My wife had a point…
There was work, our daughter, ‘the project,’ my daily workout, life, the blog, and now I come to her with a detailed, concise, and targeted pitch about why I (and we) need to start training jiu-jitsu.
She stared through me with a bewildered look on her face, let me finish through my rehearsed closer line, and simply said (I’m paraphrasing), “You’re not allowed to say jiu-jitsu for the next 4 months. Don’t think it. Don’t say it. And you know exactly why.”
I didn’t take offense. The comment wasn’t made in a condescending or exasperated tone. It was matter-of-fact. Cold. Straight. Truth. So in order to see it as such in the moment, I had to detach from the situation and see her point of view, because very rarely will she put the foot down so emphatically. “She must have good reason to do so,” I thought to myself.
Personally, I was wrapped up in all of the health, confidence, and overall benefits of Jiu-Jitsu to realize the potential negative effects it could indirectly have on my life at the present moment.
Let’s go through them:
- Time – With the list outlined above, and especially with it getting to crunch time for the project, I simply have no time for another activity right now. Four months down the road??? Different story.
- Money – Benefits aside, there’s a decent cost to training Jiu-Jitsu with a respectable trainer at a respectable gym. And because we’re absorbing additional costs to get the project moving, extra cash isn’t a thing right now.
- Dadding – Jiu-Jitsu would have to fit into the evenings, which is when I get most of my time with Clara (on weekdays). Some things I’m not willing to sacrifice on.
I saw her point and the reason for making it all in the 3 seconds it took my mind to cycle through those downsides above. “You make a sound point, honey. I’ll table the jiu-jitsu talk for a while…” (Side note – please don’t share this article with her until June-ish, 2017 – I’m talking about Jiu-Jitsu… Thanks).
The point is not that I made a calculated, sound, and long-term thinking decision in the heat of a moment when I had come prepared to defend this hill ‘till my argument’s dying breath. That article would be boring. Also, Monica was right. My time and our relationship are both better served with me keeping an open mind and changing course when the course doesn’t advance our life in a positive direction.
No. The point of this article is to reflect on the importance of prioritizing life’s events so that you know exactly what things mean the most to you, and when.
This information then allows you to determine a pecking order of the events in your life, which ultimately gives you a better idea of when you can start training Jiu-Jitsu… jk jk. More important than that, though, is that this prioritization provides a sense of order and organization in a frantic and fast-paced world.
I once suggested an interview question that was designed to test an individual’s ability to handle stress and multi-task. Or as Jocko would say, “Prioritize and Execute.”
Related post: Mikes top 5 podcasts of 2016: and why I’m listening
Here was the scenario, then question:
You’re working the front desk of a doctor’s office during business hours and the following 5 things occur simultaneously:
- The phone rings
- Patient A walks in the door
- Doctor just requested a treatment plan for a patient in the chair
- Patient B needs to cash out
- Patient C needs documents faxed to the insurance company before their appointment tomorrow
What do you do, and why?
Now, put yourself in the interviewer’s shoes and think about what your version of the best candidate would say. Would they try to attack everything all at once and thus not accomplish anything well, and/or efficiently, or would the ideal candidate Prioritize and Execute?
My ideal candidate would prioritize and execute, and in the initial conversation I outlined above, Monica was helping me to see what the ideal husband and father should do in that present situation. I wouldn’t have been the most effective father, husband, and all-around healthy guy if I made a habit of taking on additional activities to the point that I don’t have time to do them all. This would ultimately lead to me failing at most, if not, all of those activities. But to choose the few that matter to me the most right now, and focus on those until they are complete, or until additional time frees up, would allow me to be the most effective version of myself… And ultimately allow me to start training Jiu-Jitsu sooner! ?
Side note – my answer to the interview scenario above, in order:
- “Welcome to Dr. Smith’s office Patient A, please sign in and we’ll be right with you.”
- “All done, Patient B? We’ll cash you out in just a second.”
- Quick page for a coworker to join you at the front to assist
- Answer the phone – “Thank you for calling Dr. Smith’s office. Can you please hold?”
- Let doctor know the treatment plan is on its way
- Make a note to submit Patient C’s insurance documents later
- Drop the pen sideways like it’s a mic and thank your boss for the new raise! – I mean finish the conversation with Patient on the phone and then dominate that treatment plan. Don’t forget to thank Jenny for her help with Patients A and B.
Maybe you’re not blessed to have a Monica in your life that helps you realize what events deserve priority. But still, we can make a point to detach from these situations to evaluate the scenario, then make a call. Personally, I have a tendency to want to “live life to the fullest!” and may allegedly take on more than is accomplishable from time-to-time… That kind of behavior can have its drawbacks and its one of the reasons I’ve made a point in 2017 to say “no” more often.
I have a solid knowledge of exactly what is most important to me right now and I want to give my time and energy to those people/places/things. Couple that with an awesome wife who is an expert at reigning in Mike, and we’ve got the makings of a decent prioritize and execute framework.
After all… Don’t we ultimately want to find a way to start training Jiu-Jitsu sooner??? I know the haphazard approach won’t get me there anytime soon, but if I can prioritize the preceding tasks and knock them down, 1-by-1, I’ll be getting choked out in no time!
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