I had a fun conversation about life with a young teen yesterday. At some point in that conversation we talked about what its like to run my own company. He seemed pretty intrigued. I could see his eyes light up, I could tell thoughts were racing in his head, I even noticed that little smirk when he finally had his next question.
He looked at me, with a very serious face, and asked “Since owning your own company what have you learned that has helped you in life outside the business”? I looked back at him, impressed with his question selection but at the same time thinking WOW that’s a helluva question from such a young guy. I really had to think on this one. So much so, that I said lets come back to that one. We talked for about 10 more minutes and then he circled back to his question. He wanted to know if I had an answer yet. To be honest, I was caught up in our previous 10 minutes of conversation and didn’t even think to give his original question much more attention.
This time I said let me think for a second. I thought for a bit, than it hit me. Time! Time, that’s what I learned. I blurted my answer out like I was the teen and he was the business owner who I was trying to impress. My answer wasn’t then end of that question though. He wanted more. How has time helped you, he asked.
I explained, running this company I’ve learned what my time is worth and to value its use. He said, oh cool so now you understand time is money. I let him know that’s not quite what I meant. I wanted him to understand I agree with that ” time is money” phrase but what I’ve learned is more than that.
I let him know I’ve become very selective on what I do with my time inside and outside the company. I went in detail to explain, you know me as this guy who runs his own Occupational Health & Safety and DOT Training and Compliance consulting company. I also own and run another company where I manage and train professional fighters. I currently have a fighter who just fought this last weekend and his now 2 – 0 with 2 KOs. I expect to add two more fighters to the team later this year. I’m married and my wife and I, both with busy schedules as she is a Registered Nurse, try to make time for each other several times through out the month. I’m a dad with two kids still living at home. They are both in school, they both play sports, and they both kinda “demand” their daddy time.
Let’s add in last year I made a commitment to get much healthier. That includes sleep, diet, and lots of workouts. I’m also determined to work with teens and young adults such as yourself to use my life experience and influence to assist in helping mode this World’s next Leaders and Role Models.
Now let’s go back to time. I asked him, with that much on my plate, what can’t I afford to do? He looked at me slightly confused but like he had an answer. I encouraged him to blurt it out. He said, you can’t afford to fail. I smile and said that’s very true but not exactly what I was looking for. I told him, I couldn’t afford to waste time. He smiled back like I get it. I get it!
I went a little further and explained, I’m not saying I don’t explore new things, try to have fun, or just sit and do nothing at times. I’m saying, I’ve learned to be very selective on what I give my time and energy to. I’m getting better at understanding things that are worth my time investment outside of work and those that are night.
To me, time is an investment. We can’t get time back but I’d like to get a return on my investment. This in many cases is not money in return. The return could be my own happiness, making someone’s day, the smile on a kids face from getting to meet one of my fighters, etc.
We all use the phrase “time is money”. The difference between the two is you can get more money if you waste it but that wasted time you will never get back. So if you can take anything from my babbling, your time is yours. Make sure you are the one in charge of what you spend it on.
Better yet, try to “spend” time it less and “invest” it more.