Trade Urgency for Intentionality

Society moves at a lightning pace.  Busy is the “in-thing”, and it is going to steal your awesomeness.  Busy-ness is unfocused productivity.  Doing a lot of the wrong things doesn’t make you effective or productive.  The goal, after all, is to have the power to achieve your awesomeness whatever it may be (insert stop killing your dream), and still be happy.  Stephen Covey illustrated the importantance classifying tasks in a simple manner and knowing how to protect your time from wasteful, non productive things.  His quadrants:

English: Mount Rainier

English: Mount Rainier (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

1. Urgent/Imporant: crying baby, kitchen fire, etc.

2. Not Urgent/Imporant: exercise, planning, etc. (this is where your awesomeness lives)

3. Urgent/Not Important: interruptions, calls

4. Not Urgent/Not Important: Busy work, time wasters.
Living intentionally isn’t about blocking out interruptions or never wasting time.  Words with friends, crossword puzzles, and farmville are not wasting  time if you are choosing do these things rather than doing them at the expense of things that matter to your awesome.  There is no magic bullet here.  Every once in a while, you have to get back to basics, and evaluate your path.  Pay attention to these 3 simple things to assess your ability to focus and play in the urgent zone.

1. Define your Awesome:  What are you trying to accomplish.  Thinking with “the end in mind”, what is “the end”?.  Without this, you are wandering around aimlessly and everything will seem urgent.

2.  Awareness of where your time and focus is being spent:  Once you have defined your goals, you have a guiding light toward where the majority of your time and focus should be spent. You must be willing and able to evaluate your time and focus.  If this seems foreign to you, seek some coaching from a personal coach.  The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, The Effective Executive, and Getting Things Done, are great places to start.  They provide classic tools for managing your actions.  How much of your bucket is full of quadrant 2 activities? These are the things that will get you to your awesome.

3.  Making adjustments:  The thing about YOU becomming awesome is that you are blazing your own trail.  Sometimes a seemingly perfect path ends at a cliff and you must turn around and find another way forward.  You may feel trapped on your current path.  Your bucket may be filled with Job pressure, kids’ activities, traffic, ailing relatives, etc. Recognizing these things is only the start.  A small percentage of people get to this point, an even smaller percentage do something about it.  Doing something about it may be as simple as car pooling to soccer practice with anoother parent.  This will open some time for you to work on quadrant two activities.
 Relentless forward movement, however small, toward a defined goal, has a remarkable way of leading to success and accomplishment.
Urgency and focus grow and decline inversely.  Staying ahead of deadlines and intentionally protecting your focus time will keep more of the important things in quadrant 2.  You will get more done at a higher level.  Perfection is not the goal.  You define the goal, now do it!
Rocco

Are You Failing at Authenticity?

Buzz words are all the buzz these days.  Some are fleeting phrases for a moment in time, while others have staying power and are truly profound.  This isn’t a post on phrases however,  or on the english language.  This is the power one word has over me, and how Jamie hit me over the head with it.  Words hurt, and words mean something.  Authenticity is one of those heavy words that leave a mark when they hit you; like a piece of plywood. While this word strikes me in particular, it is something I have thought about and challenged myself with for a long time.  To be authentic is to be what?  This blog is new to the world, but the ideas shared here on positivity and forward thinking are not new to me.  Not to say I don’t have moments of authenticity failure.  Last night I had a minor financial setback involving my mortgage and a mistake Citibank made with my escrow impound increasing my house payment from mildly uncomfortable to squirming in my seat uncomfortable.  I had about 45 minutes of authentic failure.  I panicked, went immediately to worse case and lost all focus on what was really in front of me.  I fell apart for a few minutes. My beautifully talented fiance’ challenged me.  She questioned if I am actually living the life I write and talk about (imagine that 99% of my material is yet to be blogged-she knows way too much).  Am I full-of-shit?  She stopped me in my tracks.  The Merriam-Webster definition of authenticity  in  this context is simply “not false” or to be “real”.  Authenticity  does not require perfection or even a perfect adherence to one’s own teaching.  The intention (another great word), drive, and desire to live our own teaching must be present.  Credibility can stand challenged if we are falling too short of our own teaching, but “less than perfect” is not “too short”.

The Authenticity  Gremlin can rear it’s ugly head if we feed it our doubt and allow it to grow.  We must certainly challenge ourselves to live our own message.  A pastor mired in adultery, a police officer addicted to drugs, or a teacher cheating on state testing are not areas of “just falling short”.  These are great failures of behavior.  Asking them to be perfect, though is impossible.  The last time I checked, the only sinless person to ever live was nailed to a cross 2000 years ago.  That’s not to say they can’t recover their authenticity. Trust may be challenged and even un recoverable.  Trust is earned and received while authenticity is lived and given away.  Those of us with a message to share (i’d argue that’s actually all of us) will certainly be held to a higher standard when it comes to our message.  You will be your own drill sergeant.  I read my own material because I learn from my own words. I am authentic as long as I share my imperfections.  Living fully with our passions, dreams, and needs/wants, is not easy.  If it was, I wouldn’t have a purpose to write.  You will hit bumps in the road on the way to “dreamville”.  Keep in mind these 3 things along the way to stay authentic:
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1.  Has your message changed? The methods and tools may need to adapt and change, but the message should remain the same.
2.  Do you believe your message NEEDS to be heard or are you trying to SELL something? Intentions are important and dreams are seldom “get rich quick schemes”.
3.  Are others sharing similar messages?  Usually this is a good thing.  Sometimes being the first to share a message is great. but many times you’re the only one sharing it because it’s right (timing may also be a factor) If, after challenging yourself and your message, you discover its uniqueness is what makes it valuable, then by all means, share it with the world.  You’ve done the homework to quiet the Gremlins in your head and are ready to lead the charge.
    You know your true authenticity.  Check in with yourself.  Utilize a system to evaluate your progress on a monthly or quarterly basis.  I like Getting things Done (GTD) or Seven Habits.  The point is to take a look at your map every once in a while to make sure true authenticity.
Rocco De Leo
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