Monday, October 29, 2012

The Intersection of Memory Ln. & Busy St.

Life's what you make it.

You get out of life what you put in it.

We've heard this mantra from every kind of motivational quote that focuses our minds on constant improvement. This is the path we call Busy Street. It is the path of progress and growth.  Much like a freeway, you must move fast, narrow your focus and keep your eye on the road and your hands on the wheel. 

Life's not the breaths you take, but the moments that take your breath away.

Live, Laugh, Love.

When we hear these quotes, our minds quickly gravitate to our family, and we instantly cherish the time and special memories that we have had with the people that mean the most to us. We call this place Memory Lane.  This path is one of emotion and feelings.  Much like a less frequently traveled country road, you can drive slow, enjoy the view, roll down the windows, soak up the sun and feel the wind in your hair.

This post is dedicated to my son, who is a senior this year.  As a senior parent, I find myself reflecting daily on the time that has passed so quickly.  With every last event in his high school career, I feel him naturally growing out of our house.  His last football game, his last pep rally, his last band performance at the football game, his last 'this' and his last 'that'.  Being at these "last" events, I take mental snapshots of everything I can on my path down Memory LaneEmotions and feelings of sadness, elation and guilt abound.

Yes, I said guilt.  Did I spend too much time on Busy Street trying to provide the best for him and my family?  Did I sacrifice too much time being busy instead of making memories?  Did I fail to sit quietly and observe when I was preoccupied with tasks?

So which way do I go now?

Here are some tips for myself that I think would benefit all leaders that are stuck on Busy Street!
  • Go down Busy Street, but make sure you exit the freeway often to take a slower scenic route.
  • When you get on Memory Lane, don't take Busy Street behaviors with you.  They take you away from the reason you're on Memory Lane in the first place.
  • While on Memory Lane, pull over on the side of the road.  Stop and just soak up the scenery.
  • Put your phone down and don't worry about what's happening on Busy Street.
  • Make your time on Memory Lane special by showing your love for your family with your words, actions and most importantly time.
As we get older, there is a consuming fire within leaders that drives them to do everything we can to solidify our career.  We must reach the goal, achieve excellence and make our organizations highly effective and efficient.  Everyday, this fire forces us to narrow our focus even more to the point that we forget that there is actually life beyond the superhighway of success.

So for Thanksgiving, I challenge you and me both to exit the freeway wherever we may be.  Take a path that is slow where we can create memories that will last forever in our lives and in our families' lives.  Disconnect and unplug from all the tools and structures of progress, and enjoy life.  That is hard for driven people because true life is not task driven, and in the end, it doesn't really matter how far you got down Busy Street.  Life is relationship driven and that is what Thanksgiving is all about.  Give thanks for the life that God gave you, the people that he put in your life and the ability to create and remember special times with them.

Happy Thanksgiving

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