[su_dropcap style=”flat”]W[/su_dropcap]HEN I PICKED UP THIS BOOK and began reading, I learned, within two pages, something I had never thought of before. Ask anyone what their long term goals are and, almost always, one of them will be, to make a difference. What I found out in the first few pages of this book, is that we make a difference by not giving up; by refusing to quit. Regardless of current conditions, tragedies of the past, or skepticism of the future, Hyrum Smith writes with convincing clarity, that we can have a positive impact in our world and be a catalyst to make a difference. We can’t quit. We must not give up.
Where do the gaps come in? I was curious too. As you might imagine, a gap is a difference between what you expect and what you get. In this book you will learn how to close the three gaps in Beliefs, Values, and Time. Isn’t it in the gap where we decide things like, “Whoa! I’m done with this”, or “I’m out of time and can’t go any further”, or “I’m totally lost now and have no idea what to do next”. This is a tiny book that will have a big impact on how you see yourself in relation to your beliefs, your values, and the way you use your time. Threaded through each of the principles are real life stories to convey meanings that resonate deeply with readers. The stories are like “a blueprint that can be used to recognize the three gaps and illustrate how they can be closed.” Do you want to make a difference? This book might be the foundation you need to make it happen.
The Beliefs Gap – We all have beliefs; the truths we have adopted. Most of our beliefs have developed over the course of our lifetime. We behave according to our beliefs and principles. The thing is, some of our beliefs are not true. Somewhere along the line we’ve come to add things to our ‘belief window’ that do not serve us and, in fact, work against us. To help identify incorrect beliefs, here are a few mentioned by the author: 1) I’m not an addict. I can quit any time; 2) Some people are worth more than others; 3) I’m a victim of outside forces. I can’t do anything about it. These beliefs are negatives and are not helping us make a positive difference. Hyrum Smith gives us four steps to change a belief that is incorrect, to change what we believe to be true, and what is actually true.
- Admit there is pain in your life that you want to change. Admit that you are the one who needs to change ‘it’ if your life is going to improve.
- Ask yourself why you behave as you do – and don’t stop asking why, until you have discovered the answer. Expect this to take some time and do deep soul searching.
- Adopt an alternate belief and don’t give up until you have formed a new belief based on truth.
- Act as if you already believe it. This is a continuation of step three which is a really tough act. Until you really do adopt the new truth and internalize it as a solid belief, act as if you believe it.
Until you change the belief on your belief window, the behavior will never change.”
The Values Gap – This chapter resonated deeply with me. The author said in print what my heart has spoken silently, “…when you look back you might feel like a piece of your life has gone missing.” This is my truth as it might be yours. I fell into the busyness trap for years and despite warnings of an earlier (older, wiser, been-there) generation, couldn’t pull myself out. The Values Gap is that place of ambivalence where the truth about what is most important to us is put on trial. If our families are most important to us, the 60 hour work week doesn’t back that up. But to provide the best for our families, we need the 60 hour work week. The fact is, we each need to answer the question for ourselves. Are we just doing what we think matters or are we really investing in what matters most to us. Without making a conscious determination of our governing values we will never be able to make a conscious effort to do the things that matter most, to live our highest priorities. Consider these three steps to closing the Values Gap which is knowing what we value most in life and what we actually spend our time doing.
- Identify your governing values. In the book the author walks through an exercise we can all relate to which helps put this principle in context. What are your values that you live for; that are your highest priorities?
- Write a clarifying statement describing exactly what each of the governing values from step one mean to you. If family time is a governing value, what does this mean and what does it look like when the gap is closed. For your health, what are the ways you will attend to and improve our health? These are not New Year Resolutions, these are foundational values you have identified as most important to you, to your life.
- Prioritize each of your governing values. This can be tricky because a governing value is, by its nature, important. Setting your priorities helps when decisions must be made about what to spend your time on, especially at those times of scheduling conflicts – which we all bump up against.
Writing out your values, describing how they factor into the story of your life and then prioritizing them, is much like creating a personal constitution. Our values are deeply personal but they have an impact on our families and potentially anyone in our sphere of contact. Harmony between what we value and what we do moves us toward making a positive difference.
The Time Gap – I always get a kick out of someone who comments, “Well, they have more time than I have.” I used to get this all the time when I was a stay at home mom. “You have more time than I have so can you bake 6 dozen cupcakes?” Interesting concept, although untrue. We all have the same 86,400 seconds in a day, but we don’t all fill them up with the same activities. As the author helps us understand, there are three principles we need to engage if we are going to successfully close the time gap which is doing what we say we will. The time gap is the difference between what we plan to do each day and what actually gets done. Without going into the entire process of how to get done what you say you will get done, let’s hit the key principles.
Everything is an event. Seriously. From breakfast to the mandatory meeting, events happen 24/7, some are in our control, others aren’t. The more we understand about the events in our life the more effective we can become at planning for them. Events run the gamut of within our control to totally outside our control. Daily planning is an intentional exercise of putting pen to paper or decisively clicking into an electronic device, but setting aside real time using real tools and making a real plan for how you will use your time. Regardless of whether it be morning, afternoon, or evening, daily planning is the tool that will leverage the time you have and give you assurance that you are spending your time on things that matter most. Remember the beliefs and values? Time is consumed one way or the other and planning for how it will be used means you are closer to living out your beliefs within your prioritized, governing values.
If you are going to choose wisely how you use your time, you will need to understand these three principles. 1) Event control; 2) Daily planning; 3) Discipline of managing your planning (take it seriously)
Going back to the beginning, have you ever thought you could find more time or save time somewhere? That’s a belief that needs to change. We all have the same amount of time. It’s a non-renewable resource. Once it’s gone, we can’t get it back. Remember the Time Gap – between what we say we will do each day and what we do. Close it.
Hyrum W. Smith challenges us with this question: Now that you know about the 3 Gaps, the Beliefs Gap, the Values Gap, and the Time Gap, are you going to do anything about it? To make a positive difference in the world your answer has to be, yes.