The time frames you set to realize your goals can influence whether you achieve your vision of success. This is the foundation for another exercise in Un-Seeing.
We seem to have been brain-washed into believing that if we don’t weight ourselves down with a lot of pressure to get things done and done and done, then we’re going to just sit there like lumps on a log.
That’s often the rationale behind all this deadline-making fetish we’ve all fallen into. Put enough pressure on yourself and you’ll squirt ahead of the crowd. Oh yeah. Uh-huh.
More often, it seems, putting all that pressure on yourself makes it very hard to move with grace and is likely to break something – either in you or in your relationships and in your world.
SOME THINGS TAKE TIME…A LOT OF TIME
Baking a cake takes an hour or so. Slow-roasting a side of beef takes a lot longer.
If you turn up the heat and try to cook that hunk of meat in an hour like a cake, all you will get is a charred piece of raw meat and an over-heated kitchen. It doesn’t work.
Setting your time frame is like deciding whether the race you are running is a fifty-yard dash or a marathon. Different strategies are required, depending on the race you choose to run.
You have to pace yourself — allocate your time and your energy differently. You have to train differently.
This YouTube video “Eight Stages of Marathon Running,” published in 2013 by BuzzFeed Video is a giggle-inducing depiction of the emotions experienced by a first-time marathon runner over the course of a 26.2 mile run.
It’s hard to imagine any short-race runner going through all of that.
Hawaiians have a most interesting concept about time. They know that time is a mind-construct. It doesn’t really exist in the Real, they say. Because time is a human-made thing, it stands to reason that humans can play with time.
When the pressure mounts and they are feeling overwhelmed by the sheer number of things that have to be done, Hawaiians remind each other to “ho’omanawanui.”
In modern times this phrase is translated as “don’t worry.” However, a wise old Hawaiian shaman once told me, the literal meaning of this phrase can be broken down as follows:
“Ho’o” = make
“Manawa” = time
“Nui” = big
When you put it all together “ho’omanawanui” becomes “make time big.”
The shaman was gently pointing out to me that I was trying to solve a very big chronic problem in a very short time frame. It was driving me crazy. It seemed like every move I made compounded the chaos and it all got overwhelming.
The shaman listened to my tale of woe and advised me to give myself more time and more room in which to make my moves.
Letting go of an artificially set deadline, he said, would give me more time to allow the big mass of chaos I was facing to settle down so I could see how I could use my available resources – my time, my energy, my attention and my money – to better effect.
The moves I could choose to make became clearer when I did not feel the looming pressure of the deadline I had set for myself pressing on me.
Giving myself more time to resolve the situation was a simple matter of telling myself that I had all the time I needed to turn it all around.
This let me take a breath and slow down. The situation no longer felt like a life-and-death emergency run, with lights flashing and sirens blaring.
I could slow down. Slowing down helped me see the opportunities that were already there and I was able to use them to help mitigate and correct a truly intolerable situation.
That one worked. So have all the other times I’ve tried to use the Ho’omanawanui strategy.
THE FALSE “EITHER/OR”
A wide time horizon can help you avoid false “either/or” decisions. It’s useful for challenging the assumptions you are carrying whenever you’re facing some choice.
Here’s an example. Should I spend the summer with my kids making a memory? Should I spend the summer building my client base so we’ll be able to continue living in the style to which we’ve grown accustomed?
If you start thinking on this in March and you’re looking at the upcoming summer, it’s likely that you’ll end up turning the choice into an “either/or” thing: EITHER I spend the time with my kids OR I build my business.
If, however, you choose to spend next summer off at the beach with your kids, then you can use the year in between to save money, take on additional clients to generate more revenue, and give advance notice to your existing clients that you’re going to be taking off next summer.
You can even get the kids into planning what they want to do and see and making their own plans for the trip as well. Together you can work on making the whole experience more meaningful and fun.
The decision becomes an “and”: I am building my business AND I’m building a special memory with my kids.
GETTING TO “AND”
An even bigger one is the one where you consider doing what you love and doing what makes you more money. A wider time horizon can allow you to turn the thing into an AND decision, rather than making it an EITHER/OR proposition.
Giving yourself a wide time horizon allows you to consider working during the day and following your passion during the non-work hours.
You might choose doing what you’re passionate about as your primary activity and getting side gigs that make you money.
You might be able to figure out a way to make money doing your passion.
If you don’t load a lot of time constraints and have-to’s onto yourself, you can figure out how to get to where you’re going gracefully. A bit of graciousness can creep in.
One of my favorite quotes about time is this one by Michael Altshuler: “The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.”
Altshuler should know. He is a sales coach whose personal track record shows over $65 million in personal and managed sales and he speaks before corporate audiences about peak performance.
For a while he did a stint on the t.v. hit show, American Gladiators.
Here’s a YouTube video produced by eSpeakers in 2016 that shows Altshuler in action. His message in this thing is a good one….
Here’s a poem:
There is no saving time,
No matter what they say.
There’s only the spending
In wise and foolish ways.
It is a saving grace,
The knowing this is true
It becomes a matter of pacing,
Of finding the Real for you.
And when the hours are gone
When the clock has had its run,
The cosmic jest may yet come clear.
Here’s hoping you had fun….
by Netta Kanoho
Header picture credit: Gear and Hands by Domiriel via Flickr [CC BY-NC 2.0]
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