Do you love to read as much as I do? It has always been one of my favorite activities! In fact, I owe my love of running to my love of reading. When I was little, my mom was so worried that I'd be a bookworm sitting inside all day long, that she started paying me a dollar per mile to run around our neighborhood. I used my running money to buy (you guessed it!) more books! I love books so much that sometimes one that I'm really longing to read gets pushed to the back of the shelf for a while simply because there are at least a dozen others that I want to read at the same time. Greg McKeown's Essentialism is just such a book. I've been hearing great things about it but finally got around to reading it (well, listening to it via Audible) in the last few days. (If you don't have your copy yet, you can pick one up over on the Resources page).
Point after point stood out.
- Having "priorities" is a new concept. "Priority" used to be a singular word - you had ONE main focus, ONE priority. Yet now we have many, many things that we are trying to keep at the top of our list of "important" things to do.
- Sleep is very important! Yet we as a society have begun praising people for NOT sleeping. All this motivational mumbo-jumbo about "sleep when you're dead" is incredibly damaging. We'd never praise someone for coming to work drunk! Yet coming to work sleep-deprived, and powering through, is somehow laudable?
- Your body WILL rebel when pushed too hard. And it will make you slow down.
But the most important concept I've learned so far from this book is wrapped up in three simple words:
Protect the Asset.
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This phrase, "Protect the Asset" speaks to us in the language of commodities, right? An "asset" is something of value, and of course you'll want to protect it!
But what is the asset we are to protect?
Every single human on Earth has been gifted with unique talents, ideas, and ways of thinking. There is no one who has ever been just like you before, and there will never be anyone again who will ever be just like you. Therefore, you have a unique and particular ability to shape the world and the lives of everyone with whom you come into contact.
If you are running yourself ragged, sleep-deprived, malnourished (and yes, it's possible to consume far too many calories and still be malnourished), you are not in the position to best offer your unique talents and gifts in the world.
It's not an easy thing to do in our modern culture to "protect the asset," but it's necessary if we are to make our greatest contribution in the world.
So here are a few suggestions as to how you can begin to shift your priority (SINGULAR) to protect the asset so that you can best be of service in the world:
- Prioritize sleep. If you think you only need 4 hours a night, it's quite possible that you've just become so accustomed to being sleep-deprived that you don't remember what it feels like to be rested.
- Hop aboard the "No" train. One of my mentors, Marie Forleo, uses this expression, and I remind myself of it constantly. When faced with a choice, if it's not a "Heck Yes!" then it's a "No!" I mean, would you want a friend to agree to spend an afternoon with you when she'd really rather be doing something else? Of course you wouldn't! You'd want her to spend time with you only if that would be something that would bless you both! So, when you commit to something or someone, fully commit! Be excited about the opportunity! Otherwise, turn it down and find something else to do that does excite you.
- Let go of the judging. I'm convinced that part of what keeps us saying "yes" to things we should say "no" to is the fear that other people will judge us for not falling in line with their priorities. I'm also convinced that we assume other people will judge us because we judge other people when their actions don't line up with the priorities that we think they should have. When we let go of judging others, we can also begin to release that worry about what they're thinking of us!
- Build in FUN! We weren't made to go go go without a break! One of my coaches recently asked me to do one thing that brought me PURE JOY during the next week. I realized I couldn't think of a single thing that I did with any regularity that brought me joy! What????!!! So I've made building in JOY a non-negotiable in my life. This doesn't have to be expensive or time-consuming. For me, fun can be simply taking a long walk without headphones or anything to distract myself and just appreciating the fresh air and beautiful sky! Find something fun and joyful that you can build into your schedule with regularity!
There are many other things that can help you protect the asset, but the above four points will get you started!
I'd love to hear how you are "protecting the asset" in the blog comments! And please share this post with someone you know who needs to do a little more asset protecting (that's pretty much everyone, right?)!
Be so blessed,