B-HAG

What’s your BHAG this year?

And no I’m not talking about your momma.

BHAG is a term I think I came across when reading about Harvard Business School (HBS).

What does it stand for?

Big. Hairy. Audacious. Goal.

I’ve started (hopefully) a new habit of writing weekly priorities to conquer at the start of every week. The first week went swimmingly, and I knocked out my list before the end of the week. Now I’m here at week 2 and realizing that I don’t have a cumulative goal for this week.

Even more troubling, I don’t have an overarching goal for the year.

This is a problem.

Not a world-changing problem. Maybe not even a lose sleep problem but a problem nonetheless.

Not having a long-term goal that I’m applying daily pressure to is short-sighted.

I think it may be time to revisit some of the bigger goals that I’ve given up on in the past and see if there are ways to make something shake.

BHAG, Here I come!

-Okenna

Consistent effort.

pexels-photo-1228497.jpeg
Photo by Stas Knop on Pexels.com

Today I was listening to a podcast from BiggerPockets.

The guest was talking about something that I’ve been fighting against and losing for a good portion of my adult life.

He describes the fight that we all have when we’re trying to go from Zero to One while maintaining all the machinery that keep our day-to-day lives on track.

He explained how our brains were not designed to address the important, but instead were made to ensure the urgent was taken care of.

The problem comes from the fact that the important is almost NEVER urgent.

The actions that will lead to financial security in 20 years does not feel urgent.

The workout that you should do today to stave off illness in 40 years does not feel urgent.

The schooling that you should pursue in order to have a better life in 5 years does not feel urgent.

Figuring out how to work less so you can spend more unstructured time with your children doesn’t feel urgent.

ambulance architecture building business
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

On the other hand..

The bill laying on the kitchen counter with the red writing feels urgent.

The email your boss sent you about a report due next week feels urgent.

Because of these misleading feelings – we can go our whole lives taking care of the urgent and missing the opportunity to do anything truly important.

Distractions like tv, social media, and screen time don’t help.

They distract us from our inner voice and prevent boredom from creating space for us to reflect on where we are falling short and missing the mark.

Adding to the problem is the fact that addressing the truly important often feels like wasted time. We may put in hours, weeks, months, or years of work before we see a significant change in the circumstances we are trying to affect.

He calls the urgent that fills our daily life “the whirlwind”.

Our biggest challenge to being truly effective is learning how to manage the whirlwind and make sure that daily we are accomplishing something truly important.

This has been the biggest struggle I’ve faced in the past 5 years, as what is most important get’s a lot murkier after graduation. The surrogate marker for success of schooling or certifications isn’t always the most efficient way forward. 

I’ve set goals, and tried to make my important goals tangible.

I’ve started to work on those goals, but usually give up when the whirlwind of life has made being consistent too difficult. And I usually don’t spend a-lot of time defining the actions that will make my final goal attainable. 

I’m tired of this cycle and not seeing progress.

I have to move forward this year.  By setting clear goals, defining clearer action plans and lead indicators, and finally by executing on those goals.

And I wrote today.

OFO

Leaves

My regular lawn guy left me high and dry.

One day I went outside and noticed that the lawn was getting taller than usual and that I hadn’t seen my regular lawn guy recently. So I shot him a text. “Just checking in on everything!”

Later that afternoon I got a text informing me that he would no longer be able to service my lawn. I’ll admit, I felt a bit rejected. I quickly recovered and texted my back-up lawn guy (good to have options) and within a couple of weeks my lawn was back in its C+ condition (i need some landscaping done). In the interim, the shrubs had grown considerably so there were a ton of trimmings that had to be left in paper bags by the trash can.

These trimmings, limbs, and general yard waste didn’t bother me the first week they were out on the curb awaiting pick up from the garbage guys. Or the second. But by the third week, I was irritated by the sight of these three bags that were apparently invisible to the weekly garbage truck.

tumblr_mu64hjdjK41sdyj9lo1_1280

 

But, God wanted to give me a chance at redemption. It just happens that around week three, the electric company decided to do the yearly tree trimming for the power lines. They left a ton of limbs on my front yard on the first day of trimming. I was hopeful, but dubious. The new trimmings had bright green leaves, and looked as if they were still alive. It looked like they could just be sewn back onto the tree and they’d be back to exchanging carbon dioxide for oxygen like they never stopped.

My bags of trimmings were old. Yellow and haggard, they wouldn’t fool the electric company’s tree disposal guys. They’d take one look at my trimmings and leave the three mounds of sticks and leaves right where they found them, i thought to myself. So I waited. By the middle of day one, the new electric company limbs were looking weathered. I left for work and returned. The next day I awoke early to take a glance at the front yard.

I was surprised by what I saw.

Just a couple of hours separated from the tree and the limbs were looking more like my old trimmings than they looked like the new trimmings that they were. I had to run to work so I didn’t have a chance to dump my trimmings onto the electric company’s. I decided I would do it once I returned. I was encouraged that upon my return, the electric company’s trimmings were just about indistinguishable from my almost month-old trimmings. I decided to do one more errand before I got down to the hot work of opening up my yard waste bags and dumping them on top of the electric companies.

Much to my chagrin, the sneaky electric company snuck in and got rid of them while I was celebrating the success of my master plan before its completion. smh.

However, as I was lamenting the failure of my leaf disposal plan and even more so my inability to act on the plan, something hit me. I realized that the lesson, wasn’t a lesson about acting fast. It wasn’t even a lesson about keeping other people accountable. The lesson was about connection.

In the last couple of weeks I’ve been disconnected. Anyone who has known me for any amount of time could probably tell you that work is my drug. Self-improvement is my crack-cocaine. The quest for perfection is my idol & money is one of my favorite mile markers.

I’m in a constant battle with myself to pull back on my natural tendency towards being a workaholic and making sure that I’m investing in my relationships.

And I’ve been on a work-binge the last couple of weeks. A 60-hour-a-week bender.

splitshire-london-collection-210035-768x506

I was working 10-12 hours every day until my body started to protest and came down with a sinus infection. I realized that I had, on-accidentally-purpose, edged God and other people out of my life. Unfortunately in America, edging people out is easy. American culture is founded upon the idea that work is good, and Hard Work is Holy. The hustle is our nation’s real pledge of allegiance. I found it easy to hand out the excuse that “I’m working, sorry, can’t talk now” or “Busy at work, I probably won’t be able to make the baptism”.

People don’t really push back against that.

But the truth is over-work is just as harmful as other drugs. It’s symptoms are less clear because it’s benefits are so apparent. Bigger bank accounts seem to outweigh empty relationships in the short-term. And fancy titles and promotions seem so much more tangible than time spent with people you care about. For these reasons,  over-work can be insidious.

The episode with the yard trimmings made me realize that the same way limbs died when they were cut off from the roots that fed them, I was letting certain parts of myself and certain relationships die by scheduling myself into the ground.

Soon afterward, I made the decision to reconnect with the source that feeds me (God) and make sure that I was investing in other people and the relationships that feed me.

station2-2-1400x933

Life is short. Work can’t be priority #1.

Here’s to better balance.

Fly or Fall

OFO