Executive Coach Executive CoachExecutive Coach
Scott Eblin offers his take on lessons in the news and his advice on your pressing leadership questions.

What Are You More Likely to Remember?

ARCHIVES
mj007/Shutterstock.com

So the original plan for this past weekend was to get caught up on some work while my wife, Diane, was away at a conference in Las Vegas. To some degree, that was the plan for both of us. We have a couple of big new projects coming on line so Diane took her computer with her and planned on doing some work in the evenings as well.

And that’s pretty much how Friday night went down. She had dinner, played roulette for an hour or so and went back to her room to work on our website. Meanwhile, I was in our apartment in Los Angeles clearing out emails and other tasks while an HBO documentary on Sinatra played in the background. It was when Diane and I had a good night FaceTime call later in the evening that I knew that could not stand.

After we were done talking, I asked myself, “Do you really want to be doing this again tomorrow night when you could be hanging out in Vegas with the love of your life?” The answer was easy and obvious -- hell, no. Then the little voice inside my head countered with, “Yeah, but there’s so much work to do.” Of course, there’s always going to be so much work to do. More in any given week than I could do even if there were three of me.

The conversation inside my head ended when I asked myself, “What are you more likely to remember 10 or 20 years from now? A weekend at home grinding out the work or driving over to Las Vegas, surprising your wife and hanging out with her?” The answer was a no-brainer. So, just after lunch on Saturday, I got into the car and drove to Vegas to get there as Diane’s conference meetings were ending at 5 pm. Just as I was I pulling into the parking garage at the hotel, I got a text message from her.

Here’s the exchange we had as I was walking from the garage into the hotel with the mission of finding and surprising her:

Diane: What are you doing?

Me: Hanging around.

Diane: Around what?

Me: The usual. What are you doing?

Diane: I’m walking around the casino.

Me: Are you going to play a game?

Diane: Not now. Maybe later or maybe not. Just need to move. They have this cool fountain here.

Me: In the casino?

Diane: Yes in the middle. People throw money in it. Best odds.

Me: Odds of what?

Diane: Knowing you’re not getting your money back.

Me: Ha ha. So I see the fountain but I don’t see you. Where are you?

Diane: What are you talking about? I’m not at the fountain.

Me: So where are you?

Diane: Wait, what?

Scott: Where are you right now?

So, it turned out she was about 10 yards away from the fountain and was super surprised (in a good way!) to see me. We had a fantastic rest of the afternoon and evening including the moment in front of the fountains at the Bellagio where the low-quality selfie that accompanies this post was taken.

Even for someone who’s written a book called Overworked and Overwhelmed, it’s all too easy to just put your head down and your foot on the gas and keep working when it feels like there’s so much to do. Here’s the thing -- there’s always going to be so much to do. I’m grateful that in a moment of mindfulness this past weekend, I asked myself, “What are you more likely to remember?” and made the right choice in that moment.

It’s a question that worked for me that might work for you too. That’s why I wanted to share it.

(Image via mj007/Shutterstock.com)

Executive coach Scott Eblin’s goal is to help you succeed at the next level of leadership. Throughout the week, he’ll offer his take on the leadership lessons in the news and his advice on your most pressing leadership questions. A former government executive, Scott is a graduate of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and is the author of The Next Level: What Insiders Know About Executive Success.

FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec