I’ve experienced a greater number of deaths in the past year than ever in my life. I’m not unique. As we get older, the people in our lives age too, and more of them begin to die. In a backhanded way, being affected by more people dying means I’m living, and loving a lot of people. This makes life full, and sad. It’s one of the the prices we pay for love.
If I’m lucky and live long enough, I’ll get to be like my 87-year-old dad, who recognizes the name of at least one person in the obituaries every week.
Usually this topic seems pretty morbid and sad, but we’re beginning to talk about it more openly. Click here to read an article about a class (with a three-year waiting list) taught at Kean University, called “Death in Perspective.”
My coach, Marlena DeCarion, once asked me: “How do you want to spend your finite amount of life force?”
It’s a different twist on the question we more often ask ourselves, that usually sounds like this: “What are your top five priorities for the day?”
Underneath, the questions are the same. I have to spend some life force to handle these priorities I’ve chosen as the important ones. Calling it “life force” instead of “time” makes the whole question more immediate, somehow.
When I think about spending a finite amount of my life force on something, it makes me understand, at gut level, the price that handling each task exacts from me. I am spending something that I can never get back.
I begin to comprehend the fact that we each are allocated a limited amount of life force. It doesn’t mean I quit doing laundry or grocery shopping or cooking. I am willing to spend some of my life force on having clean clothes, food in the frig, and meals on the table. But it can make me think twice about saying yes to something I don’t want to do, or saying no to something else because it scares me or it’s out of my comfort zone.
What does this have to do with business and work?
As I work with people to help them understand their strengths and blind spots, what they enjoy doing, excel at, dislike and do poorly, it becomes very clear that you need to know these things about yourself. Without this awareness, you can’t allocate your life force, in the way that best for you and your gifts.
We’ll all have to do some things we don’t like. There’s no way around it. But I’m very interested in minimizing those things I don’t like, or don’t do well, so I can spend my time doing things I’m built for, good at, and enjoy in a deep, satisfying way.
Does it take someone dying to remind you about staying conscious of the way you spend your life force? How do you know you’re spending it in the right places? Comment below.