The other day as I was reviewing my upcoming calendar I realized I was double booked on a few days and so I began to try and determine if there were meetings I could possibly reschedule or delegate to someone else.
In my head I was really focused on rescheduling the meetings because they all seemed very important and of course I felt like I was the only one who could possibly lead the meetings and deliver the best possible outcome. And so I was staring at the large dry erase calendar in my office that was filled with appointments as my wife came by. She had asked what I was doing and so I told her. Her immediate reply, too immediate if you ask me, was this: "You sometimes think you are more important than you really are." Ouch, and it still stings a little as I write this, because it's true.
The truth hurts sometimes.
She pointed out that I am too quick to want to handle everything and be involved in every opportunity and initiative and that I needed to trust the very capable, smart and talented people on my team. Maybe she overheard some coaching I had done or read something I had written about delegation in the past and was now serving me a heaping helping of my own advice.
How about you? Are you that important? Are you the only one who can get the job done or are there people, processes and technology that you can rely on to take some of the burden or pressure off of your busy schedule? Big question, right? It's a big question because we first have to determine what is truly important to us and what our priorities really are.
Every one of us will have the order of our own priorities. Some will consider relationships with their spouses, children, and close friends as first on their list. Others will place their emphasis on their faith. And there are many of us that prioritize our lives and schedules around our work. Then there are the folks who seem to have money as the highest on their list of things most important. Based on where we all are at the present moment our priorities could easily shift as each of the above could be increasingly more important at any given season of our lives.
As I reflected on my own importance or lack thereof, I realized I could delegate a couple of the meetings and avoid a trip or two here at the end of the year. There are people who can complete the task effectively and productively without me and I can focus my energy and time of other things, things that do matter most. Just like many of you, work and money are a priority for me, too. But perhaps I have deluded myself and have made excuses that both were so important that I have accepted placing my family and faith behind work and money. Big mistake.
There is a framed poster on my office wall with one of my favorite quote and reminders by Forest E. Witcraft that reads, "A hundred years from now it will not matter what my bank account was, what sort of house I lived in, or kind of car I drove ... but the world may be a different place because I was important in the life of a child."
There it is in big print on my wall, right in front of me. I have to pass by it every day I come in and out of my office. And there are pictures of my children, my family, and my friends all over my office, once again right in front of me. I have memories of others so very important in my life embedded in my mind and held in my heart, not only right in front of me but a part of me. Yet, I had to be reminded that maybe, just maybe I am really not that important after all.
Now please don't take this out of context. I know we are all important in the lives of other people in both our personal and my professional life. I get that. But I think I will accept the fact that sometimes I can allow myself to simply be ... not that important.
I would love to hear all about your priorities and importance, or lack thereof at firstname.lastname@example.org and I hope that this will be a better than good week for you.
Michael Norton is a strategic consultant, business and personal coach and motivational speaker, and CEO of www.candogo.com. He writes a weekly motivational column for the Vail Daily.