COLUMN: Today Matters

Each year, I select a theme or a verse for the year as a foundational focus for the year. Several years ago, I chose Ephesians 5:16 which talks about making the best use of our time. It is interesting that over 2000 years ago that people had to be urged to make the best use of their time. Whether we are talking about our work environments or our personal lives, it is clearly a challenge for many of us today as well. How many opportunities are missed because we are held captive by something from our past? How many opportunities are missed because of an unhealthy fixation of the future or fear of the unknown? How much of our life/performance is impacted with distractions that impact our focus on meaningful actions?

The following suggestions address each of these possibilities for you or your organization: Captivity by our past: We all have a past that provides all types of memories. Some of those memories will be positive, but others will likely include regrets over decisions we made or actions we took. Our ability to learn from our past but not allow it to cripple our future is so key to an individual or to an organization. Every decision we make should either lead to success or learning; sometimes both. We can fail at something and not be a failure. An individual’s ability to take these learnings and apply them to future decisions and behavior can be beneficial and have a positive impact. The key here is to learn and let go. Today matters!

Fear of the future: Individuals and organizations alike should spend time planning for the future. This planning will have different levels of complexity based on the individual or organization; however, an unhealthy fixation or fear of the future can be harmful. A clear vision of our future condition should be directly related to our current actions. Far too many people miss the connection of current actions impacting future condition. Similarly, rather than allowing an unknown future to negatively impact us, that unknown future should motivate us to make the most of what we do know – today. The key here is to focus on what we know and connect current actions to future condition. Today matters!

Distractions: We live in a world that offers more potential distractions than probably any time in history. The various social media outlets and other aspects of technology can be distractions for people of all ages. These distractions impact individuals and organizations. Those that can avoid the distractions and exercise some level of mental or physical discipline will experience
better performance and more achievement. Avoiding these distractions is a difference maker in our society. People that can make the best use of the time will impact more, produce more, experience more, and reach their potential (both individually and professionally). The key here is to have a plan for the day and execute that plan. Today matters!

Regardless of your current situation or the condition of your organization, we all have today in common. Learn from the past. Take actions today that will favorably impact the future. Make the most of today. Today matters!