Making Time for the Truly Important Things in Life

Self-Awareness 101 Episode 8: Making Time For What's Truly Important

Willard discusses how important making time is and how we need to take time out of our busy lives to connect with those important to us. He describes how a recent email he received changed the way he approaches this forever. This Episode is dedicated to Nancy McKowen.

< EP 7: Two Most Powerful Words                 EP 9: Expectations and Desires > 

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A little over a week before filming this episode, I was on my way into NYC, and the tone on my blackberry went off to let me know that I had an email.

Now, I don't know about you, but up until 1992, I had never touched a computer and I swore I wouldn't. Today I have two laptops, two desktops, and I walk around with a blackberry strapped to my side.

I bought into the whole idea that technology was going to make life easier and that it was going to help me stay connected. Actually, what I have personally found is that it has just given me more time, to be busier.

I don't know if it’s the same for you, maybe it’s just me. But, I've actually become less connected with the people and the things that are most important to me because of technology allowing me to do more "things". I really have tried making time to stay connected. At least twice a year, I will do a mass email to pretty much everyone in my address book. Just an email reaching out to say, "Hey, I haven't seen or heard from you in a while. I wanted to reconnect and see if we can commit to staying in touch more." Sometimes on a long drive, I'll go through my cell phone book making time to call people to try and connect; sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. But I was always able to say "I tried".

I do realize that as we go through this journey in life, that people will enter our lives for a reason, a season or a lifetime. Many of you may have become aware of an email that goes around describing how the people who come into our lives don't always stay as long as we like. Some are around for only a reason; helping us learn something about ourselves, or we are helping them learn something about themselves.

Some people enter our lives for a season; where we help each other grow and transition. Then a small number actually stay with us for a lifetime. I do actually understand that some of those people in my address book are no longer on that part of the journey with me. We have connected for a specific experience, and that time has passed.

The reason that we're shooting this episode today is the email that I got that morning on my way to work was about the passing of a very dear friend. Somebody who, for whatever reasons, fell off that list of things that were important enough to make sure I was staying connected with.

The person was Nancy McKowen. She was very important person, in a very unique circle of friends that I connected with between 1998 and around 2000. This group of friends did some amazing things. We all supported each other in a spectacular growth period. We supported each other, and we reached out to support our communities. I can say that everyone who was in that circle made quantum leaps in our own personal and spiritual development because of the support that we gave each other and the experiences we shared.

Then about five years ago I ended up moving from New Jersey where this group was located back to Pennsylvania and fell out of contact with a lot of people. I mean, when I lived in NJ I would see these people weekly. We were always making time to do something together, meetings, book discussions, charitable causes and just hanging out. After I moved back to PA these gatherings became less frequent. I think the last contact I had with Nancy was probably five years ago. Don't get me wrong, I understand these things happen.

It was just that in the email they told me that she had been struggling with cancer for quite some time. As I went through the day I struggled with a lot of different emotions, and I couldn't figure out why. I'm pretty grounded in my Spiritual beliefs, and when someone passes, even a close relative or friend, I'm not usually shaken up. Then I had a realization of what was bothering me so much. It was that I was not making time and had dropped the ball on what's truly important to me.

I've had some great accomplishments in my life. I've succeeded in many areas and overcome a lot of things. And we've all heard the saying that when a person gets to the last moment of their lives it’s not about the successes they had or the money they earned. It's about the relationships that they nurtured. It's about the moments they shared with loved ones. It's about the times they spent actually "living" life. The email about Nancy's passing drove that home for me.

So, what did I learn from that experience?

Well, for me I've decided that I'm raising my standards of making time for what is important and how I'm going to stay in contact or at least let the people in my life who are important to me, know that they are. I'm making time to make sure that those emails individually go out, rather than a mass email, weekly. I'm going to make phone calls weekly. I'm stepping up my commitment because these people are what's important in my life, and I want to let them know. Even if I don't hear back from them; them reaching back to me... that's not the point. This is not about them reciprocating. It is about me reaching out to let other people know that they're important.

In the past, whenever I've sent those emails or made those phone calls, I had this belief system that said if I don't hear back, it was okay. I'd say to myself, "I know they care, and they know I care, we're just... busy."

