Is the architecture of your attention and intention fundamentally productive?
Bettering our relationship to our own energy isn’t just another new year’s resolution.
It’s a mental, physical, emotional and spiritual imperative. When we choose to invest our most valuable efforts fighting all those foolish, noisy and absurd battles, then there won’t be any fuel left for what matters most.
The shadow of stress will crowd out meaning, and our lives will feel empty and exhausting.
This is the secret to personal productivity and fulfillment nobody talks about. That it has nothing to do with time and labor and everything to do with attention and intention.
Here’s a shining case study of this principle. My company once hired a brilliant and enthusiastic salesperson who ended up rescinding her offer after her first day on the job.
One day, can you believe it?
As it happens, another sales position that she previously applied for finally made an offer, and the role was too good of an opportunity to pass up. She emailed us her resignation later that night, and was never heard from again.
Now, how might you have respond in that situation? There are three possible options in my experience, as it pertains to attention and intention.
First, you could take it personally. Interpret the woman’s ghosting as an affront to your values, an insult to your company culture and a harbinger for more awful things to come. Clearly you haven’t built an organization worth joining, and this rejection is only the first in a long line of people whose life mission is to spit in your ugly face.
The second option is to grow bitter and vindictive, projecting blame onto the salesperson herself. Deciding that this woman is a greedy careerist wench who wouldn’t know a good job if bit her in the ass, and curse her name to the entire internet until she learns her lesson. She will live to regret the day she crossed you.
The third option is to step back and ask the question, why is this a great problem for me? Believe it or not, those were my boss’s actual words when our new salesperson resigned. She told the entire team, look, considering the fact that we are going through a recession, and our startup is still in business and profitable, plus we haven’t had to layoff a single employee over the past year, this inconvenience isn’t the worst thing that could happen.
Yes, it’s disappointing and deflating we lost our new hire. And yes, now we have to spend time and money going out and interviewing more candidates. But in the grand scheme of things, this is a good problem for us. Few companies right now have the luxury to be in our position.
Now that’s what you call attention and intention. My boss demonstrated a profoundly healthy relationship to her own energy. She proved that her response to rejection wasn’t just a mental, physical, emotional and spiritual imperative, but also an organizational one. Had she picked option one or two and wasted her breath fighting a pointless battle, you imagine what that would have done to company morale.
How effectively are you balancing the vital few and the trivial many? Are you still operating on the assumption that working harder and longer is better?
Perhaps it’s time to better your relationship to your own energy. Because frankly, that’s all you have.
All of your amazing skills, assets, ideas and projects won’t do you any bit of good without quality fuel behind them.
Is the daily architecture of your attention and intention fundamentally productive?
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