During this Christmas season, it is so easy to lose ourselves to the stress and pressures of all the hustle and bustle. There is nothing new or remotely unique about the above statement. We all know and admit that Christmas time is too busy, that depression increases, and that most people can’t wait for this “very special time of year” to end so that we can all get back into our regular routine.
Christmas is really not the problem. We are always too busy. We constantly jam back our days, mistakenly thinking that productivity is a measure of how many different things we got done. Christmas time simply highlights an ongoing problem with our thoughts and expectations. We think that being busy equals being successful. When these thoughts come head to head with Christmas, a time for family, peace, and new beginnings; conflict arises. Christmas time asks us to take a step back in order to fellowship with friends and family, take our eyes off ourselves and think about what others want and need, and prepare ourselves for the coming new year. Instead of actually taking the time to enjoy a moment of rest and rejuvenation with friends and family, we just throw in a few parties, Christmas pageants, and hastily bought gifts into our already hectic lives.
It is not that Christmas time is that much busier than the rest of the year, but Christmas forces us to make a choice between quality and quantity. Christmas forces us to open our eyes to just how busy we really are. The bigger issue is that according to our own expectations a meeting of friends and family becomes an annoyance because it gets in the way of our bigger plans. We stress over having to show others that we care because we have to stop thinking about our own schemes for a while. We dread having to detour our lives for a few moments to celebrate and rest because we fear what slowing down could mean.
As business owners and leaders, there is an important lesson to learn from Christmas. If we are too busy to care one week out of the year, even one day out of 365, what are we really representing? If we are too busy to stop and enjoy some quality time with friends for just a few hours, what other kinds of decisions are we making? Christmas shows our true priorities, and honestly, they are not good ones. As business owners, we have to realize the difference between busy and productivity, if we are too busy to care during Christmas, then what is happing the rest of the year.
Are we too busy to actually be productive? YES. Productivity is a matter of efficiency and proficiency, it is about the quality of what we produce, not shear capacity. Your production line may be operating at 100% but what are you producing; lasting relationships, loyal employees, and higher moral standards? What about your personal production line? Do people know you take the time to engage and care or is life and the people around you just a blur? As business leaders, we have the opportunity to set our own standards and expectations. To date, we have not chosen well, but that can change.
This Christmas Season take some time to really reflect on what is important in life and in your business. Our business and our life both share a common ground; they both reflect our true heart. The way that we act, live and run our business is all we have for a lasting legacy. What’s our legacy going to say about us personally, about us as businessmen and women, about us as the human race? Are we really too busy for a party, and if we are what kind of life is that? This Christmas it is time to reevaluate what we do and who we are. Let’s make 2012 the year of higher standards and better lives. Business has always changed the world; let’s just make sure we are changing it for the better.