Why do some people get more things done and are more successful than others? I think they’re just better jugglers.
Picture a juggler with many balls in the air, some are rubber, but some are made of glass. That’s what real life is like.
Trust me, the juggler knows if they were to miss a rubber ball, it wouldn’t be the end of the world—the rubber ball will bounce, and they can pick it back up again.
However, if they miss a glass ball, it will not bounce. It’ll break and be lost for good.
A skilled juggler focuses on the glass balls. Yet in our lives, we often focus on rubber balls. These are the tasks or projects that, while important, are usually easier to accomplish and not necessarily critical. In spending our energy and time working on “rubber ball tasks,” we can become “sloppy busy,” feeling productive, even when we’re not.
To get more done, focus time and energy on things of critical importance: the glass balls in your life. Remember, the more distracted you are by the rubber balls, the chances increase you’ll miss a glass ball, which will cause an even bigger problem.
It’s usually not a question of knowledge; we know what tasks and projects are critical. Yet we avoid them because they are not easy. As a coach of mine used to say during a hard practice, “If it were easy, everyone would do it!” – Thank you, Bill!
Here are the three things causing us to avoid focusing on those “glass balls” which we absolutely cannot drop, and tips to get past them.
- HARD CONVERSATIONS – Paying attention to what’s most critical in our lives will often require having hard conversations with someone. We dread those conversations because we’re uncertain how the other person will react. Yet no one benefits when you put these conversations off. Take the step you need and have the conversation. You may be anxious the 24 hours before you talk, but you’ll be glad you did.
TIP: Accept that the talk may or may not go well. But in having the conversation, you will have started the process toward a resolution, making things easier next time.
For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. (2 Timothy 1:7)
- FEAR OF FAILURE – We procrastinate, waiting for the perfect time or conditions, because we don’t want to fail or face criticism. We seek perfection in an imperfect world. Failing is unavoidable. It’s how you get good at something. In every failure is a valuable life lesson. You don’t have to be afraid.
TIP: It’s better to be 80% ready—moving forward and adjusting as needed—than waiting to be 100% ready. That day will never come.
If you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get anything done. (Ecclesiastes 11:4 TLB)
- ACCEPTING THE STATUS QUO – Focusing on a critical issue will upset the status quo in your life, making it either better or worse. Things will never be the same. Interestingly we usually assume the worst, which scares us into staying where we are. We prefer “the devil we know” instead of seeking something better. Don’t forget, it might be better than you ever imagined.
TIP: Focus your energy on how things could be better by addressing the issue instead of the pain of change.
But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead… Philippians 3:13
Keep on juggling. Remember, it’s okay to drop the rubber balls. Instead, focus on the glass balls!