“We are constantly invited to be who we are” ~ Henry David Thoreau
I don’t know about you, but my To-Do list seems endless. There is always something to be added, something new to get done. It’s a lot to handle and is definitely overwhelming at times. After a long week at the office, the last thing I want to come home to is a list of tasks to get done over the weekend. I want to go out, spend time with those I care about or just relax, not vacuum or pay bills!
But that is life. What matters most is finding a healthy balance between our responsibilities and fun. There is a time for work and a time for play after all. For me personally, I am most productive in the morning, so I like to get my To-Do list tasks done early so that I can enjoy my day. I batch my chores together, often doing laundry, cleaning and reviewing my finances while I cook food for the week. I also cook in large batches (cook once, eat twice!). It saves a lot of time during the week.
I often get together with one of my best friends at my local coffee joint and we do our work together. Being productive and spending time with the ones I love…. win!! I’m all about kiling two birds with one stone. And who says work can’t be fun anyway? Sometimes just shifting our mentality from a negative (“ugh, I have all this work to do”) to a positive (“this work will benefit me by [fill in the blank here]”) can be huge. How do you balance fun and your necessary To-Do’s?
Enough about To-Do lists! Recently I was at a leadership training and learned a novel concept from the keynote speaker, Dr. Nido Qubein, president of High Point University and renowned speaker on the topics of leadership and transformational culture. He discussed the idea of having To-Be lists instead of To-Do lists. I loved it! Again, it’s all about shifting our perspective. Instead of letting those To-Do lists dominate our thoughts and lives, how about we change the focus towards who we want to be in life.
Life is a continual adventure and we are constantly growing, changing and becoming the people we are meant to be. When we get comfortable and stop striving to become better people and move towards our goals, we become stuck. A To-Be list can help to keep us moving forward. Growing, evolving, becoming the real you. Change may sound scary to a lot of people, but that’s where true happiness and fulfillment lie.
So what is on my To-Be list? I thought of three things in three different areas of my life: personal (self), relational (family and friends), and career.
I want to be a person who practices self love and recognizes the need to take care of myself and make choices in life that honor me and where I want to go with my life. My immediate reaction when people ask things of me is to say yes and do what I can to help out and get things done. I don’t like to disappoint others or seem like I am not a team player. But sometimes I need to say no instead because that is what is right for me. This isn’t the same as selfishly putting my needs and wants in front of others. Sometimes honoring what you need in a particular moment can help you be there for others in an even bigger way. Being stretched too thin and exhausted isn’t going to help anyone. This change in thinking is kind of a radical thing for me, but I am getting better at it each time I flex my “love thyself and honor thyself” muscle.
I want to be a loving and caring friend, sister, daughter, girlfriend and puppy mother. I am the type who has a smaller tribe of close family and friends. They are always there to support me with whatever is going on in my life. I do not like to burden my tribe with my worries, concerns, fears, etc., but I need to remember that asking for help and support is okay, and that I have people in my life who are willing to provide that to me. Having a loving relationship with someone means being able to ask for support and also freely giving support in return. It’s a two-way street where both parties give and receive equally. While I am very good at giving and supporting, I need to learn that it’s okay to receive as well.
I want to be a coach who helps others to become their happiest, healthiest, most vibrant selves. I want to be an inspiration to women who have struggled with emotional eating, perfectionism, lack of self love and putting others before oneself. I have been all of those things and today I am happy to say that I am in a much different place physically and mentally. And it feels amazing. The impact being in a better place has on all aspects of your life is astounding. Yeah, I still have my days where I struggle with those things, but I have found balance overall. I have a formula of things I do that I know will bring me back to where I am my best when things get out of whack. Everyone’s formula is different and I want to help others find theirs.
I may not be completely at any of these places yet, but that is what a To-Be list does. It helps us to keep our priorities and goals in mind. Provides us with a path to walk on that will lead us to where we want to go. Moves us closer to who we are at our core. Our authentic selves.
To me, focusing on the bigger picture instead of the mundane daily or weekly tasks we need to accomplish brings a sort of peace. I find comfort in knowing who I want to be and working towards that. All of my To-Do list tasks then have a purpose behind them. They will take me where I want to be in my life. And that, my friends, makes all the little things worthwhile.
Peace, love and To-Be lists,