When I told my friend Maxim (pronounced Maxeem) that I was working against a deadline, he blurted in his adorable French accent, “Whazat mean?” He continued, “You gonna be dead if you don't make it? The sun will stop shining? The birds will stop singing? The trees will stop growing?” Well, that certainly put me in my place, and as Maxim always does, he moved me from anxiety to laughter.
Maxim told me he knew of no other culture which uses such a severe word as DEADline to indicate the time when something is due. So I decided to check it out. I ran to my Larousse, which indeed seemed to struggle with a translation. It gave two words for deadline; date and limit.
Eva from Argentina couldn't come up with any Spanish word even close to deadline. And my friend, Radomir said in Serbian the word means “the ending time”. In Hebrew the translation was “last season”.
Other cultures seem to take life easier than we do; they have softer words and concepts and give some leeway.
Maxim who is now retired, but had a career here in the US, says he never experienced a deadline. He never missed a day of work and never missed doing anything that was expected of him. He always arrived early to work and planned his day so that he finished early. And, I might add, I never met a person with a better sense of joie de vivre. He made sure good times were part of each day.
A friend needed to drive to San Francisco from Los Angeles to take care of some things for his mother one weekend. He left a lot of work on his desk before setting out, so he spent the trip there thinking about when he'd get to his mother's (one deadline), and on the return trip he obsessed about the work left unfinished at home (more deadlines).
He completely missed the journey because he remained in a state of anxiety by focussing all his attention on deadlines. What a shame as the Pacific Coast Highway is one of the most beautiful drives in the world.
How about re-evaluating your deadlines?
Plan better. Think ahead about the deadlines you have and those you set for others.
Is there a way you can soften them? Break them into smaller steps and write them in your calendar.
Reward yourself for the small steps you complete and show appreciation to others who complete the task you asked of them.
Dr. Dorene Lehavi, Ph. D. is principal of Next Level Business and Professional Coaching.
She coaches Professionals and Business Partners. You can purchase her ebook or soft cover editions of Stop Doing What You Hate…Start Doing What You Love at http://www.StartDoingWhatYouLove.com . Contact Dr.
Lehavi at Dorene@CoachingforYourNextLevel.com or on the web at http://www.CoachingforYourNextLevel.com and sign up for her free newsletter, Mastering Your Next Level.