Which do you want more?

We can have both, but we’re not always good at managing “both” in ways that are effective.

I can lose weight and eat dessert every day.

I can finish reading this business book and dive into Facebook every night.

I can tidy the house and binge on Netflix every spare moment.

For each of these, it’s possible to have both, but the odds for success are not ideal.

More often, we’re faced with the question, “Which do I want more?” because we can’t reasonably have both.

stephen
Pulling it off

Pulling off a last-minute, all-out, improvisational sprint is worthy of acknowledgement. Sometimes even applause.

But if pell-mell efforts are a habit — if procrastination, a lack of planning, or a lack of vision are the reason for the scramble — then the accomplishment is much less admirable.

stephen
Acknowledging the delay

“I’m sorry. The kitchen is really busy, and your meals are taking a little longer than usual. Would you like some more bread in the meantime?”

It’s not the way the server worded it. It’s not even the explanation. It certainly wasn’t the offer of more bread. It’s that the delay was acknowledged. That’s what mattered, and that’s what added additional runway to everyone’s patience.

* * *

Sometimes we’re late. Behind schedule somehow, or slower than expected.

The thing to do is not to hide. Not to go radio-silent. Not to pretend all is well.

The thing to do — the professional thing to do — is to speak to it. Communicate. Inform.

The person waiting (the restaurant patron, the friend at the airport, the customer at the mailbox) ... that person will know when you’re late. Better to say something when you anticipate the delay ... and ease the tension with a bit of courtesy.

It works.

stephen
“We didn’t pick you.”

What happens when we don’t get picked?

Usually, we feel bad about ourselves. We experience self-doubt. We second-guess our worth.

None of that is useful, of course.

What’s quite important, however, is what happens after we don’t get picked.

It’s that transition where we decide to do amazing work anyway.

The moment when we pick ourselves ... like we’ve done before, and like we’ll do again.

After all, our lives aren’t about getting picked; they’re about the art we create. The changes we seek to make. The passions that drive us.

Getting picked never played the lead role.

stephen
The critical work

Are you doing the critical work? Or are you helping the people doing the critical work?

Either way, you have an important job to do.

But if you’re not in either group, maybe it’s time to reconsider what you're doing.

stephen
Oyez

The town crier had one option: loud.

Technology has changed the way we can speak to large crowds — and not just crowds gathered together in a physical space. Crowds connected through the internet too.

What’s fascinating:

One, anyone can be a town crier. The microphone is there. The platform is there. No super-larynx required.

And two, loud isn’t the only option. In fact, one can whisper and still potentially be heard by millions.

But technology hasn’t changed one thing: you still need something of relevance to say.

stephen
When?

“Yes, this is something we have to do.”

That’s great. You’ve identified a requirement.

But when? When does it need to be done?

In the next minute? Before you die?

My bet is that the answer is somewhere between those two moments in time.

Committing to when is nearly as important as identifying what needs to be done.

stephen