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Good Leaders: How are you making space for goodness to grow around you?

The word “busy” stifles momentum and sends a weird message into our psyche. How often do you say it?

Here’s a question that’s likely to be a surprise – a curve ball coming out of the blue. I wonder, do you have the space in your life to let goodness grow around you?

I’m asking that question because I caught myself saying one particular word a lot within the past 3-4 weeks. I often said it aloud with people, and even more often said it to myself in my inner mind. It’s a word that stifles momentum and sends a weird message into our psyche… that word is “busy.”

Convenient, Shallow Thinking

Busy is one of those words that doesn’t really mean anything. And it sends a weird message to anyone who hears it. You’ve undoubtedly participated in this dialogue (on either side?):

“Hi, how are you? I haven’t seen you much lately…”

“Oh, I’m really busy.”

What does that word “busy” mean? Does it mean “important” or “unavailable” or “overwhelmed?”

Just seeing this vintage telephone reminds me of that annoying busy signal: Meep, Meep, Meep. And it has me wondering – am I sending that signal?

I’m old enough to remember what a “busy signal” was on the old style telephone. It was an annoying meep, meep, meep sound that either meant the person on the other end of the line was talking with someone else…or the line of communication wasn’t working. A “busy signal” produced instant frustration for the caller.

Believe me, I understand the frustration of having my calendar being too busy. It’s partly due to my Carpe Diem – seize the day – orientation about a good life:

  • The How Goodness Pays book has been through the technical editors…it’s out of proof-reading and at the designer. Nearly every spare hour over the past 60 days has been channeled to that book!
  • I do a 6AM kickboxing class when I’m in town.
  • Last week, my colleague Erin Wilken and I drove together to Beloit, Wisconsin, for 3 hours of meetings – the drive is 5.5 hours each way. That day was busy.
  • That same week we also hosted the sponsor party for the Good Leadership Breakfast, launched the HR Futures Group executive HR roundtable, and I had three speeches.
  • Then there were 12+ volunteer hours at Make-A-Wish and at my church all in the same week.
  • And we had a bridal shower, a dinner, and a party for the upcoming November wedding in our family. Busy!

Another Idea

It’s hard to see the goodness if we let ourselves be overwhelmed by a “busy” life.

What I’m experimenting with in my inner dialogue is the concept of my life being “full” – full of the stuff that I want it to be full of…but not too full to capture the goodness around me, and to be available for the really important things: things that can only be measured by the Seven Fs: faith, family, finances, fitness, friends, fun, and future.

So, it’s time for me to ask you: “Hi, how are you?”

What is your response to yourself? To others? Do you have the space in your life to recognize the goodness that’s growing around you, and to help the momentum grow? Or does your inner dialogue have you programmed to say you are “busy?”

Good leaders embrace life with a Carpe Diem – seize the day – mindset, without falling into the “busy” trap. And even though their lives are full, they leave space to find the goodness around them and help it grow.

So, please share with me: How are you making space for goodness to grow around you?

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