Drop Dead Dates

“A goal is a dream with a deadline.” Napoleon Hill

Drop dead date….a term we use in the lighting industry for the absolute last date something must be done before the delay has cause irreversible repercussions to the parties involved. Typically after that some sort of penalty will likely be involved. So why do we have a drop dead date and penalties? Because more than one party is involved and will be impacted negatively because of the others delays. Regardless if those delays are purposeful or circumstantial. Because all parties involved have an unspoken obligation to meet the expectation.

I think in our own lives it’s OK to set some drop dead dates, to have penalties if they’re not met and to adhere to the unspoken obligation of meeting expectations. In your personal life and professional life. Setting deadlines helps you meet your goals. Ambiguous deadlines that you will eventually someday get to allow you to become complacent and your future becomes just that, something in the future but never now. Someday allows you to back burner it, think about it, put in the work and meet the challenges you know you will face…..later. It allows you to give it no thought or action now.

Someday I will start my book, eventually I will change jobs, someday I will forgive, eventually I will become or finish or do. Someday is not a real day, by definition it is “some time in the future”. When you keep saying someday it always remains in the future and you remain complacent which by definition means to become self-satisfied with your own achievements without awareness of deficiencies. Eventually, by definition is “in the end, especially after a long delay.” And really, do you want to wait until the end to finally start?

Someday I will get healthy….you won’t if you are just saying someday and not taking action to work out and eat right now. Eventually I will get a raise….you won’t if you aren’t stepping up your game and applying yourself now.

So don’t be afraid to set drop dead dates so that your someday becomes a specific day not just some time in the future and your eventualities do not turn into life long delays. Which, by definition, means to make someone or something late or slow; loiter. Which, by definition, means to wait around idly without apparent purpose. Someday allows you and often others by default, to loiter in their own lives and I don’t know about you but waiting idly around without purpose seems like time wasted to me.

So drop dead dates ensure purpose in your life, challenges you to take action, meet expectations of reaching said goal and prevent you from experiencing lengthy delays and wasted time.

The fine print…and there always is fine print. Yes, drop dead dates might cause you to scratch a few things off your goal list if the date is not met. Some things in life, some opportunities have a shelf life and the delay will spoil them, even if you hoped it would not. You can’t unring the bell on a timer that just went off and you aren’t always going to get the chance to reset it or push the snooze button.

My birthday is in September, 6 months away, I will be 47. I no longer can look at my life like a child with forever ahead of me for life to work itself out and things to eventually someday happen. Life doesn’t have a pause button and ready or not it keeps ticking away. Beside, I have cremated my own 11-year-old child and now his ashes hang around my neck as a constant reminder that “some time in the future” is not guaranteed only right this moment is. So that is my drop dead date. I believe 6 months is plenty of time to plan for, think about and put into action the steps needed or decide to scratch it off the list for good. So I can make room in my life for more than complacency.

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