I’m a task-oriented, type-A personality. If given a choice between a to-do list and a get together, my internal gravitational pull isn’t to the party. But ultimately I love and value people more than the tasks on my lists. That means in order for me to be the person I want to be, I need some strong reminders in my life to prioritize relationships. I’ve found that being a Hero On A Mission (HOAM) is a tremendous help.
Case In Point
Yesterday I had lunch with my 20-year-old at Panera—his choice. As we sat across from each other at a small table by the window, we had a great conversation. He’s such a deep thinker. He’s very serious and a gentle soul. He is so interesting to talk to because of his depth of insight about so many things.
He’s just finishing his HOAM Life Plan and I was so proud of the progress he had made. I smiled and nodded as he shared how he was using his life plan. He identified some things that were getting in the way of being able to fully benefit from the work he’s done developing his vision statements and his goals. We brainstormed ways to make progress this week. As a dad it was so satisfying to see him growing into a young man right before my eyes.
And six months ago I would have probably missed out on this priceless moment!
You see, today was a very busy day. I had several meetings that required travel around the Fargo metro. As I filled out my HOAM Daily Planner Sheet I realized I didn’t have much time to accomplish the large number of things on my Secondary Task List (which is a HOAM way of saying To-Do List). In the past, my task first orientation would have pushed me into cranking out a couple of projects over the lunch hour.
But today I had read my Obituary and 10-Year, 5-Year, and 1-Year Vision Statements. In none of those documents that foreshadow the person I hope to become did it say I crank out tasks to the neglect of my kids. In fact, they encourage me to be more intentional about building strong relationships with my family and closest friends. So, when I wrote down what I’d do if I were living the day for a second time I wrote, “I would make sure I had lunch with my son.” And that’s exactly what I did. And I’m so glad.
Later that afternoon I spoke with another person who has recently developed her HOAM Life Plan. She told me her obituary helped her more than once this past week to remember who she wants to be, so when she was faced with trying circumstances, she was able to put people over tasks. To be there for a friend when that friend really needed it. To sacrifice some of her personal preferences to help her friend grieve a significant loss in her life.
It was gratifying to see her gratitude for the power that having written her aspirational obituary was having on her life when life was hard. That picture of the woman she wants to become many years from now was enabling her to prioritize loving and caring for her friends when it was really difficult to do.
My heart was nodding in agreement with her. I’d just spent a very meaningful lunch with my son when it would have been so easy to put it off because of the urgent cries of the tasks of life.