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Making Good on My Promise

Making Good on My Promise

September 11, 2008

The memorial services are over. The politicians have returned to business as usual. And the media is no longer talking about the seven year anniversary of 9/11.

So how much progress have we really made? I'm not talking about the progress we've made on rebuilding the World Trade Centers or how well we're now prepared to protect ourselves against another terrorist attack (still got your duct tape and plastic ready?!).

I'm talking instead about the progress we've made on the promises we made to ourselves the days following the 9/11 attacks.

Each one of us made them. To this day, as I'm talking to clients, friends, associates and the thousands of people I meet at my seminars and speeches, they all tell me that on 9/11/2001 they just wanted to be close to the people that mattered most to them. We pulled our children out of school just so we could hug them and make sure they were safe. We left our offices to return to the safety of our home. We called friends (if we got through!) just to make sure they were okay. We called family around the country and the world just to tell them that we love them.

The promise ...

We also made a promise to spend more time with our family and to spend more time doing the things that matter most. Life is too short.

For a while, I remember things did seem a bit different. People were more polite. We all seemed to be in this together. And we actually did make more time for our families.

How long did that last? I know to this day, I still wrestle with trying to spend more time with my wife and five children.

Worn-out and frustrated business owners ask me all the time: "Can you really be successful in your career and still spend the time you want with your family?"

Absolutely!

In my experience, people want money to buy them time with their families. If they work harder, they'll make more money and then they'll be able to spend more time doing the things they enjoy most. "If I only I had more money ...," we tell ourselves.

Have you ever met someone who lost a huge amount of weight and thought their life would be so much better, but come to find out that it wasn't the weight that was holding them back? They got into the same jams whether they were skinny or not.

What I've found is that most people don't have a clear direction in mind. They're not sure where they want to go with their life so they end up rushing to try to accomplish what seems to be most important at that moment. Isn't it amazing that what we thought was so important last week isn't even a priority this week? Our families get short-changed and we can't even remember what was so important that we had to work late!

Here's a tool to help you keep that promise

The key is to identify what's most important to you and visualize how you would accomplish those things that matter most. Create a mental picture for yourself and you'll begin to see yourself doing the things that really matter. For many of us, that picture gets replaced with a snapshot of what's most pressing. What we need is a better, longer-lasting picture!

To help you, I'm going to lead you on a meditation or what some call a "guided imagery". We'll start with the end in mind. Imagine for a moment it's your 90th birthday! You've lived a long and wonderful life and you've still got great health, you stay busy and you still have your independence.

Your family has surprised you with the biggest party you've ever experienced. You thought it was just going to be a few people. They rented a banquet hall to make sure there was enough room for everyone! They're all there to honor you and your life. Four people have been asked to talk about your life and what you've meant to them.

What would they think? What woud they really say?

The first one to speak is a member of your family. What would this person THINK about you in his or her heart? (Notice I said "think". Don't concentrate on what the person may say because he or she may say things publicly just to be nice. So what would the person really think about you?)

Next, a friend stands to speak. What would he or she think?

Then a co-worker rises to speak. What would he or she think?

Finally, someone who knows you well spiritually gets set to speak. This could be someone from your church, your synagogue, your temple ... this could even be G-d or the "Universal Being" speaking. What would he or she think?

With those thoughts in mind, if you had one year from today, what is that you would like to do that you're not doing now?

Keep that picture in your mind. Describe what the picture would look like. Write it down so you can keep it in front of you. You'll be surprised at how well this will help you visualize what matters most to you. It's helped me and I hope it helps you too.

You'll soon find yourself making good on that promise you once made.

Taking you from where you are to where you want to go,

Jon