Great Days vs. Good Days
October 7, 2015 was a great day. It was unexpected.
It even took me a few days to understand why it was a great day.
How many of us wake up expecting to have a great day? How do we even know if we had a great day? Does knocking off a few items on your to do list count as a great day? For some that may be the case, but I would expect for most of us great days are few and far between.
I am not talking about good days or just okay days. I am talking about days where all is good in your world, you smiled with ease, you connected with others and you knew you were right where you should be, doing exactly what you were designed to do.
What if you could string great days together? That would lead to great weeks, then months and even years. I realize not every day is going to be a great day, but what if we understood completely what made a great day a great day? What would be possible for you, your work, your relationships and your life?
My great day actually started several months ago. I received a call from my former assistant basketball coach in college. He has been in the administration at East Central University in Ada, OK for the last 30 years, giving up coaching shortly after I arrived in 1984. Over the years he has kept in touch off and on, asking about my career and my family. I called him back and we had a great hour long conversation, after which he introduced me to the Dean of the Business School.
The dean asked if I was interested in talking to a few business classes to share my experiences in the business world since I left East Central almost 30 years ago. I said sure that would be great and since I was planning on being in Oklahoma to visit some college friends in October anyway (more on that later), I just needed to come out a day or two earlier to accommodate the day he wanted me to speak.
So I spent the next 8 weeks pondering what I would share with a bunch of 18 year old college freshman taking their first course in business and making plans to reconnect with a few college friends. For the last 3 years I have gone out to Oklahoma to see some friends over the OU/Texas football weekend. I don’t have any affinity for either team, but it is a good excuse to see some buddies and have something to do on that Saturday.
A Great Day
On October 7th, my good friend from college drove me to East Central. I had not been on campus in almost 30 years. Not much had changed, but there were several new buildings which were impressive and we relived some of our old haunts. I only attended East Central for 2.5 years, but I met my wife here and made some great friends.
We eventually pulled up to the new Business School building to meet up with the dean and prepare for the day. I was going to be speaking to 3 classes that morning. Afterwards, we were going to meet up with another friend over at the courthouse (he was now a judge) and catch up a bit.
Speaking to the students went well. I am not sure my stories resonated with all of them, but most paid attention, some didn’t and some even wrote down a few key points. We had lunch, met with my basketball coach again for an hour and headed over to the courthouse to catch up with our friend who was now a District Judge. (We are not exactly sure how that happened, but I was almost sure it was thru hard work and being a respected lawyer in the community for the last 25 years.)
We spent the next three hours reminiscing about old times, laughed until we cried, caught up on each other’s kids and enjoyed connecting again. Next thing we know it is 4:00 pm and we headed for the parking lot. We laughed some more, promised to stay in touch, but you could tell none of us wanted to leave.
Unfortunately, an hour later we parted ways.
We snapped this picture in the courtroom to document the moment. It had been awhile since we had been together in person and you could hardly separate the three of us while in college. There is not a memory in college that does not involve these two.
That was it. End of day. Nothing spectacular, we didn’t solve world hunger or invent a drug to cure cancer. Just me sharing a few stories and hopefully some wisdom with college freshmen and three close friends catching up and connecting.
Then why was I so content, happy and tired, but a good tired. Why was I smiling?
Why did I just think, that was a great day? But Why?
It took me a few days to pinpoint a much deeper answer than just spending time with friends.
Why was it a great day?
Because everything I did that day aligned perfectly with key values I have.
The key to great days is your ability to align your activities and your work with your values.
I am at a time in my life where giving back and sharing what I have learned with others is important to me. I value the ability to help others accelerate their learnings thru my experiences. Speaking to the business students amplified my value in this area. It was downright fun.
I value my friendships and I especially value my long term friendships where we have stay connected. My friends give me life and I was so thankful to be able to connect in person.
I value community and a bonus that day was re-connecting with my economics professor in college. He mentioned he was a big fly fisherman. Fly fishing in Oklahoma? He said he had to get creative. I told him to look me up if he comes to Colorado and I would take him fishing. I hope he does.
I feel like I got some of my community back that day. Thanks to my old basketball coach, who stayed in touch over the last 30 years.
So, what do you value? Have you done anything today to honor that value?
Let me give you a few ideas………..
If you value your health, go get some exercise today, even if it is a walk outside.
If you value your friendships, call one and set up lunch. Better yet, plan an adventure together.
If you value accomplishment, go get busy on that project you been thinking about.
If you value your immediate family, spend time with them in conversation or plan that next family activity.
If you value your extended family, go call your sister or your brother today. Better yet, go see them.
If you value your significant other, make dinner and tell them how much you appreciate them.
If you value hard work, go work hard on something that matters deeply to you and if you are not sure what that is, go work hard to figure that out.
If you value teamwork, go be the best teammate you can be today.
If you value the outdoors and nature – get outside every day.
If you value community, go build one.
If you value giving back, volunteer for an organization you believe in.
If you value work with meaning, go do meaningful work.
If you value every dollar you make, learn how to manage it wisely.
If you value learning, go get a book to read.
Most of all, pay attention to your great and even good days. Write down what made them great and go do that, again and again.
Do what you value and you too can start racking up a series of great days, weeks, months and years.
Now, wouldn’t that be the Good Life.
If you want to live more great days and not sure where to start – go here to my coaching page. Scroll to the bottom and request a lay of the land questionnaire. Complete it and I will schedule a complimentary session to get you started.