When I was a kid…
My dad once went to a basketball coaching clinic. Some of the best college coaches in the world would be there to encourage, equip, and inspire high school coaches from all over the country. I remember this clinic specifically because he brought me two things when he got back.
First, a gigantic poster of NBA all-star Scottie Pippen with coach Jim Boeheim’s signature. I was very confused. Did Scottie Pippen play for this coach? No. They probably didn’t even know each other. Apparently, it’s the only thing my dad could find for him to sign. Confusing and cool.
Next, my dad had a crumpled up pink sticky note with a quickly written quote he heard from one of the coaching greats. He pinned this quote to the designated cork-board in my room. We all had one. As long as I can remember living in that room, this quote was present.
The biggest enemy of best is good. If you’re satisfied with good, you’ll never have what’s best.
I saw this quote almost every day. It was one of several motivational quotes/stories my parents had pinned up for me to read and see regularly. It stuck with me. It still does.
A few years ago I was reminded of this quote as I read the book Essentialism. This streamlined way of living is not just inspirational, it’s practical. It’s different than minimalism. It’s not about cutting things, people, or time wasters out of your life. That’s about saying “no.” It’s about saying “yes.”
Essentialism is about saying “yes” to the best things in your life based on your goals and relationships.
It’s determined by you. That’s empowering.
Life gets in the way…
Sometimes you’re on track and then life builds up. Your family dynamics change, schedules shift, and/or goals and opportunities take on new forms. This happens to me all of the time. When it does I tend to feel unbalanced in my spirit. The very core of my person will begin to feel weighted and frustrated.
I know it’s time for me to say “yes.” There’s some things that just need more of me, not less. That’s how I determine my time and energy output. Yes, there will be things I stop doing. But it’s because I’m doing more things in line with my personal goals and relationships.
Besides, I’m a human “being” not a human “doing.”
My life isn’t measured by my accomplishments or my busyness. It’s not even measured by my productivity. It’s measured by my goals and relationships. What and who am I loving well? This will many times determine how healthy I am physically, emotionally, socially, and spiritually.
When it’s time to evaluate and start saying “yes” to the best I have a system; a set of questions I like to ask myself. These work individually, as a family, or even an organization.
The best questions for saying “yes” to the best:
- What am I doing that aligns with my presently desired goals and my future hopes and dreams?
- What am I doing that no longer aligns with my presently desired goals and/or my future hopes and dreams?
- What am I doing with and for those I love that I must continue doing?
- What am I doing that conflicts with my ability to prioritize those I love?
- Based on my Life Plan, what must my Ideal Week begin to look like?
I think these are straight forward, but you may have a question about that last one. What’s a Life Plan and Ideal Week? Simple, it’s my vision and action steps around every prioritized relationship in my life (Jesus, wife, kids, life purpose, etc.). These drive my decision-making.
Life isn’t about an arbitrary list of successes. It’s about our relationships to God, others, and ourselves. I know a lot of distracted, frustrated, overworked, depressed, isolated people. Speaking with them long enough usually points to the fact that their life is a mess, their soul is a mess, their relationships are a mess because they have yet to live intentionally. They have no plan. They are saying “yes” to things that don’t really matter…to them.
Life goes that way. We all feel it at times. Without a strategy, a plan, an intention, we tend to just roll with whatever comes our way. We let others dictate our time and money. That’s no way to live. That’s slavery. Other people dictating your time and money is self-imposed slavery.
What should you be saying “yes” to and what should you be releasing? I’m working through this now. I usually have to twice a year. I bet you have some tension around this as well. Join the discussion!