Remember to STOP!

CatalinaYesterday our family STOPPED.  We’ve been trying to find a day for us ALL to get together to celebrate my parents birthday’s, which are at the beginning of the year.  Now, 8 months later, we finally figured out how to make it work. One person had to skip school, one person took a vacation day, another moved work around, others moved projects to another day, some worked ahead, but in the end, all 7 of us (My family of 5 and my parents) were able to carve out 12 hours to just be together.

We spent the day on an island off the coast of California, Catalina Island.  We enjoyed the boat ride over and back, we enjoy the fish and chips for lunch. We explored the island, we enjoyed the boat ride to see the fish through the glass bottom boat, we had ice cream, we walked the streets.  It was a great day.

While the time on Catalina Island was great, the best part was simply being together:  casual conversations, laughing together, listening to each other, just BE-ING.

My wife and I commented that this was the real treasure of the day:  12 hours together…. no distractions, no obligations, no schedule, no expectations.

Why did it take 8 months to find a 12-hour window in which we were all available?  Because we’re busy.  Because we all run in different directions. Because we live spread out.  Because there are really important and good things going on.

But when you STOP, you remember what’s important.

This doesn’t mean that we haven’t had good time throughout the year together.  We have… in small doses, in different environments, at different times.

This one took some effort and it was worth every minute of it!

When was the last time you truly “STOPPED” and did something intentional?

When was the last time you FOUGHT to have some time with people who you value?

When was the last time you said NO to something really urgent in order to do something that was really important?

We all need to do this more.

I need this.

Here are some simple thoughts on learning how to STOP:

* Take inventory of your schedule.  Plan ahead to set time aside to STOP.  Plan ahead for this, which sometimes requires you to work longer and more creatively.  It’s worth the extra effort.

* Don’t just “assume” that it will happen.  We often wait for it to happen.  Many times it doesn’t.  Make it happen.

* Don’t spend so much energy on what you’ll be DOING.  Focus on the BE-ING.

* Communicate the importance of this to those that need to know.  Let people know that this is a priority for you.

* Always be working towards this.  Whether it’s with family, friends or new relationships, work towards this.

I challenge you today to try this.  It doesn’t have to be a huge thing! Just do it.

The amazing thing is that when you address this side of your personal needs, it helps you to become better.  A better leader, a better spouse, a better parent, a better friend.  Just better.

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