Don’t lost sight of what is important…

June 9, 2021

In his blog, Jack’s Winning Words, Pastor Freed today used this quote – “I started concentrating so hard on my vision that I lost sight.”  (Robin Green) 

Free reported that the Robin Green who is credited with this quote is at Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas, and helps the blind. Jack opined that the quote is about sight and insight, which I agree with. The quote also points to a problem often experienced by middle-aged men who have focused upon their careers.

It is all too easy to become so focused and intense on the pursuit of career goals that all else drops “out of sight”, including family. Some men become so focused and intense in their pursuit of career success that they develop a kind of tunnel-vision, seeing only what is directly ahead of them in their next career goal. They sacrifice family time by tell themselves that they are doing this for the family; when it is all about themselves and the intense focus that they have on success at work.

Most men do define themselves largely by their careers and the work that they do, more so than the things that they do with family. The answer to the question, “What do you do?” is seldom answered, “Well, I’m a husband and a father”, as the initial response.

It is certainly important to find a career or work that provides sufficient income to support the family; however, the work itself should always remain a means to an end and not the end in itself. Those who get too intensely focused upon work success lose sight of the importance of why they are working.

If you find yourself “working late” every night or working when you get home, instead of sharing time with family, you are probably too intensely focus upon work success. If you miss most of the games and plays and recitals of your children, you are probably too intensely focused upon work success. If you can’t remember that last time that you went somewhere with just your wife or perhaps with the whole family and had fun, you are probably too intensely focused upon work success. If you can’t remember how old your children are or the last time that you went to one of their birthday parties, you are probably too intensely focused upon work success.

Working harder and harder to try to earn more and more money is meaningless if you don’t spend time with family. Time spent with them is more important than the shiny new things that the money might buy. In the end, the kids will be grown and gone, and the luster will have faded from the shiny things and you will be left with stuff instead of memories. If you are lucky, your long-suffering wife may still be there; although, overly intense work focus is the root cause of many divorces.

So, pause every now and then and ask yourself if what you are doing, what you are so intensely focused upon at work, is really what you want out of life. Question the decision to work late rather than go to your son’s ball game. Recall when the last time you told your wife that you love her was and wonder why you don’t take time to do that more often. Challenge the thought that that next promotion at work will be the thing that makes you happier, rather than that next trip to the zoo or going on a picnic with family.

Try to imagine yourself in the end game of life, when you and your spouse are rattling around in your McMansion, surrounded by stuff that now longer matters, and ask that person if it was all worth it?  Imagine what happened to the wife and kids while you were so intensely focused. They when on in life. The kids grew up and moved away. Maybe the wife developed other interests to fill her time or made new friends to fill in for her missing spouse. You’ll find that you can’t imagine much about that, because have no memories of those things happening – you weren’t there to see them.

The good news is that you may still have time to change your focus back to what is important in life. Go to your daughter’s dance recital rather than staying late to work on the next deal. Hire a sitter if needed and take your wife out to dinner (and don’t spent the evening looking at your phone). Reset your definition of success to be measured in happy family time, rather than a raise or promotion. You may, in fact, not advance as quickly at work or make quite and much money; however, I know that you will feel more fulfilled and be happier because you have refocused upon what is important in life.

Don’t rust out…find new challenges…

March 9, 2019

Seen recently on the internet – “Most people rust out due to lack of challenge. Few people rust out due to overuse.” (Denis Waitley)

Like rust on things, rust on people can be prevented with a little effort. The key message in Waitley’s saying is to keep finding new challenges for yourself. Many people “retire” from work and almost retire from life. They no longer have the challenge of lazygetting up and going to work every day and many fail to challenge themselves with new things to do, new skills to learn or new knowledge to be gained. They begin to rust because they are not using their minds and bodies as they were meant to be used.

Admittedly, our bodies change as we get older and start to put some limitations upon what we can do physically. That just means that we need to adjust by doing different things or doing things differently. That’s one of the mental challenges that we should be focusing upon – not quitting, but finding new ways of doing things that we love to do. caregiverAnother challenge may be finding new challenges to replace those lost with the last job. Some may take on new or different jobs, as I have. Some may find both the challenge and satisfaction that they seek in volunteer work. I do some of that, too. The key (to steal a phrase from Chevrolet commercials) is to find new roads (new challenges) to keep yourself busy and stave off the rust.

Taking on the challenge of a new job, especially one in a field that you have no experience in can be both a physical and mental challenge. You must learn new skills or maybe just sharpen and adjust old skills and you usually must learn a new vocabulary of the terms and words that the new job uses. Both are a bit frightening, but that ads to thevolunteers challenge and the rewards of the new job. Some may find new jobs that take advantage of management skills that they have developed over time. The challenge there is to recognize the differences in the job settings and to find the best ways to implement the skills that you may have developed in a big company setting to a small company or non-profit organization. That can be quite a challenge.

It’s really easier than you think to find new challenges. The need for volunteers is everywhere around you. You just have to try a few to find one or two that suit your needs, your interests and the time that you have to give. Most churches have lots of volunteer opportunities, so check with your church. Then, there are all of the non-profit service organizations that exist in every community in America, from Meals on Wheels old-ladyto local mobility services. If you can drive a car you can help them. There are community food banks and homeless shelters that need help. There are local retirement homes that are full of people who would just like someone to talk too. If you can talk and listen, you can do that.

The point is that there is no reason to sit around and rust out. Some get it in their heads that no one needs them anymore. Not true. There are tons of people that need you, but you just don’t know who and where they are. Get off your duff and find them. Be useful and be patient with yourself and with the new challenge. You’ll be in learning mode take actionagain and isn’t that exciting! You’ll figure it out and it will feel great when you do.

Don’t rust out. Find those new challenges. What are you waiting for?

Got to get to work…

July 25, 2018

OK, so I didn’t win the big ½ billion lotto drawing last night. I guess the quote that I saw in a recent post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog applies to this situation as well as to life in general.

“The six W’s: Work Will Win When Wishing Won’t.”  (Todd Blackledge)

Many people seem to spend their lives wishing for things, instead of working for things. They may wish that their life had turned out differently or perhaps that they had been born into different circumstances. It is easy to allow wishing to degrade into wallowing in self pity.  Wishing and blaming also seem to go hand-in-hand for those type of people.accountability They wish things were better and blame the fact that they aren’t on things that they feel like they can’t control. Yet others who had the same starting point in life take the path of hard work and a dedication to bettering themselves and their situation. They work at a job and go to school. They work at a job and raise a family. They work. And, it works for them.

There is a big difference between just wishing and pursing a dream. Having a dream of aman daydreaming better future provides the foundation for the desire to achieve that dream. As Napoleon Hill once said –

“Desire is the starting point of all achievement, not a hope, not a wish, but a keen pulsating desire which transcends everything.”

What separates the achievers from the dreamers is the will and determination to achieve that dream.

“You’ve got to get up every morning with determination if you’re to go to bed with satisfaction.”  (George Lorimer)

In between those two quotes is a good place to put today’s thought – “Work will win when wishing won’t.”goal

Well, I’ve got to go now. Got to get to work. I’m still working towards my dream. How about you?