In 2010, I resolve to use the power of LESS to gain MORE. I also resolve to stay committed to One Small Thing.
2009 IN REVIEW: “ONE SMALL THING” WORKS
In 2009, I held up my end of the resolution bargain by applying my own approach to improving my fitness, and focusing on work and family. I wanted to lose weight, and using the “One Small Thing” approach, lost net 15 pounds. That pales in comparison to the 30 total pounds I lost by mid-May, but it far exceeds any past year’s performance compared to goal.
I wanted to do better at a new set of duties at work, and believe the results have shown I succeeded. I also like to think I made some choices that made my family happier — vacations when I otherwise might have shrugged it off to save money; being flexible when I might have preferred to dictate; supporting a flourishing entrepreneur/wife who dearly wanted to add business ownership to the daunting lead roles she already plays as the family Chief Operating Officer.
So, how do I follow that up? I recommit to One Small Thing. And second, I give less to get more.
THE NEXT CHAPTER: 2010
I hope to offer greater accountability and leadership to existing community efforts, my job, and my family without killing myself or being a total martyr in the process. This will likely be a lifelong commitment I need to renew annually — or more frequently. But I am going to get my butt in gear on serving those goals.
So about that second goal.
I will . . . after taking several deep cleansing breaths . . . decline most, if not all, exciting new challenges. This sounds counter-intuitive — and it is for me — but let me present it differently so it is clear that this is not the same as totally closing doors of opportunity.
I am going to work on serving existing obligations better. I am not making new commitments unless I give up an existing one. But hopefully, I will reduce my commitment level so I can spend more time working on me. The people in my life, and the projects I have taken on — work, community service, professional organizations, and my business, brandonINK — have demanded more time and effort as they have grown. Now they need tending. I can’t cultivate the garden if I am always planting new seeds.
The vision I have for quality service for brandonINK, for example, means I cannot effectively manage more than the three clients I currently serve. So I won’t! I serve on four non-profit/community boards. I plan to give up at least one of those, and take on deeper commitment to the remainder. If I succeed, I will reduce my frustration level by about 4.5 million percent, and pour more effective contributions into the other two. Impact is what matters most to me, and overcommitment was gnawing at my ability to have much impact.
I am excited about what I will be able to offer a leadership council for the local Chamber of Commerce, a high school trustee board, and a higher education trade association dedicated to benchmarking and sharing best practices throughout the advancement and alumni relations business.
Right now, I feel like a rock skipping across a pond of competing priorities, touching each lightly but ultimately leaving no trace that I had been there. I am excited to reduce my number of commitments — giving less — while getting more out of the time I commit. In terms of impact, I want to feel like my contributions are boulders being dropped into pools of need, setting off tremendous waves of change that are measurable and noteworthy.
So I resolve to, in Biblical terms, be faithful over a few things.
I will not seek new adventures. The fun they promise quickly turns into an obligation vying for time I have already over-committed. This past year, I took on a worthwhile project — academic advising — as a meaningful and fulfilling way to serve students, one of our core audiences. It required days of training and allowed me to expand my skill set and knowledge base. Being part of a student’s academic success is exhilarating and induces a Jordan-esque focus on performance. And while I thrived, and believe I served my students well, it sometimes created conflicts between my “Above and Beyond” duties, and those of my core job.
The experiment probably looks like success to an outsider. But not to me. The internal cost to balance those two worlds effectively was much higher than the value that accrued to me or the students. And there are others who are better suited to doing that work.
Ultimately, students, my colleagues, and our core audiences will be better served if I adopt a less-adventurous spirit. I think I found the Tipping Point between cross-training and futility.
So I resolve to be risk-averse.
This new approach will improve my energy, focus, creativity, and effectiveness for the remaining causes. I will make every effort to be enthusiastically available for my family and the things that are important to them. I will make every effort to enjoy the journey more. If I can faithfully, masterfully serve a few things, the blessings I seek may accrue in greater proportion than I could have imagined.
I resolve to use the power of LESS to gain MORE.