I’ve been caught up in a whirlwind of activity lately. Between bringing on a new board member and finalizing the annual report for my non-profit, gathering information to include in a 6-figure grant proposal, and creating proposals for a couple of prestigious clients for my husband’s and my travel planning service, I was beginning to feel that I’m not paying enough attention to other things with looming “deadlines.”
Then I remembered some advice that I gave a friend and colleague over a year ago and that I shared with you in this e-mail blast shortly thereafter. I’m sharing it here again as a reminder to you and me that deadlines viewed in a kinder light are simply guidelines by which we steer our activities day by day and week by week.
The thought gave me comfort and I hope it will do the same for you. Give yourself a break today. I have!
Last week, I spoke with a friend and colleague who is an executive sales director at a multi-national company. She expressed disappointment because she has not yet quit her job and moved to France to run her newly launched entrepreneurial business, despite all her carefully laid plans.
She had given herself three years to accomplish this, and yet she is still working in her corporate job and won’t be relocating in the foreseeable future.
She said she felt as though she had failed.
I quickly pointed out that she had already achieved the hardest thing, which was starting the new business.
She traveled to Paris this summer to do research on the services and venues that she’ll provide to the next group that she brings here. She’ll accompany them to Paris in less than six months.
And her goal of moving here is still very much alive.
I told her that though she hasn’t completed her project yet, she’s hardly failed.
And I suggested that she change her mindset and incorporate the three-year deadline that has already past into part of an on-going timeline.
Then, I recommended that she view this timeline as being simply a guideline…
A measure, not a taskmaster…
Something that can be changed as necessary…
Something that is there to serve her, not the other way around!
When she considered her situation from this point of view, my friend relaxed.
She acknowledged that had she not given herself a deadline, she likely would not be nearly as far along in her plan as she is.
She agreed that setting timelines can be just as effective as setting deadlines, without the emotional burden that’s often attached to the latter.
And she got excited about planning her next trip to Paris!
My friend, colleague, and accountability partner, Francis Van Wyk, had to remind me of the same thing not so long ago when I was lamenting not being farther along on launching the Wells International Foundation (my new non-profit organization) and wondering if I could really build it to do the things I wanted it to do for me.
She told me:
“There’s never an unrealistic goal. There’s only an unrealistic timeline.”
I took that to heart and have never looked back.
What can this simple, yet powerful mindset shift do for you?
More from my site