There is a fellow I know who asks people “Who’s Your Team?” What he means is “what projects are you working on, and which one is most important right now?” I work in an environment where people work on several projects at the same time.
“Who’s Your Team” means that I need to identify the most important priority at that moment. In an environment with multiple priorities and multiple timelines, “Who’s Your Team?” is a way to identify the number one priority.
After a day at work, I come home to a different set of teams. I am a father, a husband, a son, a brother, a cousin, an in-law, and a nephew. I am also a member of several organizations and communities. I am on several teams.
I call them tribes.
Who’s my tribe? Which one is most important? What is the best use of my time? Should I go on a date with my wife, attend a Board of Directors meeting for an organization I serve, or call my father? Should I speak with my daughter, my neighbor, my mother-in-law, or all three? What groups do I belong to? Which ones are most important to me? How should I use my time?
Who’s my tribe?
A few years ago, I started a dialogue with a friend about “the meaning of life”. It started off as a joke. I had seen Monty Python’s “The Meaning of Life”. (Spoiler alert-this movie is not the place to discover the meaning of life).
My dialog about the meaning of life evolved over time into a serious discussion, and now this friend and I speak about it often. I have learned that the meaning of my life is to be the best husband, the best father, the best employee/colleague, and the best member of my tribes that I can be.
I ask some of my friends the following question: “What is the most important thing in your life?” I have asked many people that question. I have heard answers like: “my wife, my husband, my children, my family, my dog, my cat, my investment portfolio, my church, my boat”.
All of those answers are correct. For the people who identified each of those things as the most important thing in their lives- those things are indeed the most important things in their lives. Everyone gets to answer this question for themselves.
I sometimes ask these friends what they spend the most time doing, and whether what they spend time doing is consistent with the most important thing in their lives. If I have a friend who wants to be a classical musician, and he isn’t practicing the violin every day, he is not going to become a classical musician.
As you can imagine, I annoy my friends sometimes.
I have this profound sense that my time is limited, and really important. I have to make choices with my time, and that makes my time really precious to me. I once read a quote “what I do with my day today is really important, because I am giving up a day of my life to do it”.
Because of that, I have carved some things out of my life that seem like a waste of my time. I don’t watch any TV. I never watched much of it, but I don’t watch any now. I read someplace that the average American watches 35 hours of TV a week. Since I don’t watch any, the rest of you have to watch more to make up for me.
In place of TV, I spend a lot of time with my family and my tribes. This weekend I am going to have a date with my wife. I am going to have coffee with my older daughter, and go driving with my younger daughter. I’m going to take my dog for a long walk in the park.
What is the most important thing in your life?
Who’s your tribe?