March 16, 2016

The Invaluable Life and Business Lesson Learned While Watching a Family Movie.

I don’t watch movies.
My whole family knows this. I’ll work, workout, read a book, but I don’t watch movies.
Yet a few weeks ago, in the midst of my most intense schedule of my carrier, I found myself settled on the couch next to my 10 year old…and am glad that I did.
At 5:45pm I had returned from my 8 mile cycle ride as I do every day. I knew that as soon as I got back I needed to get to my home office and finish an as always important project.
This is typical of me to work after work in order to keep an edge and ever evolve our business. I even work on days off. I even work while I am playing. Half on the field with my son, half on my projects always in need of finishing.
My family has come to accept this way of life.
It does however pay for the wonderful and blessed lifestyle we live. They have accepted it as a fair trade for the pool side beach home we live in, my wife not having to work, son who attends private schools, organic foods we eat, etc.
My insane work ethic has become the new normal.I am an entrepreneur what can I say other than I am blessed to have a family that supports my crazy ideas and lifestyle.
As I make my way through the garage to put my bike away, my wife is out back sipping wine and chatting with a friend poolside. I walk through the living room to find Kaiden, my 10 year old son, sitting on the couch watching a movie.
At 8pm this would not be uncommon, yet at 5.45, his typical activity, from the moment he finishes school work to the moment our household screens get shut down for the night (Not mine of course, I am exempt cause I am working) Kaiden is usually playing Minecraft on his X-Box with his global team of builders or outside jumping on the trampoline, playing kickball, soccer, riding his bike, having nerf wars and doing what 10 year olds do.
Knowing I needed to finish this project, it struck me as so uncommon to have him sitting in the living room watching a movie it’s almost as if he needed a break from the overwhelm of so many 10 year old activities.
I knew the feeling.
I took a moment to sit beside him and spend some bonding time with him which is typically reserved for the 3 to 5 minutes before I crash in his bed after being up from 4:45 am until 10 O’clock.
I sat down, kicked my feet up, pulled him close and put my arm around him.
“what are you watching son?”
“I’m not sure, this guy is funny though”
I  grabbed the DVD case and seen he was watching Adam Sandler’s “Click”
I settled in, thinking this is a great time to bond, so I figured I would spend 15 minutes with my buddy before diving back to my project.
What happened next was straight out of a real life screenplay.
Now if you have never seen Click, go to Amazon and buy it for $5 and watch it with your family.
If you have seen it, you know what I am talking about.
The whole movie is a screenplay for my life and so many other lives across the world.
The story of a family man with a beautiful wife, two amazing kids, a wonderful life that is constantly under pressure from work to keep up with the rapid demand on growth, new products, client satisfaction, keeping bosses and partners happy and constant weight of workload.
As if it is a relentless cycle to keep you apart from what matters most.
Even as we love our work, we still sacrifice the greatest gifts of our lives to achieve.
The movie goes on to show Sandler who works for a large architecture firm that he is trying to make partner in, take on the insatiable work load from his boss. His only escape is his TV sports channel. When his TV remote breaks he goes to the store to buy a new one. Not able to find a simple basic remote, he is given a special remote that lets him click through life just as you can the TV.
The once highly impatient, insensitive and totally overworked Sandler that has built a reputation of never playing with his kids, always scolding them when they ask for anything that never gives full attention to his family, now has a remote to mute, fast forward &“shut off” any and every thing that gets in the way of his business accomplishments.
At this point, I am living in this movie.
I am that guy.
Listening to my son while focused on texting, playing soccer, thinking about my deadline, making dinner with my wife while talking impatiently with my son as I expect him to know so much at 10 yrs old.
The challenging part is I am fully aware of needing proper balance in my life. I have multiple productivity courses, planners and audios I frequently refer to to keep guard of my greatest asset. “Time”
The whole situation came to life and full circle as I sat there, wondering….why was Kaiden watching a movie at this time of day? Why did I stop to acknowledge it? As I became absorbed I recognized that character as me, always busy being busy.
Sandler Fast Forward his way through life missing the highlights of his families greatest moments; only to wake up and find his wife left him and his kids became the same frantic workers he once was. While on his death bed he made a confession to let them know how bad he messed up and that family comes before business.
Perfect for a movie but not so simple in real life.
It’s the 2000’s version of the “Cats in the Cradle”
And while I am very fortunate to have spent the highlights of my family’s life “In the Moment” I am still in much need of greater balance.
So how exactly do we get greater balance in life…..
I have battled this Balance for the last 10 years of my life.
I have used planners, digital calendars, time management systems, schedules, to do lists and NOTHING ever seemed to give me the balance I needed to:
   1: Make time for Life’s most important To-Do’s
   2: Be mentally present for those times and be fully engaged.
I read a book called “When I Relax I Feel Guilty” and its an absolute truth to many peoples lives, mine mostly. I’ve built myself into a prison of constantly moving, building, satisfying, taking on more…
Then one day I had it…Something must change or I would simply fold to the pressure of constant demand and my ability to never be  fully engaged in my personal life like I was my business life.
I had to get out of my zone and find a way to better structure my life. I knew I had time I could rearrange and get another hour out of my day.
I  could tell more people no and use the time to catch up.
Yet I knew that if it was important in my life, it had to play an active role in who I was and how I was living out my days.
That’s when I created the What Matters Journal.

 

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