It’s coffee time and I’m sitting with my planner. One of those planners that a gives you an inspirational quote every week. Usually I don’t pay much attention, but this week it caught my eye.
“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are” Theodore Roosevelt
So I wrote it down and mulled over it for a while, and I think it’s brilliant. Don’t you agree?
We can only do what we’re capable of, we can only use what we have and we can only be where we are. But maybe there’s more to it than that? In life and in business.
1 DO WHAT YOU CAN (not just what you must)
First up, and this is aimed to myself as much as you – are we really working to our utmost capability? The answer for me is a resounding NO. Yes I’m using my skills and gifts, but not to the max.
I think maybe the profound word in this quote is CAN rather than MUST. If we only do what we must then we’ll tick all our boxes and everything will be folded neatly at the end of the day.
But surely doing what we CAN is about going further. It’s about responding to the situations we see during our day and bringing our skills and compassion to bear on other’s lives. There are many things that we don’t have to do, but if we reach out and do them – we’ll help someone else, we’ll lend our support to a worthwhile project – and feel much better about how our day went.
Here’s an example – social media is often cast as the villain, but we try to use it do do what we can to help other small businesses in our locality. There’s Facebook, twitter, instagram, snapchat, linked in and many others. Showcasing your business through social media is often daunting and takes a lot of time and effort. Trying to get engagement can sometimes feel like an uphill struggle. We’ve benefited greatly from repeat business through social media and blogging so we try and do what we can to help business colleagues and friends. It’s simple things – recommending a new coffee house, sharing a page with some positive feedback, writing about an event you attended and encouraging others to go along. Even if you just really enjoyed a slice of awesome flapjack in your local coffee shop – tell everyone. It’ll take you a few seconds while you’re still munching – but will encourage the cafe owner, and attract your friends to call in and try for themselves.
2 USE WHAT YOU HAVE
So it got me thinking. What do we all have? Time, of course. We all have exactly the same amount of time. Some of you are morning people – up with the larks, doing a days work before breakfast, and some of us are not! But we all waste time – whether it’s sleeping more than we need, facebooking until we’re cross eyed, struggling with jobs that we really shouldn’t be doing ourselves, or just not being focussed and present.
Creativity and routine can go together quite well. I haven’t quite mastered it myself yet, but I’m definitely working on it.
I’ll never be up with the larks, although on the few occasions I do catch the sunrise there’s no denying it’s the most awesome time of day. It’s quiet with just a riot of gorgeous birdsong, it’s fresh, the light is pure and the day is full of promise.
Our day will always be what we make it. So whether you love afternoons, or you’re a confirmed night owl there’s always more we can do with the time that we all have.
3 BE PRESENT WHERE YOU ARE
If you’re anything like me, you’ll spend large chunks of time wishing you were somewhere else. Sitting on that sun kissed beach where you spent last summer, laughing with friends over a glass of Chilean Merlot in that new Wine Bar or even just walking up the hillside taking in the fresh air with the dog running by your side. Our life’s experiences are what make us interesting, help us dream and build great relationships.
But what about the everyday – where you are are NOW. One of hardest things in this fast paced world is to be present and to enjoy the moment we’re actually in.
Unless you’re living a hermit life hidden away up a mountain, for most of us social media has taken us over. We’re so busy photographing our experiences, taking selfies and geo-tagging – that we forget to just be where we are. We forget to just look, listen, laugh and breathe.
Deep and meaningful presidential quotes may be thin on the ground for the next 3 years, so it’s good to look back into history. What was true for Teddy Roosevelt is definitely worth a few minutes of our time.
“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are”
That’s all for now