My wife and I just came back from Minong, Wisconsin where we visited with our friends, Barb and Gerald O’Dell. Gerald, Barb and I go back a long way, over 30 years. We all met and worked together at Iowa State University. We parted ways for awhile until Gerald became the athletic director at the University of Cincinnati. Later, Gerald, a man of great integrity, decided it was time to leave UC and leave athletics for good. That was over 20 years ago.
After a day of catching up and retelling old stories (Linda, of course, heard many of the stories for the first time), we settled into a routine talking about our current lives. In one of those conversations Gerald shared with me a practice management approach to his “to do” list. Gerald told me that, a while ago, he consciously changed his thinking from, “Things I have to do” to “Things I get to do”.
If you think about it, there is a huge difference between what I have to do and what I get to do.
- I have to pay taxes.
I get to go on vacation.
- I have to take out the trash.
I get to eat great meals and live in a cool home.
- I have to go to work.
I get to help people fulfill their potential.
The other night, I set the alarm on my iPhone. If you’ve done this, you know that you have a chance to set the time, a chance to select a sound (the song I wake up to is “Isle of Hope, Isle of Tears” sung by the Irish Tenors – a must hear) and, if you can, an opportunity to title the alarm. Until then, I had simply titled that alarm, “Wake up.” It now reads, “What I get to do tomorrow.”
What’s interesting to me, though it might be boring as heck to you, is that when I see the title in the evening, it sets the tone for my night’s rest as well as the entire next day. Instead of thinking and stressing over what I have to do, I have a smile on my face thinking about the things I get to do.
- I get to talk to people and find out about their business.
- I get to work with people in my company that are dedicated to our mission.
- I get to coach sales managers and observe them improve as their skills change and confidence grows.
- I get to talk to executives about business solutions for finding sales talent and growing sales.
- I get to convert really cool ideas into client-focused solutions.
I’m not generally one to put forth challenges in these articles, but today I’m making an exception. I challenge you to think differently about what you do and what your role is. I challenge you to take some time to write down the things you have been thinking of as “have” to do. Then, take the time to translate the “I have to” list to an “I get to” list.
But, don’t just do this as an exercise. Invest in the process and let yourself get excited about all the things you get to do both professionally and personally.