The Only Two Lists That Matter.Posted: May 21, 2009
Cause sometimes you just feel tired
You feel weak
And when you feel weak, you feel like you wanna just give up
But you gotta search within you
Try to find that inner strength and just pull that s**t out of you
And get that motivation to not give up
And not be a quitter
No matter how bad you wanna just fall flat on your face and collapse.
-‘Till I Collapse, Eminem
What drives you? Beyond money or prestige, what is the underlying root of your efforts? Do you have them written down?
Alan Weber, of Harvard Business Publishing, advises in his article, Three Rules for These Times, keeping two lists. First, lay out what gets you up in the morning. Second, lay out what keeps you up at night.
Weber suggests these lists will help you define your inner motivations and hindereances. In the context of the business world (for which his article is meant for) he states:
“Managers and leaders have got to know themselves before they know their businesses. They’ve got to have passion for their work and concern for their world. Otherwise they’re just punching the time clock and risking everyone’s future.”
His article however can be applied beyond the business world. We are all essentially managers, mangers of (insert your name) Inc. You are the CEO, CFO, CMO, and general counsel (for the J.D.’s) of You Inc.
Regardless of your field, knowing yourself, specifically what motivates you is a crucial component to a fulfilling professional and social life.
That being said, I drafted up quick lists over lunch yesterday.
What gets A.J. up in the morning:
- 4 am workouts (the only free time outside of lunch that I have)
- New opportunities.
- New challenges.
What keeps A.J. up at night:
- Searching for new a job.
- Catching up on a show, reading , or writing.
- Catching up with family and friends.
- Thinking of ways to build my bank account.
- Thinking about my career in the long-term.
- My personal life (sometimes).
(Note: The items on list #2 don’t keep me up all night, but at varying times they are on my mind when I hit the sheets.)
As you can see the things that “keep me up at night” are pretty evenly divided between professional and social. While over these past months I’ve put in a lot of hours at the Capitol, I still have sought balance where I could (though nothing is ever exactly 50/50). I like that what gets me up is a short list. I think that’s indicative of the fact that my main motivations, challenge and opportunity, encapsulate many aspects of my life. I’m not saying my life isn’t complicated at times, but on a macro-level I’m pretty streamlined.
What kind of lists are you coming up with?