“The trouble is, you think you have time.”
― Jack Kornfield, Buddha’s Little Instruction Book
This isn’t a call for acting with reckless abandon. This is a call for intentional prioritization; for doing what matters most given the limited time we have on this earth and the fragility of our bodies. For some, this means quitting a job, dropping everything and traveling the world, touring the country in a van or living off the grid. I often admire, through Instagram’s small window, those on that path as they heed Jack’s words. But that is not our path right now.
For those of us on the path of service, the call is to do work that matters most, to us and to the world. No matter where we are in our career, this is a call to take on our daily tasks like today may be our last. If we had one day left, what work would matter most? What could we leave behind for our employees, colleagues or clients so that they can continue to do work that matters most?
This is a call to take on our work from a place of purpose –with focus, discipline and passion– while enjoying the ride with all its ups downs and spinning around– because it may be our last. This is a call to take the time to admire this awe-inspiring world and our ability to create something from nothing, like gods, and watch that creation take flight. Or watch that creation crash and burn, learning valuable life lessons that help to illuminate foundational principles on how this mind-blowing universe works. And while today may be our last, this is a call to always take time to sharpen the saw so the next day may be as purposeful, productive and rewarding if we are lucky enough to have the opportunity again.
At the tactical level this is creating the habits and rituals that structure our days, weeks, months and years. This can be applied personally to design our lifestyle or, organizationally, to design our company culture. The wisest that have ever lived speak of our lives like water: They can take many different shapes and paths. The vessel we put them in is what defines the form and behavior.
So, we must design the structure that best serves us, the individual or collective-organizational us. What is our morning ritual? What gets done first when we sit down to work? How are Mondays different from Wednesdays, or are they the same? Do we have daily scrums or weekly touch-base meetings or both? What do we do at the end of months, or on birthdays, or in the summer?
P.S. This is a message to myself, I’m just sharing it with you.