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Jim Collins’ 3 Rules for Leaving Quarantine

We all go through big life transitions. Some are forced on us – for example, we’re laid off or get sick or start a family. Others are more organic where we get to choose how we’re going to change our lives. It’s worth noting that most of us are getting ready to transition from the former seaso…
By Seth Barnes

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We all go through big life transitions. Some are forced on us – for example, we’re laid off or get sick or start a family. Others are more organic where we get to choose how we’re going to change our lives.

It’s worth noting that most of us are getting ready to transition from the former season (sheltering in place) to one of more choice.

We were forced by the virus and mandated by our elected leaders to live differently. Now, as restrictions lift, we get to ask and answer the question, “How do I want to live when I leave quarantine?”

It’s a great question. The temptation is to just answer the question tactically, as in “I’m going to wear a mask and practice social distancing.” But let’s not miss the opportunity to move with intentionality toward the future.

Perhaps you are already asking questions like these:

Do I really need to live where I do?

Do I want to fly as often as I do?

Could we do more of our training over Zoom?

How do I spend more time with my family?

To make big changes in our life, it helps to have a lens to look through – a way of prioritizing time. If you’ve been a fan of Jim Collins books Built to Last and Good to Great, you know that Collins has done the research to understand how great companies get to a place where their flywheel is turning, a place of sustainability over time.

Collins is a relentless learner, evaluating his life so as to help others better live their own. Collins articulates three filters he uses to design his own life – also excellent rules for leaving quarantine and living the life you want to live. 

1. Simplicity

Organize your life around the principle of simplicity. Less, not more. Less stuff, fewer appointments, and fewer decisions.

We’re prone to think that life is improved by addition. “A new house will make my life better. A new friend will bring excitement. A new car will make me happier.”

Instead of addition, try subtraction. Remove a negative relationship from your life. Spend less. Get out of debt. 

Drop a mindset that is holding you back. Stop adding things, start removing them instead.

2. Spend time in flow state

Flow state happens when you are so caught up in what you’re doing that you don’t notice the passage of time. It’s when you do work that matters. 

Many of us have had jobs that were the opposite of that. Or we’ve been in classrooms where the teacher was boring and we watched the clock. Consider, are you trapped in a place where you are committed because of need, but you lack passion?

What if you were to commit to really understanding what makes you come alive and commit to that?

3. Spend time with those you love

Maybe you’ve been stuck in a house with people you love but are finding annoying. Or maybe you’ve not had the chance to move with intentionality toward the people you love being around. 

Why not communicate with them how thankful you are for them and how much you’d like to spend more time with them? Why not do that now before you step back into the rat race?

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So there you go. Three easy filters that may help you redesign your new life.

I’m there too. I’m trying to apply them to my life. It’s not easy! I’m trying to say no more often. I’m committed to the kind of creative work where I feel like I’m in the flow. And to spending time with those I love more. How about you?

Do yourself a favor – pick up your journal, decide what filters you want to use to live this new life you’re stepping into. Write about what changes you’ll need to make. Then talk to a close friend about how they can help you walk out your commitment.

For these and other tools, please see Collins website

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