I remember distinctly the day my husband and I took my mom to lunch for her birthday. He was driving and I, like a good Southern daughter, always let my mom ride in the front. We were newly married so I was staying out of the conversation, letting them get to know each other. In the backseat, I half-listened as I responded to emails from my phone, stressing about how long I was going to be gone from work.
My husband: “Do you like going to lunch?”
My mom: “Oh yes! Tammy (my sister) used to go with me once a week, but her work schedule changed and she can’t go now. Brittany (my niece) used to go with me on Mondays, but she moved to North Carolina. And Laney works so much, I know she is too busy. So I don’t really have anyone to go with now.”
My heart stopped. Because it’s true!
My mom is the nicest, most polite person I know. Her comments were completely innocent, yet horrifically true. I realized in that moment that the mantra I’d been chanting for so many years (Thanks, but I can’t, I’m too busy) was so constant that people no longer engaged me, or had expectations of me; they simply knew I was too busy and moved on. Seriously, my mom never even asked me to lunch because she knew the answer – I’d love to but I’m too busy.
And it happens at every level. As I’m typing this I’m watching a piece about Urban Meyer on “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel.” He says, “I was in the gym watching my beautiful daughter stand up to accept a volleyball scholarship, and she says, ‘Thank you mom for always being there and dad, you weren’t there but I love you too.’ And wow, it hit me – it happened – I wasn’t there. I’d coached a team to the national championship, but I wasn’t there when my daughter was growing up. ”
So what if you weren’t too busy? Or too whatever? We all have our things – those things that pop out of our mouths before we even consider something. I’m not going to call them excuses, because they are real. Heck, I have a 19-month-old son, a husband, I own two businesses, etc., etc., etc. I AM busy. But what if that wasn’t my “go to” response, even inside my head to myself, before I really considered something? Because you know what, there are people out there doing the things I dream of, even as small as taking my mom to lunch, with three kids, or three jobs!
So I’m challenging myself: for the next month I’m not allowed to say “I’m too busy.” Now, will that make me magically un-busy? Of course not. But it will make me consider how to live in a world of “and” instead of “or.” Maybe I can take my mom to lunch AND still run two businesses. Maybe I can volunteer at the children’s home AND have a young son at home who needs me there. Sometimes, maybe not. But I’d rather have considered how to do it and tried to make it work than to have turned away the opportunity without even a thought or, even worse, without having even been asked because people know “I’m too busy.” Because I have tons of tools and insight into how to take things off my plate, say no, and focus manage myself. Yet I still find myself in the “I’m too busy” world. Is it habit? Is it subconscious? Am I hiding from something? Something isn’t resonating within me and the only way you can see what’s not working is to look truthfully at yourself. So, I’m pulling away the cover of “I’m too busy.”
What’s your mantra? Your go to? What are people NOT asking you or offering you because they already know the answer you’ve given them so many times?
We’ll see how the next month goes. Will it make me un-busy? No. But will it make me start really, really seeing what I’m missing and what I’m blind to because of my all-too-common response.
And I refuse to die and have my tombstone read, “Here lies Laney, she was too busy.”
A common area business owners know people aren’t telling them the truth about is their hiring skills. Most business owners just aren’t good at it and while they may not know exactly what what’s off in their process (or lack of process) they know it isn’t working. For help reach out to us and learn more about our Smart Hire Solution Process.
By Laney Lyons