Your To-Do List & The Myth of Balance
I literally lived by my to-do list. I lived by it. I had a to-do list for my to-do list, and I'm a recovering balance addict, because I believe that if I could just get to this point of balance in my life, then, I could have the harmony. Then, I could have the peace. Then, I would be happy. Then, I wouldn't be stressed. Then, I wouldn't have the fear. Then, I could stop saying, "I don't know." Here's what the issue is with the to-do list and with this idea of balance is that what I've discovered on this journey is that they're killing our productivity. They're killing our productivity because here's the thing with to-do lists. We are all high achievers. We all have these goals. We all have these things that we're going to set, right? And our life get out of balance or we'll feel like things are just all over the place. We feel overwhelmed. We feel stressed. And so we'll do just enough self-help, whether it's a book or a webinar or a class, right? We'll talk to a friend. We'll do just e...
nough self-help to go, "Oh, my God. Balance is the key. Work-life balance. That's what I need." So now, we have a to-do list for work. We have a to-do list for our spiritual journey. We have a to-do list for our community service. Right? Now, we have a to-do list for our health plan. So instead of getting more balance, what ends up happening? We just have more to-do lists. We're stretched even thinner. We have more to do, and so we think, "Okay. Well, the problem is not the to-do list or the balance. The problem is I still got to reach the next goal or I got to reach the next goal. I'm just out of balance because I haven't figured out how to balance all of this." Right? "I'm still anxious because I haven't reached the next goal." And so we just stay on this hamster wheel. Or is this just me? Nobody else? Nobody else? That's just me? And what I discovered is no matter how much I try to figure it out through to-do lists and figure it out through this thing called balance that I was just drowning in more and more stress, more and more anxiety, more and more fear. I was getting farther and farther away from this thing that I thought I was working towards. And to be very honest, I was exhausted. I was depleted. But more importantly, I felt defeated because if balance is not the key and my to-do list is not it, then what is it? Then what is it? So I just got more and more depleted. I got more and more miserable. But here's the thing, guys. I had a really good life. It wasn't that my life was bad. I had so many friends and colleagues that had these really good careers. They had these really great things going on. And for me, I started questioning, "How can things be this good and this bad all at the same time?" And I started having this reality right here. "How can I feel so empty when my life is so full?" Because I was busy. How many of you guys are busy? Yeah, but are you productive? Are you productive? So I was busy, and I was busy, and I was going, and I was going, and I was doing, and I was doing. And I realized that I was just empty. I was just really, really empty. So the problem that I started to discover is this to-do list and this idea of balance was supposed to lead me to something that it wasn't leading me to. And so I went on this discovery of this thing called balance, and I started realizing that balance is not the answer! Balance is not the answer because what the to-do list and the balance is supposed to do is it's supposed to lead me to this thing that I knew was underneath it all. And I started to really start to understand that I needed some tools and some resources, but it wasn't about this thing called balance. But guys, my early manuscripts for my book, my early manuscripts for this whole journey was all about balance because I thought that was the answer. It had to be. How could it not be about balance? How could it not be about work-life balance? And so, I just had to really start assessing, "If balance is not it, then what is it?" So what I want to challenge you guys with today is I'm not going to give you a whole bunch of tools and resources about how to get balance, how to get better at a to-do list. I'm not even going to give you tools and resources that's going to "give you steps." That's not what I'm here to do. What I'm here to do is shift your entire paradigm. I'm here to shift your entire paradigm. I'm here because I want to give you a whole new way of seeing and being because if I give you tools, it still is just going to be like me and that to-do list. It's just going to give you another thing to do, but the doing is not the problem. Everybody in here knows how to do. I want to shift the paradigm in how you see and how you be. And what I have discovered, the magic to it all, is that at the end of the day, everything we're doing, every career we chose, every career we're shifting to, every family member we want to be around, every friend that we want to enjoy the company of, every hobby that we start, everything that we do, everything we do is trying to lead us to something. And what I have come to discover that that something is is peace. At the core of it all, it's about peace. Everything we're pursuing at the end of the day is trying to lead us to this place of peace. That's why balance isn't the answer. Balance was supposed to be the gateway to the peace. The to-do list is supposed to help us get accomplished so that we get to the peace. So what I found is over 25 years of my own journey and working with so many other people just like you in this room, is at the core of everything, we wanted peace. When we choose peace as our priority, when we really tap into where our real strength and power is, that's when we're able to truly make any decision. That's when we're able to release the things that are weighing us down. That's when we're able to focus on the things that are most important. That's when we're able to make the decisions that we keep saying, "I don't know" about is when we tap into that peace. I had a situation happen this morning. Things happen. It's just beyond your control. Stuff happens. The only thing that I could control was my peace in the situation. That's the only thing that we really have control over is the decision internally on how we're going to be settled and how we're going to go into where our real power is. And what I found is our real power is in that peace.