That excuse isn't good enough anymore for me. I need to make sure that I let the people know that they are important. I'm making sure that I make the time, and what I would like to ask you to do for yourself and those that you care about, is to have you ask yourself, "What can I do today, to let the people who are important to me know that they are?" Not to just assume they know, but really let them know that you care. What is something you can do to connect with them?

I hope you don't have to have the same experience I have had with the loss of a very dear friend to make you realize the need for making time for what is important.

We dedicate this episode to Nancy McKowen.

Thanks and we look forward to seeing you again soon.

Dedicated to Nancy Marie McKowen
8-8-1960 to 5-9-2009

Thank you for bringing love and light to this world.

Love and Respect


< EP 7: Two Most Powerful Words                 EP 9: Expectations and Desires > 

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Self-Awareness 101 Series with Transcription Plus

Introduction To Self-Awareness 101:  To Inspire, Educate and Empower
SA 101 Episode 1:  The Importance of Developing Self-Awareness 
SA 101 Episode 2:  How to Truly Learn from Mistakes
SA 101 Episode 3:  To Soar, I Needed To Let Go Of The Past
SA 101 Episode 4:  The Meaning That We Give Things
SA 101 Episode 5:  Kind Words And Good Deeds Are Eternal
SA 101 Episode 6:  Life Begins At The End Of Your Comfort Zone
SA 101 Episode 7:  Two Most Powerful Words You'll Ever Say
SA 101 Episode 8:  Making Time For What's Truly Important
SA 101 Episode 9:  Expectations and Desires About How It Ought To Be
SA 101 Episode 10:  Tap Into The Sources Of The Universe
SA 101 Episode 11:  The Four Agreements
SA 101 Episode 12:  Courage-Being Scared But Saddling Up Anyways
SA 101 Episode 13:  The Power Of Belief Systems
SA 101 Episode 14:  Change Is Inevitable, Growth Is Optional
SA 101 Episode 15:  Establishing Personal Boundaries; It's OK To Say No
SA 101 Episode 16:  Encountering External Resistance To Change
SA 101 Episode 17:  Creating A Supportive Environment
SA 101 Episode 18:  Our Decisions Determine Who We Become
SA 101 Episode 19:  Personal Development Tests
SA 101 Episode 20:  A List Of Excuses Vs. Results
SA 101 Episode 21:  The Meaning Of Honesty
SA 101 Episode 22:  Living In Gratitude
SA 101 Episode 23:  Repetitive Patterns
SA 101 Episode 24:  Non-Verbal Cues
SA 101 Episode 25:  Be Brave Enough To Accept The Help Of Others
SA 101 Episode 26:  Positive Thoughts And Positive Intentions
SA 101 Episode 27:  Active Listening Skills
SA 101 Episode 28:  How Self-Awareness Relates To Spirituality
SA 101 Episode 29:  Positive Affirmations 
SA 101 Episode 30:  Basic Meditation Exercises
SA 101 Episode 31:  Personal Development At Work
SA 101 Episode 32:  Toxic Shame
SA 101 Episode 33:  Eliminating Clutter
SA 101 Episode 34:  How To Forgive Others
SA 101 Episode 35:  Self-Forgiveness
SA 101 Episode 36:  Deepening Self-Awareness
SA 101 Episode 37:  What Is Fear?
SA 101 Episode 38:  How To Overcome Fear
SA 101 Episode 39:  Dealing With Your Anger
SA 101 Episode 40:  How To Find Your Passion
SA 101 Episode 41:  Increasing Your Self-Awareness
SA 101 Episode 42:  How To Feel Deserving
SA 101 Episode 43:  How To Be A Humble Observer
SA 101 Episode 44:  Progress Not Perfection
SA 101 Episode 45:  Expectations And Perfectionism
SA 101 Episode 46:  Dealing With Anger
SA 101 Episode 47:  Taking Responsibility For Yourself
SA 101 Episode 48:  Achieving Higher Consciousness
SA 101 Episode 49:  Trust Life
SA 101 Episode 50:  Being Skeptical
SA 101 Episode 51:  Benefits Of Closure
SA 101 Episode 52:  The Final Episode

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