CC360 Blog

The Magic in the (hidden) Moments

The Magic in the (hidden) Moments

I can get a bit stuck in my ways at times, but I made a discovery in the past year that has been literally life-changing. It’s turned stressful activities into enjoyable ones… improved my daily nutrition… reduced my alcohol intake… expanded my retention of books I’m reading… enhanced the time with Suzanna, family and friends… and even lowered my resting heart rate and improved my heart rate variability or HRV readings…

Before I share the details, let’s talk about vision. Our longtime readers are well aware of our encouragement for all of us to consider creating – not a list of “goals” for the year but rather a clear, personal vision for the year. If you’d like to give it a go, we’ll provide a link to a previous episode that walked through the specific details of how to do so. In a nutshell, goals are the “what I’m going to do” while vision is “who I’m becoming.” Both have value, but I’m a believer that once the vision is clear, the goals just about achieve themselves.

So this past November, as I’ve done every year for the past 13 years, I sat down to begin pondering what that vision might look like for the coming year. I’ll generally do some journaling and sketching initially, and then over the ensuing weeks, continue tweaking so that I have it dialed in as December comes to a close. This year was a fun one, with several components that brought energy and clarity to the way I was wanting to grow in the coming year. I’d left the entire left corner of the visual open, knowing my tendency typically includes thinking of a last minute addition so this year I’d saved the space to do exactly that.

And then it hit me. That IS the key element of this year’s vision: That top, left corner didn’t need anything added to it to complete the vision – the open space kept open WAS a big part of the vision! It didn’t need to be filled – it was most valuable when held open!

Which brings me back to the lesson learned. What was that discovery that seemingly changed everything? Margin. Instead of filling every available moment, make an effort to maintain some open space in life. And yes – I understand that for some of our readers, you’re in a phase of life where that simply isn’t possible. You’ve already cut out social media, trimmed your TV time, said “no” to all the extras and have dialed in your catalyst cornerstones – move/fuel/rest/connect to enhance your energy level and focus and you still feel like you’re on a non-stop treadmill. But that’s not most of us. The majority of us have cut our available margin through self-imposed habits and handlings. We’ve skipped the vision, passed on prioritizing, and fill the gaps with what Stephen Covey used to call Quadrant IV activities: Not important and not urgent. Our margin has been filled with the junk foods of life, but we’re so addicted at this point that it seems there’s no going back.

But maintaining margins opens up relationships to greater depth, turns activities that feel like work when time is short into play, opens the gates to reflection, and flips the compression of “busy” into the abundance of living.

Looking for a starting point to firing up the engines on this particular boost? Here’s a trio to consider:

  1. Follow the rule of 7: when considering whether or not to add something to your schedule, if you wouldn’t give it a rating of 7 or more on a 10-point scale in terms of positive impact, consistency with your vision or heart-filling, say “no.”
  2.  Corollary to the rule of 7: Consider your typical current day/week/month. What have you already allowed onto your schedule that doesn’t meet the minimum baseline rating? Start trading out 3’s, like grabbing your phone and swiping, for 8’s, like stepping outside in the sunshine and looking closely at a tree or listening intently to the birds. Like the general manager of a sports team gradually filling the team with top-tier players who create more “wins,” your life will start doing the same.
  3.  Next time you see a gap in your schedule, rather than filling it with the first available option, keep it open and see what happens. You might just be surprised by the magic that awaits you in the space.

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