Friday, January 31, 2020

Busy or Full?

As Dave and I entered the bistro for happy hour, the place was full. There were no empty barstools, and the only way to get half-priced drinks and pizza is to sit at the bar. As we were about leave, a guy stood up and called out, “Dave!” It was Peter—a guy whom Dave hadn’t seen in about five years. In that time both of them have experienced a few years of retirement.

Naturally Dave asked Peter, “What are you doing with your time?” Peter laughed and said, “I’m busier than hell. I don’t know what I’m doing all day, but I’m busy.” My ears perked up. I was waiting for more. What does “busier than hell” look like? But that was it. I didn’t learn anything about what Peter is doing, especially nothing that might bring satisfaction and fulfillment to this next stage of life. Being busy was good enough.

What if we stopped giving credit to “busy?” As best-seller author and blogger Seth Godin states, “No points for busy. Points for successful prioritization. Points for efficiency and productivity. Points for doing work that matters. No points for busy.”

So, what’s the alternative to living a busy life? The alternative is to be intentional about creating a full life. A full life represents your core values and life essentials. A full life leaves room—because you’re not so busy—for unexpected opportunities and happenstance to enter your life.

The next time you’re asked, “What are you doing with your time?” try answering, “I’m creating a full life.” And then go on to explain what this means to you. The conversation will be much more interesting and engaging than “I’m busier than hell.”

Copyright 2020. Patrice Jenkins. All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, January 9, 2020


Over the holidays I visited my dad in New Hampshire. As I drove across Vermont, I noticed many of the lakes had frozen over. And out on the lakes a few people were ice fishing. To me, it seems crazy to stand on a frozen lake, in sub-zero degree weather, huddled around a little hole in the ice. So why do people do it? It’s the anticipation of a bite that keeps them there for hours.


Author Bob Goff, in his new 365-day journal, Live in Grace. Live in Love, encourages readers to “live a life of constant anticipation.”  This means we stop playing it safe. We strive for something more—something that “might be a big success or an epic failure.” We do it anyway because living with anticipation awakens our senses, builds hope, and gives us a reason to get out of bed in the morning.

What does living a life of constant anticipation look like and how do we do it?

Start with imagining 2020 being the year that something great takes place in your life. What would you like to happen? To come up with ideas, revisit past dreams and goals. Look ahead to the story you want to tell on your 90th birthday party. Think big. Think bold. (It’s too late to play it safe.)

Next, get out your fishing pole (figuratively) and get ready to cast a line.

Think of at least one step or action that if you do it will move you in the direction of what you want to create. You might not feel like you are ready to do it—we never feel ready no matter how much preparation we have. Now, cast the line. Send an email. Make a phone call. Do the research. Make the cast big enough that you are not sure you can reel it in or that the line will hold.

Once you make your cast, you’re not finished. My dad loves to fish so I have been out with him on Lake Winnipesaukee several times (in the summer—no ice fishing for me!) I’ve noticed he will have three or four lines going at once. But he doesn’t just cast his lines and sit back and eat lunch. He periodically gives each line a “jig” to keep it active. Hence, the fish are reminded this is live bait and so they are drawn to it.

The same is true for the lines you cast. Unless you’re looking for a reason to fail, tend your lines. Keep them alive. Give them a jig. Follow up with a phone call, send another email, contact a person who may help you to get a bite.

Authors Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander, in their book The Art of Possibility, advocate for viewing life from the “universe of possibility” where you set the context and let life unfold. By sending a cast and tending your lines, you’re setting the context for something to happen. You’re living a life of constant anticipation.

Copyright 2020. Patrice Jenkins. All Rights Reserved.