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Stop Chasing Squirrels

Today, for a very sad reason, I'm going to talk about how important it is to NOT let time keep slipping away from what you really want and to ensure you're dedicating time each day or week to drive progress.  So join me as I share with you how to stop chasing the dang squirrels!

Ok I promised in last week's episode to discuss what happens when you take that first big step and hit your next scary or OS moment - It's happened many times so I have many ex to share but I will include driving in Iceland during a white out.  It will have to wait until next week and I'll share why in a moment.  Quickly though, I'll talk about what's really important, what I mean when I say this and then share recommendations to stop chasing squirrels. 

For my terrible and unexpected low, I lost a friend last week and learned that 3 other friends of friend were lost.  Admittedly I was not the closest with Steve but he was somebody always smiling and always enjoying time on his bicycle.   He died suddenly and too young.  He appeared to be doing a lot of trips and adventures that were making him happy and I am really pleased about that, but I'm sure there was more he wanted yet to see and do.

It reiterates for me how short life is - I know you see it on t-shirts and bumper stickers - but really, life is short and you never know how long you'll be here.   I have thought quite a bit about Steve and about my life and feel more and more - now more than ever - that making this big pivot in my career and life was soooo worth it and that I have to keep moving forward with my priorities and goals in mind.  To keep making progress each day to create and live the life I want.

So what do I mean with the statement to stop chasing squirrels?

You know these people…'re in the middle of a conversation when their head snaps around to see and point out with enthusiasm, "squirrel!."  It's a mini version of ADD - attention deficit disorder - when the person is completely distracted by something absolutely not relevant to the current discussion or situation.  It veers your conversation off the track and you actively have to engage to bring this person back from said squirrel and re-engage where you left off.

Similarly for you, you may have squirrels or distractions that pop up unexpectedly each that that take you away from spending time driving to what you really want.  

Think about it - you have a dream or specific goal.  You may even have taken the big steps forward to put together your plan and create your accountability network.  I'm especially hopeful if you've listened to my previous episodes. You have the best of intentions to advance toward a specific goal.  

Let's use an example of wanting to create a side online gig that you can hopefully grow and eventually use to replace your full-time job.  You've set a 1 year goal of bringing in 10-15% of your current job's income and 90day stepping stone goals of establishing a business with the legal documents and launching a website.  Awesome!  You're on your way!

Monday morning, you're working and boss asks you to work additional hours this week for a demanding project and aggressive timeline and you hop in and help as necessary.  Monday night's dedicated time to activate your plan goes away.  You work a little on it Wednesday night but Thursday you learn your friend needs your help so you visit with her instead.  A great new movie comes out Friday so you check that out and decide to chill with the family over Saturday and Sunday to recharge your batteries.  

Now you look back over the past 7 days and instead of spending 3-4 hours of time advancing your plan, you've spent 1 hour.  Now getting to what you want will take 7 times as long….are you sure that's what you want?  What happens for many is that they never come back to that dream.  Days go by.  Weeks go by.  Months may go by.  In the worst case scenario, years may go by.  It makes me stop and think.  How many more days will I spend NOT living the life I want to live every every day?

I believe I will not have lived a good, personally fulfilling life if I spend it all working and not spending time doing what I really want and with the people I really want to spend time with.  

I think back to Steve and others who left this earth much earlier than planned.  Or those that may be dealing with a significant health issue and may not be able to physically do what they want or may have significantly less time to tackle.  

And yes, I understand dealing with these squirrels, these daily fires sometimes is not a choice - you really need to hop in and handle these schedule and priority changers but then again, sometimes it is.  Like the movie or chilling over the weekend.  Taking another 2 hours of time over the 3 days is totally do-able and keeps you moving forward.

I'm not advocating for you to go live a hermit lifestyle and only step away from your dream work every once in a while, but instead, looking for a balance of addressing your daily needs and responsibilities with ensuring you're still able to advance toward the bigger picture and the bigger goals you've set for yourself. 

Dr Kathleen Hall once said, In every single thing you do, you are choosing a direction.  Your life is a product of choices.  

Will you make sure every fire is tackled, every squirrel chased, even at the expense of your personal roadmap or will you choose as often as possible to ignore the squirrels and stop wasting time on them, in an effort to advance toward your NEXT.  Your choice.

Now that you've got clarity and want to re-commit to driving your plan, how do you stop chasing the squirrels?

Top 3 ways to help:

First, Ignore them.  

You can choose to see the squirrel, to pause and think about it and heck, even call it out to another.   You and I still have to deal with pressing issues like flight delays or family problems, etc.  Those won't go away so I accept that. 

However, there are many other squirrels I could ignore.  I can wait to see that cool new movie or run out to buy the shiny new whatever.  Or I could let the moment pass and realize my life isn't really affected by NOT seeing that new movie right now.  I could then re-focus on my plan.

Second,  if you can't ignore them, limit your time on them.  Quickly address and then move on back to your plan. You have to put in the extra time at the office for a few weeks.  Accept that as well and then revisit your plan and edit or update the timelines as appropriate.  The only one you have to account to is YOU.

Third and finally, Think about it in greater context.  Put it all into perspective.

You can choose to see the squirrel, to pause and think about it and heck, even call it out to another.  But does that matter? Do you really care? Does it really help advance your plan or enhance your life?  If not, reframe it and if it doesn't fit within what you're pursuing, try to quickly get over/through/around it.  Regarding my previous example, instead of going to see the cool new movie, alternatively, I could consider it my "reward" and only go see or buy after I've put my time into advancing my plan.  

If you've been walking with me through each of these podcast episodes, hopefully you've refined your NEXT vision and created a plan on how best to achieve that includes critical steps and key milestones.  You've also hopefully established your support network or Significant Other Circle and are really committing personally to drive to the life you want.  Do NOT let the squirrels or daily fires or shiny new objects or whatever take you away from driving the plan You created and that You want to live.  It is your choice.

This week in our challenge community, I also posted one of the most inspiring speeches, from a gentleman named Dr Rick Rigsby.  You can find it on my Facebook page or google to see it on YouTube but either way, it's a great story filled with humor and scary stories, and it provides for you a great perspective and reset.  It encourages you to work hard and go after what you seek.  Dr Rigsby has also written several books, one titled "Lessons From a Third Grade Dropout."  He speaks to the importance of daily choices but also shares some of the greatest lessons he learned from his father.  He asks of himself and for you now to contemplate….."How U Livin?"  I hope it's not that you're chasing squirrels for a living.

I hope you lean in more with me and with our DestinationU community.  Check out my Destination Unknown book, tackle our free weekly personal challenges in the Facebook group or receive inspiration to get out and play more and find yourself through adventure in my Instagram posts.

I promise to come back and honor that I'll share in a future episode the story of my Oh BLEEP moment driving in Iceland, along with several of the many Oh BLEEP stories.  I will also share my observations and recommendations on how to best overcome.

So watch out for squirrels and be ready for how you'll deal with them.  Thanks again for listening and remember to get over yourself.  Get out there and don't let these squirrels trip you up on your way to get to your NEXT.


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