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I Have To or I Get To

A few weeks ago, a friend introduced me to the concept of “I Have To” vs “I Get To”. Simple enough. Actually it’s pretty cliche, but it caused me to think. As a business coach/outsourced CFO I would love to tell you that I work six hours a day/four days a week, have a team of perfectly managed employees who never make mistakes, and bring in a seven figure income. But that would be less than true. Now, I do take more vacations than most people. I spend lots of time with my family, take my wife on frequent dates, and have enough money in the savings account to handle life’s frequent curve balls. My dog is obedient, my children are attractive, and I promise that I can do more ring dips than you can.

But…what about all the Friday nights that I’m up late working on projects that I really don’t like. Or dealing with clients that are irritated because one of my employees made a mistake (or perhaps I made the mistake). Or what about those evenings when I ignore my kids because I’m on a work call or responding to emails. My reaction to all of these is typically “why me.” I “have to” stay up late to get these financials done. I “have to” do a really boring project when I would rather be planning my next speaking engagement. I “have to” do a staff meeting when I would rather be out networking or selling. But reality forces us to take the good along with the mundane. For example, I hate billing. I really, really, hate billing. But the alternative is, if I don’t bill, my firm doesn’t exist. All of the things that I enjoy doing go away. That’s a mundane task that I get to do. And doing it allows for so many other things that are much more fulfilling.

This is a small, relatively insignificant shift to approaching our job’s less glamorous items. But try it; the results may surprise you.

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