This post has arisen from a chance conversation, I had with a business expert who I am in contact with via social media. I learned so much from our chat, and I was very shocked to see how much my business brain, has been suffocated, by my constant drive to 'give something back!' Since my diagnosis, back in 2007, things have come at me thick and fast. My early prognosis of "a very short time to live," has totally dominated the way I live my life.
Like everything else in our lives, things are changing quickly, and the constant need for re-evaluation is there. However I never saw that need in my own life, until recently. This prompted me to think about time away from the work place too. My view is that time, is the most valuable asset we have, and in this very commercial world which we live in, we need some form of return, on our investment of it.
If we spend time with people, we should enjoy it. Spending time volunteering will give us enjoyment plus experience etc. We can build relationships with people, which requires a lot of time, but we will reap the reward in the future. Investing time in our children will see a brighter future. It is as if time is something that we are happy to trade, and when we go to work, we exchange it for money.
Unless we are faced with something that is life threatening, we rarely consider our own mortality, and envisage the perfect life plan where we can retire, do what we want, with no money worries. However, if time appears limited, that will change what you do with it. The value of it, increases, as it gets less. Things that seemed important at the time, start to lose their appeal.
My personal reward for my time, has always been the enjoyment, that I can bring to people, particularly, those unfortunate enough to be affected by cancer. When I started out on this road I was given a fabulous piece of advice, which was, "for every giver (me) there are at least 10 takers." I understood what it meant, but I couldn't believe it might be true in this sector. However it is. My conversation with the industry expert, confirmed my suspicions. Apparently I have been the worst judge of the value of my own time! Mrs L is also right, but like anything else, I have to find out the hard way.
So this week, is the start of a more up to date way of looking at what I do. I now ask myself, "what do I get out of it?" before I approach new projects. Not in a selfish way however, but more looking at self preservation. There are many invitations for me to participate in projects run by major organisations, which is great. I can see why they would want me sitting at their table. However, if I ask my new favourite question, I can't see an obvious benefit for me. As I never seek kudos, and am not looking to vastly increase my experience.
The last few days have been spent on the coast with my wife and grandchildren. Meeting with friends and enjoying the sun. We haven't done that for a long time. In a few weeks, I will be taking my first holiday abroad for 3 years. Going to a warmer climate with friends, can't wait! In recent months, I have struggled to find time and energy for a social life, which is shocking. Ironically, I could offer advice to others on time management!
Lesson learned in time hopefully. How do you value your time? Do you feel that you would like to change things in your own life? Do you feel you can't, because work is too dominant, and necessary?
On thisThursday, (22nd August) UK time 12-2pm, I will be talking about the important role of social media within cancer support, on Croydon Radio If you click on the link it will show you details of the show. Please feel free to join in via the internet. You can listen live and post any questions for me. I look forward to connecting with you!