When I was a child I watched how my parents would start and end the day. My mother was in charge of 5 children and my father would leave every morning to make a living in order to provide for us.
Some days were better for my father than others. He was a self-employed electrician - or tried his best to be. Later in life I learned that he played an important role in providing electricity for many of the churches in Baghdad as a young man, most of which don't exist anymore as a result of the warfare. In the United States however, he was not just an electrician, but also a painter, a carpet cleaner, and a handy man.
When my father did not have much work, which was fifty percent of the time in my early years, he would come home and work on letters he would mail to business owners, and that was the time I heard the schedule talk between him and my mother. You probably know what I'm talking about - scheduling the rest of the day and looking at the plans for the rest of the week. When I reflect today, I think how amazing it was that my parents could literally schedule their life without using a calendar, right in the kitchen, while my father had a coffee and my mother worked on cleaning up after us.
Today, I live by a calendar, and not much happens outside its borders. In fact, now I schedule meetings in my calendar in order to have a meeting about what goes in my calendar! Ok, so I'm embellishing a bit, but I think you catch my drift.
I'll put this in quick perspective for you: I run a successful and growing business with my lovely girlfriend and partner; I am a father of two young boys, I am a business strategy consultant and adviser for an international narcotics testing laboratory and manufacturing organization; I write and coach for both JohnToma.com and NextWaveAthletics.Fitness; and I'm working on several personal projects, including an entrepreneurship and self-development book. My girlfriend is also extremely busy and we sometimes find it extremely difficult to fit everything we want to do with everyone we want to spend time with. Sometimes, and we have created systems where we are better about this, we are so busy we have had to adjust our time together to go on dates and to simply recharge.
Knowing how important it is to stay sane when our lives are consumed with so many different things, I wrote a letter to my girlfriend that I believe every entrepreneur and creator should share with their spouse and others they care about the most. I'm sharing it with you today in order to give you a glimpse inside my life and in the hopes that you may be able to use it (adjust as needed) in yours in order to place you and your chosen partner on a mutual path of understanding.
I left the email as-is . The only thing I have redacted are the email addresses, and I underlined acronyms with their meaning.
Sometimes, even with a calendar in place, we need to remind ourselves and those we love and are the closest and most impacted by our life that we need to put things in perspective. I truly hope you find this letter useful in yours.
After reading the letter my questions to you are - Does this letter strike a chord within your life now and have you shared a similar exchange with your spouse or partner?
If so, please share your thoughts in the comments below.
Please save/print the attached calendar. Toward the end of each month I will pull the next month's calendar and prepare my/our events and appointments - I would love to do this together with you because you know how I am sometimes, forgetting things and all ;)
Notice all of the things we have going on. Especially on the weekends. I'd like us to seriously consider the weekends we don't have the boys as sacred. Plan our meeting after the WOD (Workout Of The Day) as we discussed and enjoy the day and what we have planned to recharge ourselves. We need that and I don't want anything else to compete for that time unless we believe it will help us meet a life goal or create happiness for us and our family.
Every day there is something vying for our time. Especially on the weekends. I always want to be there for friends. Always. But there are times when we cannot. I need us to work and plan as a team. I'm asking for your help to protect us from over booking things, and we both need to learn to say no when we are stretched thin on the schedule. Especially now, since we are business owners and mentors. If it's not on the calendar, it's dead to us, and we need to have it pass both our approvals prior to putting it on there (it being an event, appointment, experience, etc.). If we both don't approve, it does not make it.
The more and more I think about our happiness quotient I realize that we are constantly competing with our schedule. The most valuable thing to me is time. It's important to me because I have important things planned for my time - spending quality, enjoyable time with you, enjoying time with the kids, and learning and creating and sharing with those I can help - and I want to do these things with vigor and being fully energized. I know you want the same thing, so this is our opportunity to plan our commitments around our life and not the other way around.
Thank you for all of the adjustments you have had to make in your life as a result of what I bring with me. You have been an inspiration to me and I have learned a great deal from you about not procrastinating and GSD (Getting Sh$! Done). I know where I've come from and I know there is always room for improvement for me. I appreciate you and the support and belief you have put in me... I know it only comes from someone that truly loves you and cares about your growth and well-being.
You are amazing,
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