I remember being excited to leave my childhood home after high school graduation and finish college degree. I was eager to move forward in life without truly understanding what I now know is absolutely true; it is better to live my life for a great eulogy and not necessarily for a great resume.
Being born in the late 60’s, graduating from high school and college in the 80’s. We were inundated with 24 hour news, talk shows, marketing blitz, social media, plastic skinny celebrities. We watched tv shows like “Dallas” and “The Cosby Show”, we said things like, “Where’s the Beef?” and “I’ll be back” like Arnold Schwarzenegger. In our 20ies and 30ies, we lived our lives for a resume….attempting to gain, power, prestige and position, the things we could get, the places we could go. With the luxury of experience my perspective has broadened to focus on living my life for a great eulogy.
Have you noticed that when people die, their eulogies celebrate their life very differently from the way we define success? Eulogies are the foundational documents of our legacy, of how people remember us, of how we live in the minds and hearts of others.
I am a lifelong learner. I believe we are either winning or learning. I do not subscribe to the false equivalency of winning or losing. If you were going to invest in your best self; where would you put your time, energy, and efforts? The unmitigated truth is that we are all one breath away from someone’s voice cracking while attempting to get through our eulogy without breaking down.
I am here to plant a seed today. The question is whether you will allow the seed to grow. I am convinced that the formula for a good life is T-R-G; Time, Relationships, and Gratitude.
Time is the great equalizer. It does not discriminate against your gender, skin color, religious beliefs, political affiliation, or bank account. We all have the exact same amount of time each day. The first letter, ‘T’ in our T-R- G formula is for the word, ‘time’.
Time is more important your bank account and all of the physical possessions we acquire. We all are allotted 1440 minutes in a 24 hour time period. Whether we spend our time productively or complaining or with people we do not respect or on a job we do not like, we only have 1440 minutes in a day. Everyday our balance ends at zero and begins again until we expire.
When I hear people say they don’t have time for this or that or that they are too busy for something, I understand them to mean that it is not a priority for them at that time. For me, I had boxes piled in my two car garage for almost a year and a half after I retired from the greatest Army on the planet. The thought of rummaging through boxes from four decades and 17 moves across state lines while serving for more than 26 years was overwhelming. I kept saying I wanted to park my car inside of the garage. The truth was it was not really a priority for me. I was transitioning and focusing on getting my son settled into his routine, starting my entrepreneurship journey and finally focusing on learning how to relax. Until one day, I noticed after a horrid rainstorm that water was seeping underneath the garage doors. Well, let’s say, cleaning the garage became a priority. I spent a couple of weeks doing a little bit at a time. Now, I can drive my car into one side of the garage. Don’t judge me. I may work on the other side in the next year and a half.
I realized how my mindset shifted to make cleaning out the garage a priority. Much like when there is a major life altering event or a once in a lifetime celebration for you or your close friends or family members. We shift our priorities. Once I gained this perspective, I became unapologetic about saying no and to scheduling items on my calendar. I simply became intentional about how I spent my time.
Say you wanted to develop a workout routine and you couldn’t figure out where you would find the time. Let me help you.
We all are deposited 1440 minutes a day (24 hours) and 10,080 minutes in a week (168 hours).
On average we sleep 8 hours a night, which is 56 hours of sleep a week. This leaves us with 112 hours of awake time. If we work 40 hours per week, then we are left with 72 hours of non-work and non-sleep time. Now, let’s break that 72 hours up into 7 days and that is 10.2 hours per day remaining. I know this looks wonky and does not account for commute time, significant other time, kid time, and all of the other things you place as a priority in your life.
I document my priorities in my calendar; career, relationships, self. As a life coach I am all about action and strategies.
Stop asking for permission, step into your truth and give notice.
Take action even when you are scared or unsure. We do not have to know how we will do it, we simply need to take the first step, then the next, the next after that. Perfection is overrated and unnecessary.
Action Step: Pull out your calendar, review your overcrowded schedule and intentionally find 20 minutes increments throughout the upcoming week. Now schedule whatever you deem important in those 20 minute blocks throughout the week. I will send you a virtual high five if you are able to schedule two 20 minute increments back to back.
We have time for what matters…….when we focus on what matters we build the lives we want. Time management is a matter of managing our priorities.
The letter, 'R' in the T-R-G formula is for Relationships.
I encourage you to build relationships by collaborating with others; don’t compete.
We are not the avatars we create, nor the selfies we push on social media. We are not the masked first impressions we present. We are individualized balls of energy focusing on becoming a better version of ourselves while attempting to discern who we can share our authentic selves with.
My parents encouraged me to stand in my truth. I was taught that God doesn’t make junk. I knew I was a child of God. I only embraced the concept of being unapologetic after returning from a six month deployment to Saudi Arabia in support of Operation Desert Shield / Desert Storm in 1991. My perspective changed tremendously from talking about people to discussing ideas and enlightening concepts. I became more present when engaging with others. I focused on building authentic relationships.
I am not certain who is attributed with saying that we are the average of the five people we allow to pour into us. I do know that we allow people we know and some we have never met to influence our thoughts and actions.
Relationship building is the number one success strategy. It's important to know the strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes, goals and desires of your teammates as you power through tasks. You must engage and communicate with them whilst you attempt to accomplish the organization's mission.
The very first relationship I encourage you to nurture is the one you have with yourself. In order for you to be a trustworthy equal in a relationship you need to know who you are and where your strengths and weaknesses may lie.
The second relationship I recommend you cultivate is the one with your spiritual deity of your particular religion, culture or mythology.
Then you prioritize the personal relationships with your work and business relationships as well as your social and casual relationships. Remember to remain present in the moment when engaged in each of your relationships.
Be intentional about who you allow to influence your daily routines. You can always listen to others without implementing their personal actions. Process all of the information and determine what you need to accomplish the desires of your heart.
‘Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.’ - Eleanor Roosevelt
The letter, 'G' in the T-R-G formula is for the word, 'Gratitude'.
Be thankful. Resist being a cynic because it blocks our blessings. When we choose to focus our time on what’s going wrong we do not progress. However, when we focus on what is working for us, we tend to notice the small wins.
Gratitude is a winning strategy. It causes us to compare where we were and where we could be. Things are not always going to go our way, nor will things always go against us. We need to be able to discern the rate of our progress.
I sometime compare my situations to an inchworm crossing an eight lane highway. There are definitely challenges and celebrations along life's journey. This visual of a tiny inchworm moving at a snail's pace across the busy hot pavement gives me hope. She never turns back, she keeps moving forward. She is able to celebrate the wins along the way. I imagine her mindset is that she will eventually make it to the other side of the highway.
I take note of the goodness in each day and for the people God places in my path. I am grateful for a loving family, consistent income, a healthy body and a strong mind. My perspective is that life is not happening to me, it is happening for me. The entire universe expects me to succeed, to laugh out loud and to be celebrated, not tolerated.
I encourage you to take out your journal and nurture your relationship with yourself.
Journaling prompt: My perspective on life is .......... and I am truly grateful for............
What makes a good life? It's a rhetorical question.....the answer is clearly T-R-G; Time, Relationships and Gratitude. I submit that when you choose to invest in relationships that you are proud of and grateful for you are living a good life.
Looking forward to hearing your thoughts and learning from your perspectives. Remember I refuse to compete with you. However, I would love to collaborate if we are a good fit.
Angela M. Odom
Speaker, Author, Life Coach
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