What Matters Most: Today or Tomorrow?

by Ken Mueller on July 8, 2013 · 12 comments

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2013 07 07 13.16.01 300x225 What Matters Most: Today or Tomorrow?We tend to live our lives in the future.

We clock in at work in the morning, and immediately begin thinking about clocking out at the end of day. We go to work on Monday, with our eyes on the prize: Friday.

Most of what we do in our businesses is planning for the next move, staying one step ahead of our customers, our competition, the economy. Much of what I write about here is about planning for the future; putting best practices into place that will make us more efficient and more profitable down the line.

But are we forgetting the here and now?

Yesterday morning I wished a happy birthday to a friend on Facebook who I haven’t seen in probably 30 or more years. We grew up together, and he married another friend from my childhood. I don’t know much about their lives right now, but what I do know is that years ago he battled, and beat, some form of brain cancer. In fact, if memory serves, he had several battles with cancer. Last November, his sister also beat cancer. She had battled breast cancer for some time and she won.

I’m thinking they both know how to live in the moment, and enjoy their todays.

I woke up on the morning of Independence Day and while walking the dog, noticed police tape and fire engines on a block just two blocks from my home. It turns out there was a fire overnight, and ultimately, seven people died. In talking to friends and reading the news, I learned that the owner of the home lost his life while trying to save others. The other six who died in the fire were all members of the same family; a homeless family that he had taken in, and who was set to move into their own apartment the following day.

The owner of the home didn’t give a thought to his own tomorrow. He was only worried about today, and helping to give others a better tomorrow.

I pick up the paper and I see news of a plane crash where miraculously only two people, as of this writing, lost their lives. But for those who survived, you can bet they’ll have a better understanding of what it means to live in the moment, enjoying their todays more fully, rather than worrying so much about the future.

I look at the unrest in Egypt and Turkey, and our business worries pale in comparison.

Will we meet our sales goals for the month? Will we come in under budget? Is the ROI of that marketing campaign the best it can be? How can we maintain that competitive edge over our customers? Will that item we need get delivered on time?

Focus on today and on your customers (and yes, employees). Enjoy today and every interaction you have with others as they are happening.

As I write this on Sunday morning, I’m getting ready to head out the door to drive to Philadelphia with my youngest son. His Fathers Day gift to me was tickets to a Phillies/Braves game. The Phils aren’t playing well, and it’s going to be incredibly hot and humid. I have work to do to prepare for teaching this week and for my clients. But you know what? I’m going to enjoy today. I’m going to focus on my time with my son and enjoy this incredible shared moment, regardless of whether the Phils win or lose.

All that other stuff will get done, but today – this moment – only happens once, and I’m going to enjoy it.

In your business, if you focus on your customers, you’ll be focusing on today, and they’ll notice.

Both today and tomorrow matter. But too often we waste today focusing or obsessing about tomorrow. And I have a feeling that if you focus on today, and really try to enjoy it, your tomorrow will be even better.

 What Matters Most: Today or Tomorrow?
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10 comments
krisbradley74
krisbradley74

I love this post.  Thank you for putting this on paper.  I try very hard to live in the moment, but it's often very hard, especially when the moment is very stressful.  

I was at the beach over the 4th of July, and I didn't get a chance to read the details of the fire, but knowing this now makes it that much sadder.

dbvickery
dbvickery

I've gotten better at "living in the now" as I've matured. I'm one of those guys who is always planning for the future - I literally knew when I was going to retire before I started by first day as a professional (I had my worksheet that showed if I worked "x" amount of years, and received "y" amount of salary increases with a "z" return on investment with the money I was going to sock away...then I'd be a wealthy man).

Life did not go according to that plan - and I've been abundantly blessed as a result (and I'm still not a "wealthy" man if you measure it by pocketbook). I love my family and my life, and I look forward to coffee every morning w/my wife...wine every evening...and lots of tennis and watching my daughters' own life milestones (including that first grandson).

So perhaps I AM still "looking ahead", but my time horizon is much more reasonable!

LizJostes
LizJostes

Reading this gave me chills. Your neighbor died a hero.

JordanEM
JordanEM

Beautifully stated. We only have this moment. Making the  most of it makes our tomorrows only sweeter.

KDillabough
KDillabough

I live in the moment:) Cheers! Kaarina

KenMueller
KenMueller moderator

@LizJostes Yes, he was. I wish I had known him. I have a friend who lived around the corner from him and knew him fairly well. He was apparently an incredibly giving man. He even helped rescue his own niece from the fire, who was pregnant. They had to give her an emergency c-section, and thankfully both mother and baby are doing fine. Just a very sad story.

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  2. [...] week my youngest son, Eric, took me to a Phillies game as his Father’s Day gift to me. We had an amazing time, and more importantly, the Phils beat [...]

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