If I could go back in a time machine and give Ten Years Ago Leighton some advice it would be this:
- Sleep whenever the heck you want while you still have the chance. The day is coming when you’ll have kids and that party will be over.
- Buy a ton of Apple stock. Leverage everything and buy tons.
With a lot more sleep and a lot more Apple stock, life would look much different today.
Oops, I forgot one thing I would tell Ten Years Ago Leighton. I’d tell him that the default answer when asked to serve on boards, committees, join civic groups, etc. ought to be “no” instead of “yes”.
I’m not saying don’t do that stuff, just that the default answer ought to be “no.”
For years, I said “yes” to a lot of stuff thinking it would help me be visible in the community or build my personal brand as a financial professional in my town. Whether I accomplished those things or not, I can’t say. I don’t necessarily feel like I have. I can say I’ve been very busy.
I have a vision of our family leading a relatively simple family life. I picture us being the weirdos because we’re not overloaded with activities. I imagine us dialing down the pace of family life by creating margin with the schedule.
We’re not there yet by a long shot. But that’s the picture I have in my mind.
A simple family life is one that is edited, or strategic, in terms of extracurricular commitments. What I’ve discovered is that it’s much, much easier to edit those commitments on the front end by saying “no” than by patiently seeing those commitments through or quitting midstream.
More than anything, I’d tell Ten Years Ago Leighton this:
When someone asks you to serve on ________, you’re going to discover that it’s easy to say yes. It’s easy to say yes because you’re a nice person and you don’t want to disappoint the person who is asking for your help.
If you’re giving up after-work hours for this commitment, you need to choose carefully. Your heart is at home.
Here’s the deal. The Rotary Club gets a new president every year. Board members serve a three year term for a nonprofit and then they roll off. A steady, ever-replenishing supply of great people steps up to do the good work of the community.
In other words, they don’t need me. They just need someone good.
It’s different at home. Mary Craig has one husband. My kids have one dad.
MC and the kids need me.
I think it’s probably best for now to give them everything I can and leave as many of the other extracurriculars as possible to other folks.
I’m picturing a lot more trips for ice cream and fewer budget spreadsheets this way. More tee-ball games in the yard and fewer fundraising campaigns.
And since I missed the first one, maybe I’ll have time to sit and figure out what the next Apple is.
How about you? What would you tell the Ten Years Ago version of yourself?