The butterfly counts not months but moments

“The butterfly counts not months but moments, and has time enough.”

—Rabindranath Tagore, Bengali winner of the 1913 Nobel Prize in Literature

Close-up image of a butterfly

Image from Unsplash by Boris Smokrovic

The life cycle of a butterfly has four stages: Egg, Caterpillar, Pupa, and Adult.

Surprisingly, most adult butterflies live only one or two weeks, but some species hibernate during the winter and may live several months.

Whether their lives are weeks or months long, time to fulfill their purpose is short for these remarkable and beautiful creatures. They must somehow be conscious to this fact and see the importance and urgency of not wasting a single moment.

EXERCISE:

How can and will you cherish every moment of your life, and take coaching from the butterfly to transform your world?

Timing is Everything

“Timing is everything. It is as important to know when as to know how.”

—Arnold Glasow, 20th Century American Humor Writer

Image from Unsplash by Andrik Langfield Petrides

Many people, including myself, are information junkies. We have varying levels of addiction to resources such as “How To” books, YouTube videos, TED Talks, and other forms of media, which build on our mountains of knowledge.

Recently, Daniel Pink published his newest book, titled WHEN – The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing. This book sheds light on the importance of knowing when to:

  • Schedule your most important work
  • Incorporate breaks and even naps in your day
  • Change jobs
  • Get married
  • Start or end a project
  • Do analytic versus creative tasks

EXERCISE:

Consider picking up a copy of WHEN right now, to discover some of your own secrets of your own perfect timing.

Regret for Time Wasted

“Regret for time wasted can become a power for good in the time that remains.”

—Arthur Brisbane, 20th Century American Newspaper Editor

Image from Unsplash by Matthew Henry

How many more years do you expect to live, given your current health status and general life expectancy statistics?

How delighted, satisfied, disappointed or regretful are you regarding your current levels of professional and personal accomplishments?

I’ve found that virtually everyone I coach has a heightened sense of urgency, wanting to squeeze even more out of the time they have remaining.

For whatever the reason, they often seek out the support of a coaching relationship to achieve more, at a faster rate, than they have experienced up to the current moment.

EXERCISE:

The time we all have on this earth is limited. How will you maximize the use of what remains in order to achieve the success and significance you desire?

To the Wrongs that Need Resistance

“To the wrongs that need resistance, to the rights that need assistance, to the future in the distance, give yourself.”

—Carrie Chapman Catt, 20th Century American Women’s Suffrage Leader

Image of Carrie Chapman Catt & her quote

I love the idea that time is the Coin of Life. How we spend this precious resource, and those with which we spend it, makes all the difference in the world.

Fundamental to living a happy life is the need for purpose and having a reason to leap out of bed each morning. In other words, what are we giving ourselves to each day?

EXERCISE:

Consider these questions as you create and pursue your future:

What “wrongs” in your world need resisting?
What “rights” or causes need your assistance?

Feel free to reply to this post regarding the areas of life you intend to give more of yourself.

Trying to Impress Others

“The time men spend in trying to impress others, they could spend in doing the things by which others would be impressed.”

—Frank Romer, History Professor

Image of 80/20 rule

Image from Social Media Today

If we were to apply the 80/20 rule to today’s quote, it might go something like this:

“80 percent of the effort we put into impressing others creates 20 percent of the value we hope to produce.”

Although it seems pretty wasteful, many people put far too much effort in dressing for success than they should. Perhaps it is because these surface-only pursuits take less time and effort to make us look good. Unfortunately, they rarely produce the deep and significant outcomes we desire.

Consider shopping for a major purchase such as a home or a vehicle as a metaphor. Without a doubt, you would surely get a complete home inspection, or definitely look under the hood before making this kind of investment.

EXERCISE:

How can and will you flip the 80/20 rule to your benefit by taking more substantive actions to provide the valuable outcomes you desire, and likely impress others as a side benefit?

Your Best Day at Work

“What does your best day at work look like?”

—Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook

Image of a woman with a laptop and some papers

What do you typically say when someone asks, “How was your day?”

