How to do it all

My earlier post, Survey: How do you do it all? has stirred quite a bit of conversation around the topic of getting it all done while living in excellence. It was my hope that people would offer their advice about what works for them.

Initially, I catered it to the 40+ crowd, but then I realized that success is subjective and it shouldn’t be about any one demographic. With 29 comments to-date—a record for my blog—it’s obviously a conversation that is of interest to you too, and one that I hope to continue.

By the way, if you haven’t contributed to the conversation, I invite you to jump in. You don’t have to be perfect nor have some letters after your name. I’m simply interested in knowing what’s worked for you.

Here’s a snapshot of some of my favorite replies so far…

“If we had it to do again, we’d spend less money on ‘stuff’, save more, and travel more to experience our country and our world.” —Liz Jenkins

“I never really leveraged my time to become all that I wanted to be. I leveraged my time so that my husband and children could become all that THEY wanted to be. And – to that end – I have been outrageously successful.” —CeCe Dubois

“The answer for me is “I can do it all—just not at the same time.” —Maria Keckler

Rhythms of life are vital. If you work to maintain rhythm, somehow everything seems more doable. … Intimacy with God and others. I’ve found a dearth of this practice in my own life and others, especially Christian leaders. This intimacy is the key to a satisfying life. I’ve made my work, my hobbies, my ego, my food, alcohol, sex and many more things my lover. But, there is only one who can truly bring you fulfillment and meet your deepest needs. God wants to be your lover. He wants to seduce you to intimacy with him. Have you ever had a time with God as good as your most wildest sexual moment? if not, you are not alone. Search for this type intimacy with God with all your body and soul. I have found that a true love affair with God spreads to all others in my life.” —Randy Elrod

“The other thing I’ve wrestled with – and finally given into – is an early-to-bed, early-to-rise schedule. You know me – I’m a night owl to the core. Even with 2 young kids it’s still so hard for me to go to bed early, even harder for me to wake up at 5 AM. But, wow, what a difference it has made. As I’ve studied history and found my heroes, I’ve realized that none of them were undisciplined.” —Jim Cowart

Finally, Mark Maxwell, a entertainment lawyer, friend and elder at New Song Christian Fellowship, wrote a very insightful and compelling reply on his Facebook page. There are 16, yes 16 points, to his reply and I compel you to read every one of them. It is chock-full of wisdom and very timely. In case you don’t make it over, here are a few of my favorites…

I have chosen to keep my work time at a very controlled level. I strongly defend the boundaries between my work life and home time. I don’t believe I have ever lost or disappointed a client due to this firm commitment.

The foundation for serving well is my commitment to pray for my clients on a weekly basis. (This is my version of a Monday morning staff meeting). This by far is my very best time investment concerning my business.In my view, “networking” as it is traditionally thought of, is a four letter word. I am convinced that humility, love, genuine concern, and interest in others is the best business marketing plan for my law practice. “Networking” is generally concerned with what I may gain or receive from others, whereas God’s kingdom principles are based upon sowing, serving and giving to others. I have intentionally rejected the notion of “potential” client “networking” lunches. When it comes to lunch meetings, my goal has been to simply hear from the Lord — who might need some time with me — who might need some encouragement this month — or, who might I share some mutual dreams and kingdom visions with over a meal. Typically, this leads to a great lunch experience with an old or new friend. The person with whom I have connected usually does not become a client. But, like clockwork, 4 to 6 months later, I will get a marvelous new client referral from that very lunch partner. This happens again and again for me.

Finally, discontentment can impact everything you do. I truly only enjoy about 50% about the tasks that are laid before me in any given week. But, I have learned that if I truly focus on my clients and not my own needs and concerns, then the daily routines of my law practice that are unpleasant or stressful or tedious become miraculously invisible.

I am discovering that there are scores of people, just like me, who struggle to live life well. I believe that if those, who have gone before us, will share what they know, it could help me and my generation(s) to avoid the mistakes that have already cost you so much. Sure, some things are better learned in real-time, but guidance and support along the way can give us the assurance and strength we need when encountering the unknown.

For those of you who have already joined the conversation, thank you. For those of you who are about to jump in, please do, and thank you.

Here’s to learning!

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