Ever had someone take you through an exercise asking if you had # of days to live, what would you do?
I have, but nothing compares to being in that moment where you don’t know if you will have a next one.
Last weekend I was on the plane heading home from Mexico. We had started our descent into Vancouver but it seemed to be taking longer than usual.
The pilot gets on the loud speaker to make an announcement.
He says, “I would like to update you on a situation we have…”
Me: “Gulp! Oh that doesn’t sound good.”
The pilot proceeds to explain that the airplane’s flaps weren’t deploying and that we’ll still be landing, but it will be coming in much faster than normal. AND there will be emergency crews waiting for us on the ground, so don’t be alarmed.
He goes on to say “We train for situations like this.”
I had no idea what that meant, but it didn’t sound good.
My husband went on to explain (his dad did his PhD on airplane wing design) that without functional flaps, the plane could stall mid air while landing and basically drop like a hot potato. He said that the flaps also work as brakes so we would need the longest runway to land on in order to have enough time to STOP.
I honestly didn’t know what to think. “Are you we gonna be ok? Are we about to say goodbye? Should we call the kids?”
The plane was silent.
Everyone took out their phones and started texting loved ones.
My husband asked if I was worried, “Um yes!”
I asked him, “Are you?”
“A little bit.”
My mind started to spin.
Then my mind wondered to all the little to do items that were flooding my mind just 5 minutes before. None of them were really important in that moment.
I thought about how I was living my life. How I was showing up, how I have been as a mom, a wife, a daughter, a business owner, and how I have been as me, a person.
Then I thought of every single vanity metric we get caught up in….
The list size…
All suddenly were irrelevant.
And although it wasn’t my final moment, and our superstar pilot landed the plane that night, it gave me a big wake up call.
In that moment in the plane, all I could think of was my kids and what really mattered.
I could hear my little girl say “Mommy, I want to snuggle.”
And my reply, “Just a minute honey, mommy just needs to finish her work first.”
The very reason I started my business was to have more freedom so I could have more time with my kids but along the way my focus on the business grew.
Although I have pretty strong boundaries for the hours I work, when I respond to emails, and when I support my clients, it still hit me.
I’ve been selling my kids short of my presence.
Meaning I haven’t been giving them my full focus and attention when it’s family time instead my mind wanders into thinking about my business, my clients and the projects I have on the go.
This week I wanted to sit with how this will change things for me. Because there’s no sense in having a wake up call or lesson unless you are going to do something about it.
The biggest distraction? My phone. Pinging with reminders saying “Hello! Read me!” “Over here! Over here!” So time to put it away.
Our new house rule…
No phones after 4pm. No phones on family time. No phones in the bedroom. No phones on family excursions.
Just 100% presence.
Sure our minds are bound to wonder, but what if you could train yourself to observe those as fleeting thoughts versus digging into them, acting on them and losing sight of the very precious moments you spend having fun or being with your loved ones?
What if you had just one last day left to live?
What would you say?
What would you do?
How would you want to remembered?
And most of all, what would no longer matter?
Time to let that go and focus in on what matters most to you. And remember the bigger reason you are doing what you are doing.