It was a leisurely afternoon with friends on a pontoon boat sitting under an awning to protect us from the sun. We drifted slowly across Lake Cachuma chatting about life, listening to music, and eating home made foods.
Another person and I gravitated easily to talking about business as we floated along, a subject we obviously enjoyed. I had met her once before. She runs her own specialty food company. At some point she turned to me all serious and asked, “Could you stop working?” Although she is younger than me by a few years, I guessed she is wrangling with the question for herself.
I responded yes. She then asked what not working would give me, and I surprised myself with the answer. Space.
She quickly interjected, ah yes, more time to do what you want to do. I nodded slowly but that didn’t quite capture what I was saying. Time is something I make. I make time for something because I made a commitment to do it.
A few days later running down a path by the beach, I thought about what I meant by space. And it came to me.
Freedom from a deadline driven life.
Hmmm … space and deadlines? How does that work? After all I do have deadlines.
It works like it did that Sunday afternoon floating on Lake Cachuma. I was not caught up on all my deadlines, and in fact that morning I had to cram in a number of phone calls and emails so I could go and relax and not be distracted by my to do list.
It would have been easy to beg off; instead I made space to enjoy myself. I could have just made time and been distracted. Putting in time instead of the space to be present. Once you get the hang of making more space, you’d be surprised at what you can do with time.
It’s a spiritual space-time continuum.
Join me in playing with 3 ways to have freedom from a deadline driven life:
- Keep your word. Deadlines are commitments. A deadline only exists because you said yes. Freedom comes from being your word and bringing awareness to what you say yes to.
- Watch what you say. Remove the phrase “have to” from your vocabulary. You don’t have to, you choose to. Make the change in your way of speaking about commitments and you’ll create more space in your thinking to actually determine whether you will do something or not.
- Make space for what you want. Notice what you say you can’t do because you don’t have the time. Even in the midst of your deadline driven day, you can make space for something new. I discovered this recently about wanting to exercise daily. I heard on a news broadcast that “sitting is the new smoking.” Yikes! I decided to walk over to Starbucks from my office. A 10-minute walk one way. A cup of coffee and then a 10-minute walk back. I feel so virtuous giving up any excuse that derails my fulfillment. Deadlines create accomplishment of something specific; space creates room for you to consider what’s possible.
Let fulfillment drive your life instead of deadlines. Then deadlines aren’t stressful and are simply a tool to help you manage your commitments and nothing more.
My love goes with you as you work with this Uplifting Moment.