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Who Is in Your Driver's Seat?

Last week I wrote about how to measure success when you go from being a “do-er” to a manager of “do-ers.” That got me thinking about what it means to be productive, and I discovered something: I have a love-hate relationship with my to-do list. I love crossing things off. I love getting things done and experiencing the satisfaction that comes from finishing something from putting away the laundry to updating transactions in Quickbooks. A to-do list gives me direction for the day and provides an avenue to feel like I have been productive. 

But. I also can be a slave to my to-do list, as I describe here in my post about the Queen of Shoulds. My to-do list has the potential to make me feel like I never get a break because it never ends; it can turn life into a constant grind. 

I suspect I am not the only one who feels this way, whether it’s occasionally or all the time, we can all feel the pressure to get stuff done. I know I have felt like my relationship to time, productivity, accomplishment and achievement can drive me obsessively — rather than me driving. I can get caught up in the expectations of others, real or imagined, such that I’m constantly trying to meet the expectations of who I think I’m supposed to be or what I’m supposed to do according to society, friends, family, bosses, coworkers, etc. Which means that when I’m trying to interpret these expectations (whether they exist or not), I’m allowing a whole bunch of other people to be in the driver’s seat. Well. That’s a little backassward, don’t you think?

So this idea occurred to me today. It is not new, but it struck me differently today when I was thinking about my day. The thought was: A life is measured by how much love there is in it. What if I measured my life by how much love I give, by how much love I cultivate in the world, and by how much love I allow myself to receive love from others? Oh, and of course, how much love I give to myself. 

If this idea of creating, giving and receiving love truly governed my decisions, what would be different about how I approach my day? So, I started asking myself these questions:

  • Who can I love today?

  • How can I show my love to them? (and keep in mind, sometimes that might mean leaving them alone, lol)

  • How can I show love to myself — and what does that actually look like?

Today, it looks like:

  • Getting up early so that I do not have to rush. I have quiet time to drink coffee, write, read something inspirational and hang out with the dog. 

  • It means acknowledging the issues that are creeping into my mind and bothering me and using my “Golden Key” practice on them. 

  • It means blocking off time on my calendar for the things I want to do: yoga, walk the dog, making dinner, etc., so that I don’t try to fit more into my day than I actually have hours in the day to do.

  • Finding a new recipe to make for dinner that sounds really yummy. 

  • Reaching out to someone who is struggling. 

  • Practicing a random act of kindness like leaving an unexpected treat on someone’s doorstep — a cookie, flowers — or sending a postcard snail mail. 

  • Calling someone I haven’t spoken to in a long time. 

  • NOT going on social media. 

I know we often work and have obligations because we love our families and want to take care of them…but those things do not always make us feel or generate love. What could you do today that would generate that feeling? 


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