The Time of Year

Categories: One on One CoachingAuthor:

In one of his workshops at Google, Marshall Goldsmith asked audience members to “close your eyes and imagine you are on your deathbed.” He continued, “now imagine looking around you while on your deathbed – how many of your current day coworkers are there?” People laugh at the insinuation.

When I first heard it, this story really resonated with me. What I took away was that we really should appreciate what we have. Others call this living in the moment.

I learned about this concept when I was in graduate school. Not through a meditation retreat, but by having the experience around every major deadline that, “after the deadline, things will be better.” The problem with this view is that it’s an illusion. How you behave during deadlines and crises is symptomatic of how you deal with things on an everyday basis (the same is true for people in organizations). The point of living in the moment is that you can’t put it on hold.

Two of my best friends right now have terrible cancers. Spending only 30% of your time feeling good has got to be a tough way to live. A good friend passed away on a moment’s notice this time last year. There are lots more stories like this, I’m sure we all have them. These sorts of things give one pause, and make you wonder if you’re using your time to the fullest.

In thinking about this topic, I jotted down some things you might consider:

Are you where you want to be, right now?

Are you on the right sigmoid curve, and at the right spot on the curve?

How much of what you are doing now is important to you? To your family and loved ones? To the company?

What do you have to be thankful for?

Does what you’re doing make you feel good?

This is the time of year for reflection.

You are in control of your life.

If you’re not happy, do something about it.

One Response to The Time of Year

  1. Michael Sofis (reinforcingmike) says:

    John,

    I know I’m probably just reiterating what you said, but I’ve realized this urge in myself to always be looking past the next objective and sometimes even pleasant experiences!

    I’ve been having trouble trying to pinpoint what could be the behavior root of these tendencies. I wonder if scalloping and temporal patterns in reference to the deadlines have a part in it. Also, does the negative reinforcement maintaining such behavior prompt us to look forward past the deadline and work?

    I’ve recently been obsessed with temporal discounting and I think this also contributes to our unfortunate nature to look ahead.

    Reply

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