In today’s quick paced environment it’s easy to wake up and find that you’re overcommitted. This necessarily doesn’t mean overcommitted to others; this could also mean you’re overcommitting to yourself. Our world is filled with continual newsfeed refreshes, instant-gratification, and positive praises towards those who overcommit. Don’t get me wrong, a Gentleman needs to be a jack of all trades, and a master of some. I believe we need to change how we become a jack of all trades. This process should be morphed from an overnight trip to a lifelong journey.
I’ve always been one to want to have his hand in everything possible. This want started as a child, and my parents still tell this story. One day while in kindergarten my mother asked me what I wanted to be when I grow up? This is a pretty typical question, but my answer was atypical. I told her I wanted to be something different each day of the week; a police officer, firefighter, baseball player, football player, doctor, a telephone line technician (this was my dad’s profession), and a pastor. Wow! Can you imagine how long it would take someone to become good enough at ALL of these professions to get to a point where you’re a true professional? I assume this would take many lifetimes. At the beginning of this year I found myself in a predicament where I had stretched myself too thin, and I needed to choose what I wanted to focus on, and condense my life. Thank goodness I still wasn’t attempting to be a different professional each day. However, I did find myself not sleeping as much, quality of relationships and work decreasing, and not being completely present in the moment. This signs, paired with a supportive and direct conversation from my wife allowed me to pair down. Let’s take a look at three lenses to look through in order to decide which commitments go and which stay.
Necessary to live
This is a pretty easy filter. You want to ask yourself if you need this specific committment to continue to live. For many, including myself, work falls into this category. I must have a job in order to maintain a roof over my family’s head and food on the table. I’m not even discussing at retirement savings, unnecessary clothing purchases, or vacation money. Simply ask yourself, do I need to do continue to do this commitment to maintain the most basic life needs?
Does this align with my personal/family vision?
First you must understand what is your personal/family vision. If you’re not aware of this please take time to write this down and have conversations with your loved ones. Once you understand your vision ask yourself if the commitment you’ve made is moving you closer or further away from your vision. If it’s moving you closer, continue chasing. It’s moving you away? Then it’s time to let it go. To do this successfully you must ensure you’re being honest with yourself and others. Also, I would recommend having these conversations with your mentor
Is this bringing Value to myself & others?
One pillar of the GentlemenProject is selflessness. A true gentlemen is not only worried about himself, but how are his actions going to impact those around him, and what wake will his actions leave. To be successful at looking through this lens you must provide yourself with time for self-reflection, gather your thoughts, and share with your loved one and mentor.
At the end of February I came to the conclusion I needed to set aside some of my commitments. I use these questions, my amazing wife, and a few mentors to help me decide what I should focus on. One of the things I temporarily cut out was this blog. I had other commitments that were necessary to live, were more aligned with the vision of our marriage, and brought more value to myself & others. As with anything in life, there are seasons. I happy to say I’m out of that season, and now I have time to choose the GentlemanProject as one of my three commitments.