I'll never forget the moment I became a parent. The first time I laid eyes on my son and the warmth it brought to my soul will be forever ingrained in my memory. Like many of you, I consider myself to be driven and hardworking with high aspirations. My career has always meant so much to me, and pushing myself to reach new heights a priority. When I became a parent to one, then two, and finally three children - my priorities began to change.
Sure, I still wanted to do well and gain more knowledge so I could be the best I could be. However, I soon realized I was different in a big way. For me, the immediacy of taking action towards my goals began to take a back seat. Although this didn't happen overnight, I started to catch myself uttering a phrase that became second nature: "I'll get to it later when I have more time." I no longer remembered how to make myself a priority. Sound familiar?
Eventually, "later" turned into days, weeks, months and in some cases - years. I would justify missed self-imposed deadlines with explanations that may sound familiar to you: "Tomorrow will be the perfect time to begin," "I just need to finish this first, and then I can work on that," and my personal favorite, "I work better under pressure."
What do you think happened? Well, it took a major health scare to snap myself back into reality. As I was lying alone in my hospital bed, reeling from the shock of my diagnosis, I started to ponder the reality of running out of time. "Later" no longer seemed so far away.
I remember asking myself, "What the heck took me so long? Why did I abandon the personal goals that meant so much to me? How did I forget my needs?"
Does this resonate for you? Is there something you know you need in your life that you just haven't done? As a leader in your organization, do you understand that your failure to act is feeding into your fear and preventing growth in your company and yourself?
Stop telling yourself lies. Don't rationalize another explanation as justification for not pursuing your goals. Give yourself permission to make you a priority again.
Not sure where to start? Let me help by debunking some of your favorite lies.
Lie No. 1: I don't have enough time.
This is the most common lie we tell ourselves. No time for fitness; no time for catching up with friends; no time for attending that training or reading an inspiring book.
What would happen if you suddenly became very sick? Time would be no problem. You'd somehow find all the time you need to go to treatments and become healthy again. Bottom line, we free up time for what we see as a priority. Give yourself permission to start prioritizing the things that make a difference to you.
Lie No. 2: I'll get to it later.
How do you know later will come? Life is full of surprises and curveballs can be thrown in our direction when we least expect it. If you've committed to doing something, start today. Look yourself in the mirror the next time you use this lie. Basically, what you are really saying is, "It's not going to happen at all."
As Picasso once said wisely, "Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone."
Lie No. 3: It doesn't really matter that much anyway.
You know it, and I know it. We've all said, "it doesn't really matter" when deep down, it matters a lot. When we are afraid of taking action, it's easier to convince ourselves that it isn't important to us rather than face the truth. Don't give up on yourself so easily. It's normal to feel scared and nervous about facing the unknown. Success comes to those who tap into their ability to fight through internal fears and embrace the possibility of failure.
Stop wishing and dreaming about what you would do, "If only ...", and commit to making it happen. Rather than grumble about what you don't have, change up your approach and create opportunities for yourself.
Here's to a work week full of honesty and staying true to you.
Elizabeth P. Cipolla is a regional director and senior consultant with JL Nick and Associates Inc. She is a business communications professional specializing in the areas of leadership training, creative recruitment strategies, employment branding, professional development and executive coaching for nearly 15 years. Her leadership experience comes from various industries including marketing, mass media, apparel, education, manufacturing, nonprofit agencies and insurance. To contact Elizabeth, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit JL Nick and Associates' website at www.jlnick.com.