut, anti-usual, anti-typical – but I know it is right.
Not for everyone.
Just for me.
Charting new paths to follow always looks great on paper or in a cloud-gazing sunny afternoon.
Sticky notes, flip charts riddled with great ideas, initiatives and policy changes – those are the product of the workshop.
We’ve all sat in those for an evening or a weekend, charting paths for new organizations or for righting-the-ship for ones which have sailed off course or run aground.
Now – have a workshop on your life, both personal and professional.
Have it with a committee of one.
Have it in your head.
Have it drive you.
Make it drive you.
Drive it. Own it.
Commit to it ~ rather than saying I’ve chopped things, or going to chop some things or uttering self-serving platitudes like I re-prioritized.
That’s not change.
That’s procrastination-shuffling, not change.
Choosing change in a classroom or while reading a book on a plane – those are easy.
Actually implementing dramatic life-altering change is another matter, requires a cleaver and sledge-hammer though parts of my brain prefer a pen-knife and whittling …
Some things from ‘old Mark’ must stay.
Eat, sleep, brush teeth.
Shower, dress, walk dog.
But beyond ablutions, what do we really have to do?
I’ll keep reading daily newspapers on my list, though I’m shifting to online slowly – but it is hard to beat newsprint and coffee at the start of each day, especially on weekends …
I’ve recently installed acts of gratitude on my list, put giving on my list, prioritized affirmations on my list. Tools and tasks – to better track time, efforts, results and disciplining myself to stay with what I’ve committed to, and measuring them.
So many time-consuming tasks must meet the axe (unless I can miraculously create the 30 hour day), I’ve found myself wondering what it is like for a coach who has to cut players from a team.
Attached to so many things I don’t want to give up, but realizing performance of the team must come first – which in my case I’ll call my passions, my needs, my desires – then I have to say good-bye to a number of things. Quite a number.
Isn’t as simple as spending a little less time on things to make them fit (I’ve tried that without success many time) but rather chopping things I cannot do, should not do and have no desire to do.
My days are numbered.
My time, finite.
I cannot make more days in my productive life, so if I want more, I have to get more out of the days, out of my hours, than I have before – and still have a life. I’m on the road to realizing that.
Just like everyone else.
So, how can I expect to do everything I dream of if so much of my time is committed to things I can’t abide?
Things I have no passion for, no commitment to, other than a sense of obligation I’ve been the creator of – must either stop or go, launch or be ditched. Clear the decks, make way only for those things worth doing, those things which I can have that tri-fecta of autonomy, mastery and sense of purpose. Three lenses for focus – with the sole objective of getting a little bit better every day.
Hence, Saturday became edit-day.
When I first saw that magical/scary phrase a few weeks ago I instantly liked it.
Knew it was an important message I needed to heed. Rather than write it down, I made it my screen-saver phrase on my desktop.
Every time my screen fades to black, I see Edit Ruthlessly wobble/toggling across my screens – reminder to self, to think on those words, to refresh my thinking about them …
First, as a writer, I hate editors the way fire-hydrants hate dogs.
Recent altercations – or rather interactions – with an editor underscore that point. Of course editors want to make it better, want to make it shorter, want to make it suit their purposes . . .
But what about my purposes? Exactly!
Second, as a busy-day guy already, I’m trying to implement some new practices that I am committed to making part of my every-day(wisdom from that course in Fort Collins) but that is difficult to do. For everything added, something must shrink, be-rescheduled or ditched altogether. As I juggle my schedule to make room for more ‘must-do’ things in my daily life, I realize that requires some things I ‘must-not-do’.
Which brings me back to edit ruthlessly.
This is a weekend of leisure for most people – and it will be for me too, but mostly I’ll be working at some things I’ve set aside time for, projects I’ve not made enough time for which need my attention. And new things – not just from that course – but projects I’ve decided to start.
Which brought me back again to edit ruthlessly.
I spent some time yesterday doing just that – not just on my weekend pile of work staring at me from the mountain that began on the dining room table, not just bits and pieces that glared back at me from their sequential position in the serpentine string around office, dining and living room floors as I spread it all out.
Edit ruthlessly – is that conscious act, or philosophy to ingrain – to install in my brain as part of my operating system?
Making new processes work for me to produce more time for people and things I care most about, making more time to succeed at my chosen profession – management of me – this task is clearly worthwhile but requires re-forming everything.
To fans, friends, colleagues and competitors – don’t worry, I’m not headed to an ashram, heading off some cliff or out to see/sea.
I’m changing right here, right now – oblivious to many.
But I’m not running on the spot either.
Change, real change, isn’t an on the outside thing.
I’ve never been better on Sunday morning.
Or any morning …
P.S.: hmm … what a great day yesterday. Work and play, sunshine and breezes, BBQ (tried out my new Weber grill) and ate too much.
column written/ published from Calgary
morning walk: 13C / 55F, mixed-media sky – some clear, some light overcast, some storm clouds – perhaps a metaphor for life; Gusta’s shaggy shedding behind romped happily finding more smelly things than usual. We trot-walked a bit. Sore heel feeling better today.
For those of you who have been anxiously awaiting the second installment of "The Land Down Under" series, it is now available. "Bella's Big Adventure" is now in print and available from either Amazon.com or sarahbookpublishing.com. E-books will follow shortly. Thanks to everyone who supported me by purchasing "The Four Pawsketeers" which was the first book in the series. I hope you had a chance to read an enjoy. While we are on the subject; for those who did read it could you please e-mail me a short review so that we can include those on the Sarah Book Publishing website. It is still available for purchase through either of the above referenced websites. Thank you for this short interruption in your otherwise busy Saturdays, GW, Bon Weir, TX