I’m going to come clean, and tell you something I’m not very proud of. And it’s this: one of my most used phrases is "I'll just...".
There, I said it. And you’re probably thinking “OK, and…?”.
I agree, on the face of it, it doesn’t sound like something to be too hard on yourself about. Until, that is, you stop and think about the effect of having “I’ll just…” as one of your most used phrases.
I'll just finish this, and then I'll take a break. I'll just get to the start of the next session, and then I'll hang out with the kids. I'll just make those few calls, and then I'll spend some quality time with the family.
Good intentions that, if you are anything like me, virtually never work out quite the way you hoped?
And it doesn't work out the way you hoped because there's always something else to do. The list never gets shorter, and for every item you complete, two more appear. Before you know it, "I'll just do this and then I'll take a break" becomes "I'll just do this and then I'll do this and, when I've done that, I'll just do...".
I've lived and worked that way for years. And, as I've done so, I've known that my family, and I, have paid a price. But I've always found a way to justify that price: it needs to be done, I have to earn money for us to live, once I get this done then things will be different and we can really start to live.
Always tomorrow. Never today.
The trouble is, by finding a way to validate putting all my energy into working rather than living, I was simply justifying a lie: that the work I do is more important than the person I am.
I prioritised doing above being and becoming. And that is back-to-front.
The realisation that I had been justifying a lie, and that I had got my priorities totally out of whack truly hit me a few years ago, when I was forced to contemplate my own mortality, fallibility and vulnerability.
In that moment, as I digested what I had been told, and what it could mean, I found myself contemplating what the future may hold.
That process made me realise that my days were numbered and what has gone I would never get back. I’d always thought I’d have tomorrow to put things right and get my priorities back on track, but facing my own mortality brought it home that the only certainty I had was the present.
It made me realise that, as important as pursuing my vision and bringing my revolution to life was, the things I had been neglecting, for the best part of 15 years in my pursuit of that revolution - my wife, my kids, my own emotional and spiritual growth - mattered more than anything I could do or create.
If I’m, honest, I’d always known that, but I'd never truly appreciated its significance.
You see, whether you are pursuing a cause, fixing what’s broken, dragging the world that should be into the world that is, or simply putting a roof over your head, food on the table and fighting to make ends meet, finding that balance in your priorities is hard.
Your body, mind and spirit are invested in what you are creating or sustaining and maintaining. And you find yourself torn between competing demands: if you spend time simply being and becoming, you take from what you are doing and creating.
It can feel like a no-win situation. But, while the work you do is important, the life you live - who you are and who you become - is paramount.
So here's what really hit me as I found myself in that place of contemplation a few years ago: how much more could I do, and create, if I am and become all of who I am meant to be?
How much richer will my revolution - the thing I am creating - be if it is the product of me, rather than the other way around?
What if, instead of pursuing a definition of my life that is founded in what I produce, create or build, I focus on pursuing a definition that is founded in my character, and the very essence of who I am?
I began to think about all of the people I know who have produced and created great things, and I realised that they each have one thing in common: they are men and women of great character. They are men and women, the narrative of whose main story is not what they did, or do, but who they were, or are.
For those men and women, creation is simply a by-product of their being.
And maybe that's not just a lesson for me, maybe it's for all of us who seek to disrupt the status quo and live our real lives. For all of us who strive to be the best version of who we truly are.
What would it be like if we made being, and becoming, the fullness of the men and women we are meant to be our main focus, and allowed the things we do, the things we build and create, to flow from there?
I think it would be amazing. How about you?
And, to help you move more towards being and away from a focus on doing, we created the Live a Big Life Academy. YOu can join for free, and get access to a ton of free resources including podcasts, webinars, video lessons, mini-courses, guides and tools. Simply visit www.liveabiglife.com/free-membership and sign up. And, like I said, it’s all free.