Jessica Soroky continues her series Leadership is a Choice.
My priorities used to be controlled by the world around me but now I control my priorities – that is freedom.
I responded to the thing or person that was making the most noise. On the drop of a hat I would completely alter my plans, focus, and attention. The more this took place the more frustrated I would get. I blamed the thing or person who changed my plans, then blasted my frustration in their direction.
‘They made me’ I thought.
We’ve all been there – you have a great night planned with your loved one, a romantic dinner and a stroll or a Netflix binge with junk food. Then your boss emails and needs something ASAP. The boss don’t give a specific time or date but those four little letters—ASAP— cause panic and the desire to get it done 10 minutes ago.
It’s 5 o’clock and instead of preparing your things to leave for the day you sit back down and plug away at your computer. Your night is no longer about you but instead about this fire. Frustration and exhaustion sinks in as you finally pack your stuff up while you realize you only have 9 hours before you will be back in this building.
Fast forward weeks and months and this becomes such a dominant pattern you’ve all but given up planning romantic nights with your special person out of fear that you’ll once again be disappointed when it doesn’t happen.
You think ‘It’s all my job’s fault.’
If this describes you, then your priorities are likely controlling you.
Freedom comes when you control your priorities, when you throw away the blame and truly embrace your choice.
I realized how powerful this can be just this past weekend.
I took two days off work to move from Ohio to Indiana. This move has been stressful, complicated, entirely remote and one of the most exciting things I have ever done.
Anyone who has ever sold or purchased a home knows the long process it takes to do so. It is a job all in itself managing the move. Anyone who reads my blogs or knows me also knows how much I always have going on in my life. (I clearly love to attract chaos and hate attracting free time). The combination of these two things could have easily triggered my anxiety and caused behaviors that I have blogged about many times – behaviors I don’t want to experience again (or blog about again).
Instead I constantly (and consciously) chose how I was going to use my time each and every day. The key was to embrace my choices, and not allow guilt in. I took pride in my choice.
Instead of working 12-15 hours a day like I had the months before, I chose me and my sanity. I worked as hard as ever during normal business hours and when I left the office – I truly left. My work got done and when I couldn’t complete something that day I practiced true transparency and communicated with those dependent on my work regarding when it would be complete.
GUESS WHAT – no catastrophe happened!
I so often catch myself pumping my own ego by convincing myself that my work, if not done right away, will blow something up, ruin a program, or keep someone else from being able to accomplish their work.
Here’s the reality: I am not curing cancer, I am not saving lives, or preventing global warming. My work is important – it matters to me, to the companies I work for and to the team members I coach. BUT with the right level of transparency my world of work can keep spinning, I can keep delivering, I can keep my promises and not burn my candle at both ends.
Find out how I do this in Freedom is my Priority, Part 2.
Photo: FreeImages.com/matteo canessa
Jessica Soroky, CSM
Jessica is a Certified Scrum Master with over three years of practice in agile delivery and seven years of team leadership. She is also the youngest participant in The Leadership Gift™ Program and its growing worldwide community of leaders and coaches. After five years of nonprofit development through Nellie’s Catwalk for Kids, Jessica continues her leadership journey in state government, not-for-profit, and private sector leadership studies.