Reflections on a 30 day challenge

???????????????????????????????????The challenge began in the first week of July. It was a simple challenge.

“What do you want to do with your biz? . . . Focus on one thing and it can be taking a vacation or whatever it is that you really want to do.”

I knew the challenge was coming up. I was already on vacation when I first heard about the challenge and was trying to think of what I was willing to commit to doing for the next thirty days.  This was the most difficult part of the challenge. In fact, it almost became the challenge itself, what was I going to commit to doing.

Most of us live, work and play in the “BUZZiness of life”. Over the last 30 days some of the highlights of the buzz in my life have been:

  • recover from a vacation to China. Sometimes the most difficult part of travelling is the long flight home. Fourteen hours packed like sardines in a can, tied to your seat, barely allowed washroom breaks, yet frequently encouraged to drink something. Fortunately we were not pickled in oil or water, but I have been on another flight where the plane was fumigated, with passengers on board, so that we would not contaminate the crops in the country we were just about to land in. That flight required us to get off, collect our bags, go through customs and security, so we could walk through the shopping mall of the airport and wait in a departure gate to get back on the same seat in the same plane for our second link of the flight over the mountains to the neighbouring country. I digress, that was a different challenge.
  • met with financial planners to review and adjust retirement finances. It is important to have specialists in your life to “coach” you. Consider a doctor, dentist, optometrist, financial planner, spiritual guide, and others as your needs require.
  • painted exterior windows on second floor from the top of an extension ladder. This was not a project I wanted to extend for thirty days. I scheduled it for a week when my wife was away on another vacation to Iceland with her friend. It was an item on her “honey do” list. [honeydew?]
  • arranged and met face to face with a cousin I have been aware of for many years, but only connected with over the last couple of years on Facebook. It was a great time to  fill in leaves in the ancestry tree.
  • supported some neighbours at a town meeting in opposing a variance request to build a two story garage six feet from the property line in a residential neighbourhood.
  • in one  week, I grieved the death of a friend, a friends mother, and my son in law’s father.
  • prepared video material and posted to internet for the Sunday School program this fall.
  • celebrated our 39th wedding anniversary.
  • visited a friend and his wife to discuss travel and share pictures of China.
  • travelled to Ottawa to visit our son, and his fiancé. Met our daughter and her husband who had been visiting Ottawa and brought them back to Toronto for a couple of weeks of day tripping before they fly back to the UK.
  • celebrated the end of a challenge by attending a MLB game at the Rogers Center where the Toronto Blue Jays hosted the Detroit Tigers. An exciting game to the very last pitch.

During the challenge I had a conversation with my coach about the challenge to get some clarity and focus. I concluded my life was playing out on a project by project basis rather than on a month by month schedule. I chose the first item from her “Avalanche of Abundance” list as my 30 day focus. It reads,

declutter your mind, your office, your home, your car, your schedule, your paper.”

Over the years the success and abundance can create an avalanche that can bury those who are not able to manage the challenges. It is like a Tetris game where the bricks fall faster and faster until they cannot be managed. Life must be managed to clear out the abundance of the past to make way for the abundance of the future.

Life is like the baseball game that started with a few exciting innings with runs scored by both teams, followed by a midgame of several innings with no runs, and then a change of pitcher altered the game and suddenly every pitch was a hit and a run scored. It finished with a bases loaded attempt to tie the game with a full count, the final pitch was made and it was over, until the next game. Life has its times of early excitement, followed by a long period when everyone is busy making it happen. At the end of this period it is common to look back and say “where did the time go”.  This is a great time to start decluttering because the final inning will come, usually requiring extra effort, and containing unexpected upsets.

Life is more than a thirty day challenge. It is an intertwining of work, business, family, and friends. It is filled with should, could, and would. Don’t over think it, but have a plan. A plan for today is great because tomorrow will have its own challenges and require a modified plan.

Where do you want to go today?

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One Response to Reflections on a 30 day challenge

  1. Wow Doug. Your cup is full and running over. Congratulations on 39 years of marriage.

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