Demands will consume us if we let them.
Recently, my athletic demands outweighed my desires, creating an imbalance between what I had to do and what I wanted to do.
I found myself wanting to explore new and uncharted territory, like Crossfit, shorter, faster rides and runs, and endurance pursuits off my radar screen. I knew I needed to stick to my Ironman training plan, so shorter triathlons in exotic places and branching out into other intense endurance events were merely dreams.
Then, I realized – I have control.
The juggling ended when I decided to forgo the 2014 Ironman Lake Placid – which would have been number eight – to reset my compass and explore other endurance pursuits. I’m toying with some real doozies (stay tuned.) The freedom to dream big and expand my horizons feels great.
When demands creep up and stealthily grab hold of our precious free time it’s much easier to recognize and reverse than when it happens at work.
Forbes reported last year that a majority of us are dissatisfied workers. However, we’re not moving or going anywhere. Fear of a dried up job market? Bills to pay? Comfort in misery? Regardless, the numbers look bad.
This is sad. We are so much more than what we do, yet we let demands define us in unnatural ways. I’ve been there, carrying my workday around like a weight into every other aspect of my life. And why?
In the same way I came to the realization I was insane for limiting my athletic pursuits we must take ownership of the work we do. Ask yourself:
- What have I compromised for my work, and is it worth it?
- How much of my day is spent reacting to demands?
- What professional goals are purely mine and how much time do I spend achieving them?
- Is my brain stale? When was the last time I purposefully learned something new?
- Who am I really working for?
There is no overnight solution to this dilemma. Your journey towards your desires will take time, but will only commence when you purposefully plot your course, stick to it, measure your progress, and by all means take that first step.
I’m also not naive enough to imagine a life with no demands. Of course they will always exist, but we must fight to reclaim our precious time and effort. Perhaps someone else has quantified the price of my time, but to me it’s priceless.
We’re not going to get a second chance at this thing called life, folks. Think about your desires and how you can get on with the business of achieving them.
Start with your support crew. Who among them are invested in your desires and who keeps churning out the demands?
Define your desires and set your goals. Once you have the beginnings of a road map, start your journey with a single step. Make deliberate changes, celebrate success, then take the next step. You’ll find that one change will ignite the next and you’ll reclaim what should always be yours.