Have you ever fought the war of selfless vs. selfish?
As in, wanting to give freely but also wanting to do what you want?
You can get so many requests that call for your attention and try to pull you away from not only your own tasks, but even just how to enjoy life. It can be overwhelming and even detrimental. You can want to help anyone and serve everyone and do everything. But you can also want to simply have time to spend with your kids or go on that lifelong dream trip or just workout for an hour each day.
When I read “Thoughtfully Ruthless” by Val Wright, I realized those two words gave form to ideas I had believed in for some time. Life is about balance. It’s about working hard and playing hard. In Wright’s words, it’s about being thoughtfully ruthless.
To sum it up as best I can, Wright’s book is how to work efficiently and effectively while maintaining a healthy balance in all areas of your life. She speaks of being thoughtfully ruthless in your time, energy and resources. For example, not only is Wright ruthless with business meetings and her email, but she is also ruthless with her gym time; she will make it a priority because she knows how positively a workout can affect the rest of her day.
Personally, I took away some solid nuggets from the book I wanted to share with you in hope that you too can become thoughtfully ruthless:
Don’t open and read email unless you can respond to it. I am terrible at this. If I’m away from my computer, I will open an email, read it and then mark it as “Unread” so I can properly respond to it later. What a waste of time and what a bad email habit! I now refuse to check my email unless I can aptly respond to it. Also, Wright mentioned checking email after hours, something else I often find myself doing. But her point was sharp: By responding after hours, you’re giving people an expectation. They will expect you to respond at all times. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want people to think they can just email me whenever and I’ll respond.
My lunchtime CrossFit workout has become part of my daily schedule and is now something I can say I am thoughtfully ruthless about. I will schedule meetings and calls around it. I will ask people, “Can we pick this up when I return from CrossFit?” I keep extra gym clothes in my bag just in case I forget to pack something; I’ve even borrowed a pair of shoes because I don’t want to miss my workout. I’ve realized that not only is my health important, but the energy I receive from working out helps my productivity in the office. Wright gave me the words to describe how I protect that workout time.
Another hard one for me. Growing up, I viewed humility – in a very radical sense – to be the right way. However, even radical humility can become selfish if you really think about it. Wright shared that by knowing your brilliance and value, you will be able to demonstrate both. In fact, she mentioned to me in a previous interview that Nadia Shatila, the owner of CrossFit Belltown, is excellent at this. By knowing your brilliance, you will understand your strengths, where you are going and what you need in order to be thoughtfully ruthless in your life.