New Castle News

July 18, 2013

Tim Kolodziej: Are we ignoring our ‘best selves’ as we pursue success?

Tim Kolodziej
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — Do you make a to-do-list?

I do.

Even on the weekends.

Yep, I am one task-oriented son of a gun.

There is nothing more freeing than scratching an activity from my list.

And there is nothing more weighty than a task I just can’t seem to erase.

So much to do.

So little time.

I’m tired.

I need some help.

“Sometimes you will never know the true value of a moment until it becomes a memory.” — Anonymous

Are you an accomplished person?

Me too.

But why?

Why is that so important?

Why are we so driven to ...

•Be fitter

•Be smarter

•Have a more manicured yard

•Have a spotless home

•Have brilliant children

•Climb to the top of the corporate ladder

•Enter the retirement years with a healthy bank account.

I’m not sure.

Maybe it’s because we’ve been conditioned to place those things on our to-do-list.

Maybe we’re just the victims of shrewd marketers.

Maybe. I don’t know. Maybe.

“I have deep respect for those willing to drop what’s comfortable, leave what they know and pursue what they love.” — Damon Altizer

Rise and grind.

I see that phrase dozens of times each morning on Twitter.

My coaching friends mean well. They’re trying to motivate and provide a lift as we hit the workplace.

Seems like everyone is “grinding” these days.

We’re all obsessed with becoming our “best self,” whatever that is.

Nothing wrong with pursuing excellence. We’ve all been uniquely gifted, and with a bit of polish and shine, we begin to sparkle.

But what if, for argument’s sake, where you are right now is enough?

Exactly where you are. At this very moment.

What if God told you right now, “Stop. Just relax for a moment. I’ve got a couple of people for you to meet right now. And I think it would be good for them to see you just as you are.”

Not at the weight you want to be. Not at the income you’re hoping to make. Not with the title you’re striving to earn.

Your current weight. Your current income. Your current job.

What if God said, “I just want YOU right now. Just as you are. I promise to view you as PERFECT and I promise you’ll feel like a million. No strings attached from my end, but there’s just one small catch: other human beings can’t see you the way I do, so you might not look perfect to them.”

Would you be OK with that?

I mean, what will other people say?

What will they think?

“Good moms have sticky floors, dirty ovens and happy kids.”

A friend of mine posted that note on her daughter’s Facebook wall the other day.

So good. So true.

So unlike me and you.

Despite my best intentions to swim against the tide, I always seem to drift back toward the shores of “urgent.”

I need to keep reminding myself to focus, instead, on what’s “important.”

Better yet, on WHO is “important.”

Stay with me on this. What if all the “not nows” and “we’ll sees” and “a little laters” are REALLY why we are here?

What if all the “distractions” are the reality and the “urgents” are really just distractions?

This is the crucial question we all need to ask ourselves: Are we really brushing aside our “best selves” in order to chase a carrot we’ll likely never get to devour?

I think we already know the answer.

“My best friends always say, ‘Thank God for Facebook, because I know you’re alive.’ And this is slightly concerning. My best friends have to follow me on Facebook to know I’m alive?” — Courtney Boyd Myers

Do you know what the five biggest regrets are for those on their deathbeds?

•I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

•I wish I wouldn’t have worked so hard.

•I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.

•I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

•I wish I had let myself be happier.

Hmm. Let me see if I’ve got those right ...

•Live truer to who I am created to be.

•Find ways to work smarter and not harder.

•Be more open with my feelings.

•Prioritize friendships even more.

•Enjoy the journey.

I usually don’t share my to-do list with just anyone.

But I just did.

(Tim Kolodziej is the executive editor at The News. To follow him on Twitter, CLICK HERE.)