Accounting for Time
Our measuring of time is not by the clock, but by the attention that we give it. If we sit down and become immersed in a really good book, we lose track of time. An hour or two flies by, and yet, we feel time has stood still.
However, if we live with our televisions always on one of the news channels, we begin to see the chapters of each day divided up in 3-minute segments. It becomes exhausting because, in order to claim your attention, there must be an emotional hook. It is hard to have a long view of our lives when our attention and our emotions are being turned off and on throughout the day. It is difficult to know where we are at any moment.
To account for the time that our lives spend, we need to establish a long view. From this perspective, we can take our time, learn as we go along, and not lose ourselves in rapidly fluctuating emotions. We gain focus and commitment to fulfilling some purpose that we can only see as the end of the long view.
The other day a woman came up to me at a book signing. In a few minutes, she told me her life story. She had lived most of her life trying to please people. In return, she had received criticism and lots of advice that had not been helpful. Now in her 60s, she was beginning to see that her life was changing. She saw herself in transition. I asked her,
“Do you believe that you can be a person on impact?”
“Yes! I’ve been thinking about that,” she replied.
Imagine having a clear sense of what you believe about yourself, being able to say with conviction, “This is who I am and what my purpose for impact is.” From this perspective, we have somethingto offer an employer or a clear direction for the future. This is not simply a picture of our usefulness in life. It goes deeper than that. It is a picture of what motivates us to be at our best. It helps us to see ourselves functioning with impact in the social and work situations that we encounter every day. It helps us to know where we do not want to be.
One of the Circle of Impact Guiding Principles is that we should ‘act locally.’ The focus on these actions is our local community.What constitutes a ‘local community’?Is it just a place where people live?Is a local community simply a place for economic activity?Communities are not just places where people sleep and shop when they are not at work.They are where their kids go to school, where first responders protect and serve, and where generations of families live.What creates a local community isn’t stores and houses, but people. With people you get traditions and values that create a distinctive community culture.
Over the past several months, I have been traveling to events around the country to promote my book, Circle of Impact: Taking Personal Initiative To Ignite Change.What began as a book promotion tour has transitioned into being a listening tour. You would have to be with me to understand the extent of insight that I’m gaining from talking to people on this tour.In these moments, I say the book is about:Personal Leadership, and,How we are all in Transition, personally, socially and organizationally.When I say these very words, people look me squarely in the eye, and step closer towards me. They want to know more. After some amazing conversations, most walk away with a signed copy of my book.Here are three things that I am seeing from this experience.