There are two primary ways of looking at your life. Actually, either you look at your life or you don’t look at your life. Everyone does each of these some time. A few people examine their lives all the time. A few people never examine their lives.
But almost all of us are in the middle. We spend most of our time only thinking about our lives a little bit. Then from time to time we go through a stage of thinking about our lives obsessively. In other words, 80% of the time we think about our lives 20% of the time. And 20% of the time we think about our lives 80% of the time.
I have had two incidents recently that brought this into focus for me.
First, I have a great life coach named Jenifer Landers (see Fully Expressed Coaching). One of her constant themes is to leave an opening for something to happen. Leave an opening for someone to enter your life. Leave an opening for good things to occur. Leave an opening, leave an opening, leave an opening.
Then I hired two people in my business who have the profiles of really great leaders. And it didn’t take long before they were volunteering to work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I heard lines like “Well, I can do that tonight. I have time available between 11 o’clock and midnight.”
The first thought that pops into my mind is . . . If you don’t leave an opening in your life for a personal life to show up, then it never will.
There is an assumption among many people that your personal life is the time that is left over after all the business and commitments are taken care of. But if you really want to have a personal life, you need to set aside time for it to happen. Whether it’s playing a sport, collecting something, or going out into the woods to have a good time, you need to put it on your schedule!
There are certain things in this world that expand to take up all the space available. Work can be like that if you don’t set boundaries around it. I try to leave work at 5:00 PM every day. I’m rarely there at 5:30. There is enough work to do. I could stay until midnight every night, work seven days a week, and never catch up.
And what would be the point of that? What would I have at the end of every day except another day just like the one completed? When I hear people say “I have no personal life” all I can think of is how they put themselves in that position. If you don’t make time for a personal life it certainly won’t show up on it’s own. Even if you don’t know what to do with yourself, that’s okay. Set aside the time and see what you want to do!
Besides, you’re a much more interesting person when you have more than one dimension.