I usually hear phrases such as, “Not Bad,” “it was OK,” “Pretty Good,” “Awful, Stressful, Chaotic.”

From time to time I also hear from those super-positive, optimistic, people glowing with excitement and enthusiasm about how great their day has been.

How often do you actually believe those folks?

Today’s quote asks us to visualize our best days so we have a benchmark or a beacon of what is possible for the activity in which we spend most of our waking hours.

EXERCISE:

Identify what frustrates you and exacerbates your workdays.

Identify the parts of your day in which you feel energized and strong, when you may even lose track of time.

Given your answers, how can you modify or redesign your day to include less of the first and more of the second?

Applying this exercise on a daily basis for yourself and those in your company can be critical to both individual and organizational success, and a more fulfilling life.

Mindfulness Gives You Time

“Mindfulness gives you time. Time gives you choices. Choices, skillfully made, lead to freedom.”

—Bhante Henepolo Gunaratana, Sri Lankan Buddhist monk

Image of a pink flower with "Mindfulness" above it

We’ve all heard the phrase, “The choices we make make us.”

Do you agree? Perhaps if we were all able to make even better choices, we would experience the freedom and fulfillment of an even more wonderful life.

Today’s quote suggests that through increased mindfulness and greater self awareness we can all find time to make better, more discerning choices about how we spend this precious resource.

EXERCISE:

How can and will you invest a bit more time on a daily basis to strengthen and build your mindfulness muscle?

If you are new to such practices, consider starting with 5 minutes in the morning or evening in a practice such as meditation, gratitude reflection, or some form of life review, to enhance this skill.

When You Take Your TIme, You Save Time

“When you take your time, you save time.”

—Author Unknown

Image of a watch in a glass bottle

Image from Stepping Stones

How are your investments doing these days? This past year? Since you began your personal investment plans?

What has been the return on your investments?

Given the tangibility and objectivity of money and its ability to be exchanged for products and services, you probably know this number reasonably well.

Time, on the other hand, is a bit more elusive, in that it is often far more difficult to determine exactly how well we spend it. One of my other favorite quotes on this topic is Time is the Coin of Life, suggesting its great importance to our overall success and satisfaction.

Today’s quote coaches us to be far more intentional and thoughtful in our decisions to allocate our time and energies. In doing so, it suggests, we will actually save time by not making poor decisions, false starts, or initiatives that may not optimally serve our visions and values.

EXERCISE:

Where and in what ways can and will you slow down and spend your time more wisely, in order to save time for those most prized and valued activities in your life?

Never too Late to Learn

“It is never too late to learn to be on time.”

—Author Unknown

Image of a swirling clock

Image from Flickr by cea+

Time seems to fly these days, whether or not you are having fun. The pace of life has quickened, jamming our calendars, and stretching our schedules to the limit.

Unfortunately, these challenges come with some negative consequences in the form of emotional, physical, and social stressors.

How do you feel when you expect to be late, or miss an important commitment or deadline? How do you feel when family, friends, or work colleagues keep you waiting or don’t fulfill their promises? What does it cost you, and is it worth the price?

EXERCISE:

How and in what ways can you simplify your personal and professional worlds by reducing or eliminating the commitments that are simply not a priority? How can these changes provide you the added buffer to not only be on time, but fulfill virtually all of your personal and professional commitments?

Now is the ideal time

“NOW is the ideal time.”

—Author Unknown

Clock with "Make Time for What Matters" written on it

Image from LinkedIn

The first thing that came to my mind when reading today’s quote was, “For What?”

If we stopped there, we would simply be puzzled for a moment and then get on with our day. That, of course, is not the purpose of The Quotable Coach series!

It is powerful statements and the questions they generate that make us do the work of personal inquiry. We then reap the rewards of discovery through what can be revealing responses.

EXERCISE:

Examine your “For What?” answer as it relates to the following areas. Then take at least one step or leap outside your comfort zone to act upon it:

  • An important relationship
  • A work-related matter
  • Your health and fitness
  • Life balance
  • Your finances
  • Faith or spirituality
  • Community
  • A hobby or avocation
  • Travel and Adventure

Feel free to add to this list and let me know what other areas you identified.