Sports minded or not, most can discern the difference between offense and defense in the sports arena. However, the offense and defense I am referring to is more about how you run your life than how you play on the field. Consider the day-to-day interactions that you have with the people in your life. Ask yourself, are you someone who is prepared for the day or consistently trying to keep up? When having a conversation with someone, are you present and in the moment, or do you find yourself drifting, half listening, half thinking what you will respond with or what they might say next? When there is a problem, is your first response to figure out where the problem is, or to worry, hope and create that it’s not your fault? The answers to these questions can reveal a good bit about how you are running your life.

A while ago my coach had me fill out a questionnaire designed to help me assess how I was running my life. Aside from the intended outcome, that simple exercise revealed much more than I could have imagined. She gave me 8-10 provocative questions, most of which I answered fairly easily but the first, which theoretically should have been pretty easy, was the most significant. She asked me to name 10 things that I had wanted to do in the past year but hadn’t done. Initially, this stumped me because for the most part I pretty much do the things that I want to do, but wanting to be a good student I thought about it for days. Then, I walked into my office at home to get something, looked around and it dawned on me now here is something I have wanted to do for at least five years and haven’t…organize my office. Then I got on a roll answering the question…organize my home office, organize my office at work, clean the garage, go through the old clothes that no longer fit my daughter, organize my closet, etc. I am guessing this may be a common list for many of us.

Later she asked what I felt was the significance of this organizational issue was and after a few excuses I explained that every morning I thought about what absolutely had to be done and if I completed those tasks, I counted the day as a success. So, what kind of energy do you think that generates, she gently prodded. Then I got it! When you run your life by the seat of your pants, you are saying to the universe I am full with all I can handle. Don’t give me one more thing to deal with. Now for some, that may be fine but if you are someone who is trying to create your dreams, living your life on the defense leaves no room for creating what you want. You end up pedaling as fast as you can just to keep up. I was living my life on the defense and totally unaware of it. So, I went on an organizational binge- mostly on trust. The effects were so unusual that if I weren’t experiencing them, you would have had a hard time convincing me that they were happening. My life went from consistently worrying about what I was forgetting to having time to create, spend more time with my family and friends, and feeling a whole lot more peaceful despite the same hectic schedule that I have always had. It was like magic. Then something even better began to happen. I seemed that my whole world was on my team. I went on vacation and when I came back one of the women on my staff greeted me with having cleaned and organized the entire x-ray storage room (also one of those projects that was 5+ years overdue). The thing that was significant about that was that my staff had absolutely no idea that I was doing this “organize my life” project.

So, if it feels appropriate I would ask you to take some time and evaluate what side of the field you are on. Are you playing offense and at ease or defensively stressed? The rewards have been incredible for me and it has afforded me the time to write articles like this and a whole lot more.