Are you feeling that? Life is moving so fast. And a lot of times, you feel like you’re missing it.
Maybe you’re doing a lot - you’re filling your days - but it doesn’t seem like it’s adding up to much, or moving you in the direction you want to go. Maybe your days are full of what feels like good things, things you should be doing - or maybe you’re spending a lot of time in ways you wish you weren’t.
Have you ever had a true moment of clarity? Maybe it was an actual life or death experience, maybe it’s a challenge that you’re in right now, or even something as beautiful as the birth of a child. It can be good or bad.
These experiences bring us up close to the reality of the brevity of life and that can give us the clarity and drive and passion and motivation to make the most of this life, to start living it on purpose instead of by accident. Whether you’ve had one of those experiences or not, this can be that moment for you, too. And when you get to that moment of clarity, you can leave with two ways to think about your life.
First, you can take away that life is short and that terrifies you, so much so that you just don’t want to think about it. Let’s just keep going with life, let’s not think about that. So you escape sometimes to distractions or Instagram or scrolling or mindless activities, or even really good things. You stuff as much as you can into your life, fill every hour, all in a way to avoid that reality. If you never have time to think about it, maybe it’s not real. And then you wake up one day and you think, “Whoa! Where did the time go? Where did another year go? Where did the last hour go? I feel like I’m not really living.”
The second way, is that life is short and it feels like a gift. And you want to use every bit of it well, using the knowledge that it’s short to motivate you and bring clarity and purpose to how you live your days.
If you decided to take this course, this might be that moment of change for you. It doesn’t mean that what’s next is going to be easy, but there’s something in you that’s excited about doing the hard work of change. There’s something in you that says, I actually do want to be living this life differently. I don’t feel like I’ve been living life the way I want to and I want change.
And speaking of hard work, it’s okay if this feels hard! It’s hard to think about these things.
It’s hard to recognize that you'll have to make hard choices over how to spend your time.
It's hard to recognize that you won't be able to fit in all the dreams you have or things you want to do.
And it’s hard to acknowledge that you’ve made choices about how to spend your time that you’re not happy with.
But around here, we see that as just more opportunity for positive change ahead. We say, that looks like dirt, and I could plant something in that. The only reason our days are meaningful is because they’re finite.
Stepping into the pain of the moment of going there always brings a gift with it - the gift of perspective. And when we have that perspective, we can name what matters. And we can choose change. We can keep doing life the same old way, the way we’ve always done it, or we can double down on our minutes, hours, and days and use them with purpose.
So let’s pause here and take a moment to actually name what matters in the big picture. Maybe you’ve never done this before. Or maybe this will be a welcome refresher. What are you using your life for? What do you want to be using your life for? What is the purpose that you want to find in your productivity? Why does it matter for you to use your time well, with efficiency and intention?
Your answer doesn’t have to seem big or world-changing, but it does have to be deeply meaningful to you. You might say, what matters is managing my money well so that I can give generously. You might say, what matters is raising kids who know they’re loved so that they can love others well. You might say, what matters is creating a home of hospitality for those on the margins. You might say, what matters is growing a business that creates opportunity for single moms or veterans. You might say, what matters is having a strong and healthy body so that I can keep up with my grandkids.
As we get further into this course and we talk about very specific strategies for using your time well, this right here is what will be most important for you to hold onto. No hack or time-saving tip that we could give you - and we’ve got a lot of them! - no tip is more valuable than the clarity of knowing what matters in the big picture.
So, flip to a notes page in your Season by Season planner, or flip open your course workbook, and write some thoughts now. And remember, if you feel like you haven’t been using your life or your time as you want to, that’s okay. Right where you are is right where you’re supposed to be to take a leap forward.
We hope this course will help you take your leap forward. And here is some encouragement for you: dig in. Don’t wait. Act while you have this precious clarity of what matters.
And just know: your brain is going to fight you on this. Our brains like pattern and safety. Doing new things will feel uncomfortable, at first, as we interrupt our brains’ patterns and allow them to be reconfigured. Habits are also hard to break. It’s hard to change the way we’re used to doing things. It can be hard to suddenly make different choices than the people around you, and to explain those choices to others, and as you work through this course, that’s probably where you’ll find yourself. Most people don’t live with this level of intention and purpose in their days.
When it gets hard, bring yourself back here. Remind yourself of what matters. And remember that in the times in the past that you’ve chosen change, even when it was hard, it was because you knew that the benefits would far outweigh the short-term stress of change.
Okay this is a course, so you do have one more piece of homework from this first lesson, and that is to give yourself a reminder of what matters. It might not feel like it now, but it’s so easy to lose this gift of perspective. You pick your head up, you go back to work or you leave for carpool, you finish this course, and you just lose it. You get right back into the grind.
But when you simply remember what matters, your actions change. You can’t help it. And those actions will add up—quicker than you think. So give yourself a reminder.
It could be a short note on a post-it, a photo taped into your planner. I have a friend who has a little framed photo of herself in second grade on her dresser - that’s a meaningful reminder for her. For me, I have a post-it note on my fridge that says “unwrap the gift,” which is a meaningful phrase for me about how I want to live each day and kind of sums up the perspective with which I want to live.
So what will that be for you? Don’t overcomplicate this - just choose one thing and move it someplace you’ll see it often. You can steal mine if you’d like.
Alright, to wrap things up, after this video, you have two assignments. The workbook will guide you through this. You’re going to name what matters, and then you’re going to give yourself a reminder of what matters and put it someplace you’ll see it every day.
We’ll leave you with this encouragement for today: it is never too late to use this gift of a life on purpose, no matter how much you’ve messed up in the past or how much you might mess up in the future. You don’t have to do it perfectly. But you can do it purposefully, and productively. And we’ll be with you each step of the way.
We’ll see you back here for lesson two.