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Success Harmony Newsletter
You may relate to the hard-work ethic as well. The one that says you must
put your head down and work steadfastly towards your goals. Whether the
carrot at the end of the stick is a bigger house, a bigger car, a college
education for three kids, or the long-awaited vacation, most of us tend
to be quite driven and responsible. In fact, sometimes too much so.
In my law school days, I was the model student, at least as far as attending
classes was concerned. When it came to doing homework, the discipline
maybe lacked quite a bit but I would never miss a class. I didn't even
dream of doing so. No matter what, it was important to be there. So I
thought. Then one day, a friend asked me if I wanted to join them for
an overnight sailing trip. The weather in the area was beautiful during
that fall season and the idea seemed quite lovely. I asked when this neat
trip would happen.
"Well," my friend said, "I'm fairly flexible with my work
so we're calling in well and taking off on Wednesday morning. We'll get
back Thursday at noon or so. Are you in?" I was horrified. Oh, sure,
there was no roll call. Nobody in my 200 student class would ever notice.
But I just couldn't bring myself to go. It just like I was somehow doing
something very irresponsible if I went. As far as being in class was concerned,
I felt indispensable. My friend just asked me, "what's the worst
thing that would happen if you didn't go for just that one day?"
I stared at him with a blank look suggesting that he wasn't quite connecting,
so he shrugged his shoulders and they set off on their trip. Apparently,
the trip was quite beautiful. They watched the perfect sunset. They fished
for their dinner and cooked it over a fire on the shore somewhere. They
slept squeezed together like sardines, just like you're supposed to do
on a boat. They exchanged memories and they laughed a lot.
They did all of that while I sat dutifully in my law classes. All through
the day, I somehow went through my classes a little differently than all
the other days. I kept hearing the echo of my friend's question, "what's
the worst thing that would happen if you didn't go for just that one day?"
As I listened to my professors lecture about materials that I could have
read about in a book or borrowed from a classmate, I thought that maybe
the most responsible decision was not always the best one. Not for that
one day, in any case. The truth was that there really was nothing that
I could not have made up later. I wished that I chosen differently, as
now I was missing out on memories that I could not make up later just
by going to a library and studying harder.
In The Artist's Way (a lovely book if you haven't seen it before), Julia
Cameron gives an assignment for each week. The assignment is to have a
few hours each week "just for the self". She calls this concept
"the artist date" and the purpose of that time is to go and
do something fun. Not something that has to get done, but something that
just sounds like it would be a cool thing to do. Sit down and paint each
toe nail a different colour. Go hug a few trees. Take a nap under the
sun. Sneak into a junior league baseball game and cheer for some little
kid you don't even know. Whatever. Something to reconnect with the idea
that, even though there is a big part of life where we need to be focused
and responsible, it is also important to reconnect with the self. When
we don't do it often enough, we get stressed, we snap at the people who
mean the most to us, and sometimes we even get sick.
So why not realize that none of us are hundred percent irreplaceable.
On a while, instead of calling in sick, just call in well. Whether that
means an hour early from work, or an hour away from the kids, the amount
itself doesn't matter as much. What matters is that, once in a while,
we realize that it is OK just to stop for a few moments and smell the
roses. More than likely, the world will still turn even if we take a break
for a bit. Remember, there will be a day for all of us when the candle
burns out and, no matter how much we still had on our to-do list at that
time, we just won't get it done. And it won't matter. If it's really that
important, someone else will pick up where we left off. If it wasn't that
important to begin with, why stress about it while we're still alive?
Taking a bit of time off here and there actually makes us more productive,
Now for the legal disclaimer: Nothing in the above should be construed
as advice to recklessly abandon your work and tell your boss to fly a
kite. That's not calling in well, that's calling for the unemployment
line. Just think of how to call in well - without lying, without letting
your work pile on to others, and while creatively figuring out and negotiating
how you can still get done what needs to be done, just on a schedule that
allows you to fit in a bit of the fun you so deserve.
Phew. Now, that being out of the way, when will be YOUR time to "call
in well" from your life and recharge your batteries? And maybe even
more importantly, what fun memories will you be creating in your time
Happy well days, sunshine and smiles,
"I make the most of
all that comes and the least of all that goes."
ask yourself what the world needs - ask yourself what makes you come alive,
and then go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come
"Being miserable is a
habit; being happy is a habit; and the choice is yours."