On our last of five days of considering “get-to” vs. “have-to,” Christina provides some great feedback:
“Yes, there are some things we ‘have to’ do/be, etc. and that’s not necessarily a ‘bad’ or ‘negative’ thing … and it just might be a very positive thing for us to take on that sense of responsibility … sacrifice even. Words that scare us perhaps, but necessary ways of standing up for and shouldering what we need to take a stand for. And somehow it seems that it’s gone out of fashion/vogue to be the one not to divert our eyes; to be the one who will say, ‘no, no more of that,’ or ‘yes, I will take an unpopular or unsafe position on this issue.’ Sometimes we do ‘have to’ do things and maybe that’s just fine … it’s not victim-hood, it’s taking a necessary and vital stand.”
Excellent feedback and true enough! There are some things that we “have-to” do – that we are compelled to do by duty, responsibility, honor, commitment, principle.
Her words got me thinking: Perhaps simply losing any sense of being put upon – or unduly privileged- is a way to transcend this “have-to” vs. “get-to” paradigm?
Perhaps the most accurate way to address this issue is to reframe it in a far more powerful way. Shift to “Choose-To”!
How would focusing on “choose-to” make life clearer, more enjoyable, and far more powerful?
“Getting to” is a way of looking at the world in a way that removes all feeling of victimhood. The more one “gets to” do something, the more one appreciates that everything in life is an opportunity. A situation can be difficult, tragic, inconvenient and horrible – but among the ways to look at it is with appreciation.
A wonderful long-time friend and Coaching for Results(R) alumnus writes from Colorado:
“What you are referring to (“get-to”) is actually living a life of gratitude. I do this every day….I have been thru so much that this is the ultimate outcome… daily gratitude. It is one of the highest emotions we can experience… and is also self- perpetuating.”
How was your experiment of going through the day and viewing everything as a “get-to”? Did you notice anything different? Did you feel better? Worse? The same? Did the exercise feel contrived or false? Or did it feel useful and fun?
Some say that almost everything in life is a “get-to” because we have free will. That seems true in the absolute sense of the word. From that perspective, most of our “have-to’s” stem from the choices that we “get-to” make.
For example, most people “have to” work in order to provide for ourselves and our families at the levels that we choose. But to say that we “have-to” make the lifestyle and spending choices that we make seems inaccurate. Is it more accurate to say you “have-to” send a child to college or that you “get-to” do that?
Today, as an experiment, view everything as a “get-to” – as a privilege, a gift, a joy, a supreme opportunity. Please do so not in some “rose-colored-glasses” way of thinking, but as an inquiry into your life experience.
Is your orientation – your habitual way of living – more “get-to” or “have-to”? Don’t judge it, please. Just observe and let me know what happens. Be mindful of how this perceptual shift impacts your results.
Today, let’s explore the things you “get” to do. Usually, these activities are fun, free from work, and done with friends or family. “Get to” implies pleasure, opportunity, privilege or something you don’t want to miss.
Getting to travel, exploring a new place, trying a new restaurant, getting to know people in a deep way, spending quality time with your children, throwing a ball with your dog . . . all these are examples of “get to.”
There’s a next level of “get to” which is about doing things that on their faces would not “normally” be “fun,” but in a particular context, they are fun. For example, working in a soup kitchen, cleaning up after a charitable event, spending time working on a school or church project . . . or, the classic: helping a friend move. “Getting to” be of service and being helpful to someone or something can feel great.
On perhaps the highest level – a level that we can often forget – is that we “get to” live. We get to have a life – with all that that implies. More on that later this week.
What are your favorite “get-to’s”? Think about the three levels above. It’s astounding what we “get to” do; isn’t it? Please share your “get-to’s” with us!
This past Sunday morning, I attended a high-energy Ecstatic Dance event; and when the group of about 125 people was seated in a circle, the facilitator asked each person to meditate for a moment and become aware of a core intention to focus on and nurture in the coming weeks.
After thinking for a moment, the thought that came to my conscious awareness was that I would like to diminish and / or eliminate feelings of “have to” and replace them with feelings of “get to.”
Truth be told, most of us are blessed with far more “get-to’s” than “have-to’s” because we have voluntarily made the core choices which have created most of our “to-do’s.” Ironic, isn’t it, that when blessed with the ability to make so many of our own choices, many of us have often felt burdened?
How are you with “get to” versus “have to”? Which of the two do you spend most of your time doing? Do you feel differently in one mind set distinguished from the other? How conscious are you about the distinctions between the two: privilege vs. obligation?