Why It’s Important To Waste Time

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When asked what it was like to be blind, Helen Keller said, “It’s much better to have no sight than it is not to have a vision.”

While some people seem to be born with a clear vision for their life that naturally morphs into their career and inspires their team, most of us have to take the time to allow our vision to emerge. Interestingly, the difficulty in creating a vision isn’t what we think it is.

Creating a clear picture of a desired future that inspires us requires a two-pronged approach: being and doing. We’re very good at doing, and lack intensely in being and noticing. Few allow themselves the time to do the mundane tasks that provoke awareness and cause (day)dreaming, critical elements in the visioning process.

(Day)dreaming feels like a waste of time because it lacks a sense of accomplishment. And, being present to our thoughts is almost always anxiety producing and uncomfortable. In a community that almost exclusively celebrates doing over being, such a focus is both foreign and uncomfortable.

While doing leaves us with a clear sense of accomplishment, noticing what triggers emotion inside of us does not. Yet, it’s noticing what triggers our emotions that gives us the fuel necessary to not only create a vision, but see it through to completion.

Twelve years ago, I was angry with seasoned professionals, who clearly did not understand that my intention was to do a good job, contribute, and help the team succeed. Instead, I came across as needy, unwilling to pay my dues, and entitled. That last one really irritated me.

“Why shouldn’t we all be entitled to give every ounce of what we have to offer,” I thought, soon after I quit my job and started researching. It was anger that fueled my research, curiosity, and passion. Had I ignored or suppressed my anger, I doubt I would have helped dozens of leaders to bridge the gap between generations.

It was my realization that every person, regardless of generation, wants to contribute and feel the joy that comes from a sense of accomplishment that lead me to provoking greatness. When I see blinders to greatness, I want to shatter them.

This irritation (passion) probably also has to do with going from standing in front of a judge in juvenile court as a youngster, to breaking recorders in sports, and ultimately finishing three degrees before starting this business. We all have greatness inside of us, and many of us are waiting for permission (provocation) to share/live it.

It’s this realization that leads me to being purposeful and intentional with where I spend my time every day. When the ego gives way to greatness, and a whole team courageously steps into their passion (upping their game), waves of joy wash over me—it’s the reason I do this work. And there’s no way I would have ever gotten to such clarity had I ignored my irritation and stayed in that job.

Considering our comfort with doing, I want to offer a few, seemingly mundane, activities that lend themselves to noticing, being and daydreaming. Here they are:

  1. Yoga.  Make a commitment of going once or twice a week, and then get yourself there. Just do it.
  2. Grab a coloring book and give yourself a few hours to color.
  3. Go someplace you’ve never gone, and have an experience you’ve never had. Doing so will give you new perspective on yourself and the world. This does not need to include an airplane or hotel stay, though it’s fun when it does!
  4. Meet up groups are a great way to experience a variety of trails with others. You can always do the trails on your own later, if flying solo on a new trail isn’t comfortable.
  5. For some (often men), this looks like messing around with projects in the garage. For others (often women), this looks like cooking, crocheting, or making stuff.

The key is to pick an activity that is meditative, and allows you to do while noticing your thoughts.

Here’s to your greatness,

Misti Burmeister

P.S. If you’d like to attract the NFL players of your industry and aren’t sure where to begin, check out my latest book.

 

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