quick-exercise-to-create-clarity-focus

A Quick Exercise to Create Clarity and Focus

Was that Paris? I recall a glimpse of the Eiffel Tower, one meal, and a 10-minute walk across the Seine, but the rest was a blur of workshops, conference calls, taxis, airports, and the ping of piling emails.

I hit home to pack up my kids for two days filled with soccer games. Monday morning, I’m now banging out a variety of tasks – three calls, two webinars – before we carve pumpkins and don Halloween costumes.

I love it. But I feel overwhelmed. Like I’m swinging at a broken baseball pitching machine that just won’t stop throwing me fastballs.

But one call today allowed me to yank my head out of the swirl. I think it offers a quick, 30-minute path out of the overwhelming craziness of your life too.

You see, every week my team at Outthinker holds a one-hour Objective and Key Results (OKR) call in which we go through our progress against our business goals. You can learn more about OKRs here.

This year at Outthinker we implemented a new innovation: each of us also reports on the progress of a personal goal for that quarter. One of us is making time to walk the dog, another training for a race, another having date-night with her husband. The process is great because it gets us to know each other personally and establishes an accountability structure to help us succeed not only at work but also at home.

When I looked at my personal OKR, I realized it was not truly the most important personal objective in my life. You see, I have every quarter put in place some objective around my health.

But there is something that is more important to me. And I realized today that if I don’t prioritize it now, above the swirl of this too-crazy life, I am going to run out of time.

I want to be a better father. I don’t want to wait until my kids are in college to have learned what it takes.

It’s not that I think I’m deficient, but I know there is a lot I don’t know … and I only have one shot to be the best father I can be to my three children. Our oldest is ten years old. I only have him for eight more years before he leaves us for college. We have already used up more than half of the time we will have him in our home, at our dinner table, driving him to school, showing him the world.

Time is running out.

So I stole 30 minutes to sit down and come up with an OKR that really matters. Here is what I have decided to do:

Objective: Find and work with a “fatherhood” coach

Key results:

  • Speak to 3+ people about the idea
  • Contact 1-3 coaches/children (parenting?) counselors who can meet with me regularly to advise me and listen to me (and select one of them?)
  • Have 2+ coaching sessions before the end of the quarter

Fulfilling that OKR will transform my life, my children’s futures, and our family. Now that I have to report on progress every week, I know I will get it done.

What is the one, most important thing that you are not doing now because the swirl of your life is occupying your attention?

Take 30 minutes rights now. Write it down. Commit.

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