I leave tomorrow for Vancouver, honestly one of my favorite cites in the world. I am on a team that is planning a Leadership Conference for 1,100 of our employees across the globe. Our keynote speaker for the event is Greg McKeown, author of “Essentialism, The Disciplined Pursuit of Less.” What he talks about is offering his readers strategies to support determining what is really necessary, and shedding what is not. Seems simple, and we all know it’s not. He talks about people, organizations having “prioritieS” not a “prioritY”, how can we do better with less, how we can do less better. He talks about making too many casual commitments, and getting over the good-old FOMO (fear of missing out) and in that journey, essentially, how to become an essentialist.
We moved here just over three years ago and I made a commitment to myself, that for the first year I would say YES to everything. Every invite, every playdate, every last-minute camping trip, you name it I said yes. What I loved about that was it exposed me to so much. Wonderful people, new ways to sweat, and the sense of adventure that we were looking for in this move to the west. But as I have reflected on that first year, what I was actually doing was the opposite of what an essentialist is encouraged to do. I was overcommitted, lost my inner sense of direction for a bit and felt scattered and unsure-and I was tired. We didn’t haven’t family nights in on the couch, we were moving too fast and I was craving quiet. Year 2, I was able to course correct. Not that I said no to everything, not at all. Instead, I was able to learn that saying no was okay, it allowed me to say yes to things that I really wanted. Quality choices over quantity.
I feel like we all can get caught in this at times, saying yes feels good, feels right and allows us to be everything to everyone. But that might not always be what creates the balance, free time (yes that time where we actually don’t have anything going on) and the pause before we say yes to things allows us to be mindful of what we are saying yes to.
As your week starts, take a pulse check. Where are you doing a lot, but not your best effort? Where are you saying yes before you pause to see if it’s something you really want to do? Where can you shed that commitment that might not fully serve you, so you can say YES powerfully to what will.