Last week’s adventure proved a very telling story when forming perspective. I invite you to join along.
I Get to….
I Have to….
I headed to New York City last week on business. A trip I’ve made many, many times. I left Wednesday morning and as customary for any time I leave, there is a slight feeling of loneliness and abandonment (from my wife). I hate it. Every time. I’m sure she wouldn’t believe me telling you this, but sometimes I selfishly feel like it’s harder on me. At least she gets to be there with our son Landon. Sorry honey.
I’m wishing I was there. I’m missing putting my son to bed. I’m remorseful of her doing all the work on her own. None of this is easy, and deserves a hero’s thank you to my wife or any wife who has a similar challenge.
This is where I personally have to make a choice. Put yourself in my shoes and tell me how this feels. Same exact scenario: entirely different mindset.
I HAVE TO…
I HAVE TO go to New York. I HAVE TO go there, to meet some people to hopefully advance our team’s opportunities and all along, I’m away from my family (which I love). I HAVE TO deal with a day of travel there and a day of travel back. The traffic is horrendous and it takes forever to get anywhere on time. The people are usually less than pleasant. I HAVE TO stay in a hotel where I know no one and try to find my way around this mega city. I HAVE TO make these few days go fast. Who wants to deal with this?
Lets take a look at the other perspective.
I GET TO…
I GET TO got to New York City. I GET TO go there to: meet terrific new people, work with Fortune 100 brands, try new and fabulous food, experience a vibrant city culture (albeit for a few days) and have a blast doing it. I GET TO be at an exclusive Samsung event where I will be one of only a few hundred people to see their newest devices before they hit stores. I GET TO be in New York City, the center of the media universe. I GET TO scope out all the cool places I can take my wife this fall when we make the trip together. Thanks to technology, I GET TO FaceTime my wife and son every night and at least for a few moments pretend I’m in the same room they are. I GET TO make the most of this opportunity, because when I do, I know it will pay off. Who wouldn’t want this?
You may be wondering, where did this come from? The answer: Thomas Edison.
I heard this story a couple weeks ago while listening to a podcast. One night while retiring home to his family the brilliant inventor was interrupted by an urgent guest banging at his door. His factory and research lab was ablaze and couldn’t be stopped by fire departments in the surrounding 8 communities. His inventions destroyed. His life’s work in the factory would vanish in the form of smoke and ash. What did Thomas do? Would he panic? Would he burst into tears because his life’s work was certainly destroyed?
He said the following,
Come along quickly kids. You won’t ever see a fire like this again in your life!
The facts of the matter were as follows according to Mr. Edison. The factory needed cleaning anyway. There were numerous piles of scrap and debris that would no longer be a nuisance. Furthermore, the fire was like no other fire ever witnessed. The unique blend of chemicals and scientific compounds made for a six story inferno with some of the most lively colors a fire could ever produce. He wasn’t going to stop the fire, why not make the most of it while it burned.
I GET TO vs. I HAVE TO
Working on your perspective and mindset is like bathing. You don’t have to do it every day, but those around you sure appreciate it when you do.
ACTION ITEM: Next time you’re on the “Woe is me” train, consider your Get to vs. Have to mindset. If you’re still stuck, imagine someone else who would desperately love to have the same opportunity.
Blog bonus: here are a few shots I took from the Samsung Unpacked Event in NYC