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5 Lessons From Being Home For A Week

It’s been a week since I’ve been back home in Tucson, AZ. I’ve had the chance to reconnect with many members of my family, friends, and loved ones. More importantly, I’ve had the opportunity to have many profound conversations on life, love, family, and purpose. Off the top of my head, here are some of my key takeaways from this past week and action items that you can take if you choose to.


1. You will never be as close to anyone than you are to your childhood friends

I have a group of friends that I’ve been friends with for over a decade. Many of them for over two decades. I haven’t lived in Tucson since the summer of 2008, but every time I come home it’s as if time never passed.

We’ve gotten older, some of us have wives and babies now, but when we get together we are teenagers again. We reminisce about old stories, we share new accomplishments, and we laugh until our cheeks hurt.

And best of all we are our authentic selves. 100% real. And how often do you get to do that in your everyday life?

Action item: Call one of your childhood friends today. Preferably one that you haven’t talked to in a while.


2. What your parents do will never change

My father is one of the best fathers that I’ve ever known. A king among men. A man committed to his family, his faith, and service to others. So much of who I am as a person comes from his lessons in generosity, humor, service, and persistence.

But we don’t always see eye to eye. I’m a minimalist, he’s not. I value travel and adventure, he values security and stability. The list goes on and on.

One of the hardest realizations I’ve come to over time is that my dad isn’t me. So I’ll stop trying to change him and love him for who he is. Because at some point he did the same.

Action item: Stop trying to change your parents. Simply ask, “How can I help?” Love without judgment.


3. Being in a relationship is a choice

Many people are in relationships for the wrong reasons. Convenience, checked boxes on your list of desirable traits, or time already spent together. How many times have you ever heard one of these comments from someone trying to justify their relationship?

  • “But we’ve been together for five years already.”
  • “But he works in banking and he drives a Mercedes.”
  • “But he lives with me and moving out would be a hassle.”
  • “But when she’s in a good mood, things are great.”

Being in a relationship is a choice. There is nothing keeping you there. People complain about their relationships as if they had the permanence of the weather or the tides. If there are things that bother you about your relationship, have the courage to speak up about it. You deserve the absolute best.

I’m currently in a relationship because I choose to be. We both choose to be. And it’s awesome. If it wasn’t, I wouldn’t invest my time into it. But it is, so I open myself up completely, let myself be vulnerable and cherish every minute of it.

Action item: If you are in a poor relationship: Get out of it or start addressing the conflicts head on. If you are in a great relationship: Open up your heart, dive in headfirst, and love that person with all your being. You are both very lucky.


4. Focus on what matters, discard the other 80%

80% of the time that most people spend at work doesn’t matter.

80% of your Facebook friends don’t matter.

80% of what you worry about doesn’t matter.

And 80% of what you read on the Internet doesn’t matter.

I recently had a conversation with my friend Drew who manages a retail store here in Tucson. He’s taken the store from nearly dead last in sales to the 50th percentile in a short period of time by focusing on that 20% that actually matters.

In today’s world, there is an overwhelming amount of information coming at you on a daily basis. There is also an overwhelming amount of work that needs to be done as companies are now running lean as ever to make earnings every quarter.

Much had been written about Getting Things Done and Most Important Tasks and I’ve used similar systems and principles for the past couple of years to operate at a consistently high level of productivity. Basically, you come up with the three most important tasks that will create the most value for you the next day and do them first thing in the morning. I get away from it sometimes, but for the most part I always know what I’m working on the next morning and it’s allowed me to crush major projects, stay on top of multiple responsibilities, and make the most of each day.

Action item: Before you go to bed, determine your 3 Most Important Tasks for the next day. Get these done in the first three hours of every day. The rest of the day is gravy.


5. Routine is important, to an extent

I’ve spent a good deal of time talking to retirees, the unemployed and the underemployed lately. The ones who are thriving have created some sort of routine that keeps them moving along, even though it is based off of their own initiative.

Bottom line is: You need a reason to wake up every day.

It’s only been a week, but I’ve learned very quickly that without a reason to wake up it’s very easy to spend half of your day in bed. It’s still a work in progress, but I’m working on creating a daily morning routine that involves:

  • Breakfast
  • Yoga/Exercise
  • Writing
  • Connecting
  • Learning

My first couple of days out here I had no such routine and subsequently woke up late and got little or nothing done each day. The past couple of days I’ve been waking up earlier and getting great deals of work done before lunch time.

And routine is important, but only to an extent. Because sometimes staying up until 6am writing music with your little brother IS the Most Important Task of the day.

Action item: Create a daily morning routine that gives you a reason for waking up every morning.


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