Last week, I had to report to jury duty in Brooklyn. Of course, my first thought when getting that summons in the mail was, what if I get picked? I already have a lot to do, and even though I like the idea of serving on a jury one day, it just never seems to come at a convenient time.
Complicating this even further, was that my colleague and I had booked an in person sales call with a prospect and this was the only day that they could do it.
Talk about an inconvenience!
And, I like my routines—and when I’m taken away from them, I feel unproductive.
But I decided that I was not going to view this as an annoyance and went into the experience with a different intention.
First and foremost, I believed that I was not going to be selected.
Second, instead of being annoyed with having to take a day away from my work, I decided to view it as an opportunity to think and reflect about what I’m doing and where I’m going.
If you follow the law of attraction, then you know that nothing really happens by accident—so there’s a reason that was showing up for me at this particular time, even if it’s not apparent in the moment. So my second intention for the day was to be open to whatever comes, because it would be something that would propel my business forward by leaps and bounds.
Both ways on the train commute, I listened to an audible book called Multipliers on leadership by Stephen Covey. I brought my briefcase with a book, my iPad, and a notebook.
As it turned out, I did have to sit there all day. But as luck would have it, they had a jury room with cubicles and wifi—and it was quiet—all day!
I read a significant chunk of Dream Teams by Shane Snow. I read magazine articles in the Harvard Business Review and Fast Company. And as I was doing this, I took out my notebook and jotted down potential headlines and topics for blog posts.
I also did some free form journaling in my notebook.
Mostly, I worked on what I was compelled to work on in that moment.
But at the end of the day, when they dismissed us, I wasn’t annoyed at all. I actually felt like I had accomplished a lot!
I came away with an new excitement about where I was headed and a solid game plan for what I needed to focus on next.
Because of that one day away from my office, it forced me to think, and even now, a week later, I’m much more focused on what I want to accomplish and where I want to put my focus.
The problem many of us experience both in our day jobs and businesses is that we get so focused on execution that we forget to give ourselves permission to think about what we’re doing and where we’re headed.
And for those of us that have worked in the corporate world, taking time out to read, think and reflect feels weird—like we should be doing something more productive.
But it’s exactly the opposite.
There’s always more to do, and we never get it all done. When we get overloaded with stuff that we think we have to do, we tend to focus solely on getting those tasks done. Mostly because we’re preprogrammed to worry about what will happen if we don’t get this stuff done (which is human operating code—we do what we think makes us look good and avoid what makes us look bad)
But when we get caught up in that, we miss out on the opportunities that are right in front of us and that are always unfolding if we clear our minds so we can hear it.
I can’t yet tell you what the impact of that day will have on my business, except that as for right now, I’ve written this compelling post (in my opinion) for my blog.
And that’s certainly something.