…we invariably have balls fall!
How often do you hear someone say ‘too many balls in the air.’ Is it really true that we have too many balls in the air? Or, is it that we have the perfect amount of balls in the air and sometimes balls will be dropped as a reality in life? Either way we are juggling balls and not, say, eggs or cell phones so if they fall they don’t break!
If we are fully committed to our families, our communities, our work, and our friends then we will invariably have balls fall. What we have to do is be prepared mentally for this. The you think you can plan for everything then you will be in for a real surprise. I think the headlines in the paper and leading stories on the news illustrate that we can plan but it does not mean that we can have every variable covered.
Yes, balls will hit the ground that we throw up, our spouses toss up, our children heave ho, and so on. Now we have all kinds of balls hitting the ground. It is a juggling nightmare. Yet, we still have some balls up and we are still in the game for those that we care about. It is not the fact that balls are dropping. Rather, are the balls that matter the least dropping. Or, if it is an important ball, figure out how to pick up the right balls.
Forgive yourself early and often if you drop a ball. Each ball dropped is an opportunity to pick up another one and figure out how to keep it in the air. Juggle away. Why not?
Is my plate too full or is your plate too empty?
How often do we hear ‘My plate is too full.” Why would someone think that? Certainly I think it when the many activities converge in the same time span. No doubt, this happens and certainly the plate being full applies. Yet, if this is a regular occurrence then perhaps it is an issue with balance and planning.
For instance, I am involved in work at our charter school organization, a father and husband, a volunteer in local organizations, an assistant scoutmaster, and occasionally a coach. Certainly any one of these could completely consume my time if I allowed it.
Yet, rather than let any one area consume my time, I balance my talents between all of them with the ebb and flow that the schedule and events occur. In Scouts I realized that I wanted to be most involved with high adventure so I backed off of the other activities. Similarly, I realized that I committed to assistant coaching to ensure that the players had a reliable head coach. With my family, I make sure that I have time every day to listen to my children individually. Of course this gets harder as they get older (teenagers:)!
So then the question is whether my plate is too full? Or, should the question be whether your plate is too empty?
Keys to negotiation and maintaining self dignity.
I continue to notice how the needs of people rarely completely align with the perceptions of other people around them as issues become more and more tense. What causes tension? Money? Time? Effort? Ability? The art of negotiation is to know who you are and ensure that clarity is established between you and the person that you are having dealings.
All of these cause tension when people are unable to be clear on perception or message delivery. Tension increases as clarity is fogged by personal beliefs, core values, and fears in communication or the message being communicated. Certainly this can be mitigated by having courage and walking the walk.
The six steps to walking the walk to align perceptions even if agreement is not met:
Clearly state your position and if needed the rationale (core value, company policy, or legal precedent)
- Clearly offer choices to the ideas that are available and if choices are not available inquire with the other person possible solutions
- Reach for the best possible agreement or move the idea forward to be addressed at a later time
- Email a follow up to where the discussion ended including what was discussed and what the next steps are for agreement
- Follow up the conversation and seek agreement and follow up with an email
- Stick to your core values if agreement could not be met with resolution and dignity
- Do not yield on the core values, company policy or the legal precedent as an employee or an employer when reaching agreement
Live to see another day because this is only a small blip in your overall life. Truly, which hill are you willing to ‘die’ on? Also, remember that when you make a deal be sure that it is OK to replicate with others because others will certainly find out about it and if it is great they will want it too!
It seems that we have very serious business to tend to everyday! No doubt, it is important to meet our obligations with fidelity. Yet, is everything you do everyday that important? Is everything you do require an ‘A’ priority? If not, then begin to think about how you are able to squeeze in the joy of living and not just the work of living. It is easy to get hung up on the details but know that those details will be there later today, tomorrow, and even the next day.
The more we are able to pace ourselves the better. I have some simple steps to help you balance your day:
- Prioritize what you know makes you satisfied or happy first and if it is first thing in the morning that will make you even more satisfied for the day.
- Be sure to have a solid plan for the next two days including family obligations, work obligations, and community obligations and be sure those that need to know know!
- Smile more and greet as many people as you can as they may help you with your obligations.
- Continue planning ahead.
Have Fun because you will always Have Work!