Sunday, December 13, 2009

Do Whatcha Say Day

I entered into an agreement with a friend last week that, on the surface, seemed simple. I would plan my morning, state my commitments and do what I said. Simple? Not exactly.

We began with an 8 o'clock phone call and I listed the things I would accomplish before nine. At nine, I was to email her and let her know what I had achieved and what the next hour would include. We agreed to check in via email each hour and then conclude with a debriefing phone call around 1 pm.

Here's what I noticed. I am not great at gauging how long tasks will take. I boldly declared I would do a 30 minute workout when in reality, it turned into more like 15 minutes if I was lucky. There were a couple phone calls that I didn't plan for that ate up the time.

Then, I also noticed that my concept of "take a shower" was faulty. I assumed I could handle that in 15 minutes. Maybe the actual water falling on my head part, but not the whole brush my teeth, find another tp roll, apply makeup, pick out clothes, fix hair part. I am not an overly fussy person when it comes to my "toilette" in the morning, but 15 minutes just didn't cut it - even for my minimal swish, swish with a mascara wand.

While on the elliptical I could feel my anxiety levels rising with my heart rate. Hurry, hurry, hurry ... my heart beat seemed to drum. Then, the most beautiful red-headed woodpecker I've ever seen landed on the dogwood outside my exercise room window and I remembered to "tarry a while".

That single natural beauty reminded me that "Do Whatcha Say Day" was about strength and commitment, not worry and anxiety. From that point on, I said what I was going to do, I did it and it felt fabulous. If I encountered anything unexpected, I didn't freak, I just realigned and kept going.

What was the best for me about the day was the feeling of having every moment matter. I was not harried or rushed, but I was purposeful and on track. I took on jobs that I had been avoiding and I did a LOT more than I ever would have if I had been tackling the day on my own. Checking in with my friend made me feel supported and connected.

There is a basic way to keep your integrity on a "Do Whatcha Say Day" - if you have any doubt at all about your ability to complete a task .... don't say you'll do it. Overpromising is a North American disease. I even went so far as to underpromise. If I said I would finish the laundry, it felt especially nice to not only complete that task, but tack on the additional one of putting all the clothes away. If I gave myself 30 minutes to complete something that only took 10, that was a good feeling. The reverse situation is unnerving and knocks your confidence.

One thing that I am certain of ... doing what you say means you have a life of integrity. I can commit to that. In fact, I think I'll just say it .... I am committed to doing what I say ... now I have to do it.

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