What Do You Get To Do Today?
Today's ezine is a reprise issue, with a new call to action at the end.
Have To or Get To?
Somewhere between jumping into the shower, grabbing a cup of coffee, and running out the door, it happens. Your mind scans the next 24 hours: What do I have to do today? While it's perfectly fine to plan the day with this question, I offer you an alternate to use. It's one I pull out of my pocket whenever I notice I'm starting the day with my feet dragging or spirits lagging. I simply change one word: What do I get to do today.
How You Frame It
Genuinely consider the question: What do I get to do today? What are you still young enough to do or, finally old enough to do? What are you free to do? Asking in this manner elevates even the most ordinary activities. It sets you up to be more appreciative and reminds you of the deeper reason behind some of your choices.
Even if you are dreading the idea of handling something at work today, you might find yourself answering the "get to" question with: I get to collaborate with Steve on an interesting project. I get to help Robin solve a problem. Granted, if your answers consistently fall short of a weighty-enough why, it may be time you did something about it, but that's a different article, so stay with me on how this technique can help you frame this day.
To give you another example, if your day includes some amount of running around to various appointments, think about what the "get to" is. I get to pick up fresh clothes from the dry cleaners. I get to take care of myself by going to the dentist. I get to spend time with my daughter. I get to help out a friend.
The "what do I get to do today" question reminds me of an article I wrote years ago about Christopher Reeve who, once paralyzed, learned to begin each day by asking, "What's the plan today?" Instead of worrying about what the future held, the question he used kept him focused on a more manageable portion - the present day.
It's all how you frame it and switching up that verb will produce different answers:
What do I...
Transform Your Experience
In the Current of Life library when this article originally ran, I categorized it under Gratitude. I could have placed it just as easily under Motivation, which is where today's version can be found. It's important to realize this connection, that gratitude can fuel motivation.
A few days after broadcasting this article in November 2011, I was out with my father, taking him to get a medical scan. We stopped for a quick cup of coffee at Dunkin' Donuts even though we were anxious to get back to my mother and didn't want to leave her alone for too long. Dad ordered one of his favorites: a French Cruller. It was a rather chilly day but we sat at an outside table anyway, with our coffee too hot to drink.
Dad said he was sorry I had to drive him around to so many doctor appointments. Knowing he had read my article, I shook my head and said: This is on my get-to-do list. He gave me a full smile and our eyes held.
He died just three and a half weeks later. Having told my father that he was on my get-to-do list and the way he received that message is a deeply cherished memory of mine.
Today, I get to write something for you, in the hope that it will make a difference in how you see things. I am grateful for that opportunity. What do you get to do today?
This Week's Call To Action:
- Whether as part of a gratitude practice or as a form of motivation, use this frame as often as you can.
- Let someone know that they're a get-to-do.
Change your frame. Transform your experience.
See you in the current,
(1) The original version of this article was published on November 15, 2011 and filed here.
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