We pause at this time each year in the United States to celebrate Labor Day. It was first celebrated in New York in 1882 as a tribute to the prosperity and well-being of our country after what was certainly a long summer of agricultural and manufacturing labors. While most of you reading this haven’t worked the field this past summer, we can all use this occasion to reflect on our own personal labors, take stock of how we’ve spent our time and energy over the past year, and to perhaps look ahead to what’s next.
For me it’s an ongoing struggle between where I want to spend my time, where I should spend it and where I must spend it. As a business leader in an often-unpredictable market, my time devoted to adding value to our client experiences is essential. As a husband of almost 30 years, there are ways I should be intentional to invest in sustaining a strong marriage with my wife, Celia. As a father of three, there have been absolutes for me in the dedication of my time in raising my now (nearly) grown kids.
As I reflect back and think ahead, I am continually reminded of a simple quote by the theologian Oswald Chambers that helps provide direction as to where I should dedicate myself and my labors: “The good is the enemy of the best.” Think about it for a moment. Whether in your work or personal life, in relationships at home or in your community, or in how you spend your volunteer or free time, I encourage you to assess how this truth might apply to you.
Like many holidays, we often forget the reason we celebrate. I hope you take a few minutes over this long weekend to consider where you might be challenged by this quote. It continues to serve me well as I try to prioritize my labors in the weeks, months and years ahead. Are you missing out on what may be best by giving too much of your time to what is simply good?
Enjoy your weekend!