Time and attention are all we have–Are you giving it to the right people?

Recently, we saw a quote circulating on social media saying, “If you or I die tonight, there might be ten people who will care deeply for 10-15 days. Focus on those people.” Admittedly this sounds dark, but it is also an extremely helpful rubric to help us gut check how we are spending our time. 

Frequently in our Leadership Roundtable and consulting workshops, we challenge our participants to envision their life in its final days. What does it literally look like? Who are you surrounded by and what are you doing? 

Most answers involve a beloved destination, doing an activity they enjoy, and spending time with the people they love most. If you back that up to the present day, “doing an activity you enjoy” means you need to be making decisions today that keep you physically capable of doing what you love to do at the end of your life. So, exercising, eating right, and taking care of your body in general can become a much more clear priority to help you make your vision a reality. 

You can apply that same logic to the people who captivate your thoughts and time on a daily basis. Are you wasting your time on acquaintanceships that do not serve you or your family? Are you spending too much time with organizations or groups that might be prestigious but do not fill you up? 

It is physically impossible to go deep with hundreds of people, so why are you trying? Social media is a negative influence in this area, making it seem like you should be focusing on quantity versus quality. But if you don’t go deep with people, you will end up living a shallow life. 

Are you known to people or are you lonely in a crowd?

Being known to a small group of people means having deep connections through relationships that take time. Ultimately, your goal should be to leave a positive impact and a permanent mark on their lives. That takes intensive time, energy, and investment–relationships are never efficient. But it will also yield the biggest rewards in the relationships and impact you have on the world.

If we are going to live a drama-free life, we have to live a “rich in relationships” life. Don’t give your life up for those people who aren’t going to care that you are gone.