Today is achingly beautiful. The sun is glinting off the water, there is a cool breeze, and the sky is a cerulean blue. My windows are all open, and I can hear the wind chimes tinkling and the ducks squabbling. It is the kind of day made for playing hooky. Yet here I sit, dutifully writing this Musing. I’ve been up since before dawn, had my quiet time, finished my coaching calls, cleared out my email backlog, walked Harley, scheduled several meetings, done some volunteer work, worked on a project…not an unproductive day, but still more to do. As a sole practitioner and business owner, I call the shots here. I’d prefer to be outdoors instead of at my computer. So why am I not on the bike trail?
Part of that answer lies in my theme for this year (Discovery and Discipline). It takes discipline to stay focused on a goal, despite the siren call of a gorgeous day, and that disciple muscle is one I’m trying to build. Part of the answer is due to the fact (learned over many years) that when I stay on top of my workload, my life is a lot easier to manage. Putting off writing this would mean that tomorrow would be a stressful catch-up day, paying the price of procrastination. Another piece is the feeling of satisfaction I get when I finish a task. I visualize this letter written, signed, delivered, and in your hands. That pulls me forward, and gives me the impetus to keep writing. It also helps that I really enjoy writing.
Learning to postpone gratification (or bike rides) is part of being an adult. However, I admit that as I get older, I lean more toward seizing the moment. How many more beautiful, crisp days will we have? How many more chances to ride my bike on such a day will I have? That thought is balanced by my commitment to my work (which I love). So, I weave breaks into my day that make me willing and able to work hard (walking the dog, doing a three-minute meditation, stretching, writing a note to a friend for his birthday…all examples of small breaks I’ve taken today). We all live with that healthy tension between activity and rest. Perhaps my mind and body are resisting, just for a few more days, that change to a quicker pace as summer fades away. I will get my bike ride in…after 5 p.m. That pleasurable thought becomes the motivation and reward to stay on task.
Exploring how I think and feel about delaying my bike ride helps me to honor all of those feelings and thoughts. It clears the space for me to make a choice, and then act. I hope that as we move into the fall season, you step back to acknowledge what you need to bring focus to your work and renewed energy to the tasks at hand. Just remember to build in the balance you also need to be your best. Enjoy these waning days of summer!
Sharon Keys Seal