Last Saturday, I shared a special lunch with my brother—an unusual thing since we never meet besides at family gatherings. I yearned for a deeper connection with him beyond the surface-level discussions about work, plans, and daily life. I wanted to delve into our shared past, fears, and passions, rediscovering the essence of our relationship.
Over the past three years, we both attempted to rekindle this connection, making plans that never came to fruition. Months ago, determined to break free from past conditioning and prioritize meaningful relationships, I extended the invitation once more. Only last week – at the beginning of a new year – our efforts culminated in a long-awaited reunion.
The reason I wanted to meet him is that I have gotten a lot of insight in our family dynamics last year. And what that has meant for my conditioning. I really wanted to talk to him about it. How he experienced it and what life was like at home when I was already at university. Because a lot happened at that time.
But for the longest time, I didn’t do it. I was afraid on so many levels.
- Afraid of rejection, that he would not want to meet up. Which would mean that he would not want to get to know me again.
- Afraid of not being understood. That my view of our childhood would be so different than his.
- Afraid of being criticized. For choices that I made in my life and making now.
So I procrastinated taking the initiative or to proceed when we did mention that we wanted to meet up. I am sure that I am not the only one. We all procrastinate or postpone the important things in life. Not because we don’t realize they are important, but because we do.
The current situation is comfortably uncomfortable, you know what you are going to get. Changing that, would mean that it could become more uncomfortable. We generally don’t look at the opportunities that it might also bring.
So we put it away. We treat it as something that is unchangeable. Even though deep down we know we want or need to pay attention to it.
And that happens because it is important, but not urgent. Everything that is urgent will happen. The things that are not important and non-urgent don’t matter. The magic lies in the important and urgent stuff. We often use the Eisenhower matrix above as a productivity tool. And it can also be used to discover what you are avoiding: The important but not urgent square.
“The magic you are looking for is in the work you are avoiding”.
Whether it is personal, like it was for me. Or whether it is something in your professional life:
- That colleague you are avoiding for some reason
- That task you are postponing
- That client you are not calling
- That business idea you are not working on
I can go on and on. You probably have some of these “to-do’s” in your head as well. They might even be the key to a completely different life. To tackle this issue you can ask yourself the following questions:
- What is it you are not doing, but should be doing?
- Why am I not doing it.
- What fear is connected to this?
- What is the benefit when I keep postponing / procrastinating on this?
- What is the worst that could happen when I do it?
- What are the top 3 outcomes that could happen when I do it?
- How realistic is the negative scenario? Would I survive?
The last tip is: talk to someone about the results of these questions. Preferably someone who is experienced at coaching (give me a call if you want). They will be able to dig deeper with you and, if needed, call you on your bullshit 😉
So how did it go with my brother?
We met in a Dutch coast town (Callantsoog), it was cold and windy and the view was awesome. As we were walking to the restaurant, I felt like I was being hugged. The old familiarity of my brother felt so good, something that I had unknowingly missed for a long time.
When we were kids we would to everything together. I would help him with math, he would make me laugh and we would even go clubbing together. Where my friends got embarrassed by me because I was just goofing around with my brother instead of being cool.
After we covered the general talk (how are you doing, the family, work), he took the initiative for the substantial conversation. And from there it was 2 hours of non-stop discovery, recognition, pennies dropping, and real connection.
It fed my soul on such a deep level. It was something that I was longing for for so long, but I postponed taking the initiative. The thoughts that have helped me to do it anyway:
- “I will not know if he rejects me if I don’t try”
- “He has said previously that he wants to connect as well”
- “Talking to him would be such a valuable step in my healing process, whatever the outcome”
So here is my loving nudge. To start looking at your non-urgent but important square. What is in there? And where would your magic lie?