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Our athletic club has a small café that many people use during the day as a remote workspace, me included. Knock out some emails, slip in a quick workout, back to the laptop for more emails, you get the drill. On a recent day when I was working away, a group of tennis players came in after their matches concluded and they ordered lunch and drinks and were having a great time by all accounts. Our club has a lot to offer, but it was really founded as a tennis club, and that crew is a pretty tight knit community. Looking over at the tennis players that had just arrived, and all the fun they are having, I thought to myself, “Man, that is a cool collection of people, I’d like to be part of that group.” A couple of days later, I reflected on that thought and came to an entirely different conclusion.

We can’t be part of EVERY community. Even though many of us try, we can’t be everywhere all the time. I know I’m guilty of trying to do so, but that way of life isn’t sustainable, not even for the best of the best. Which reminded me of the geese……

Our family spends a good amount of time in Flagstaff, Arizona where we have a small rental property that we reserve for ourselves now and again when it’s a zillion degrees in Phoenix. On a recent visit, I saw a group of geese flying overhead. As in most bird flocks, they fly in a classic “V” formation that minimizes the wind drag on the group of birds and helps them conserve energy. On this occasion, one bird had fallen out of the formation and was flying solo. That bird was really struggling to keep up with the group and quite frankly I thought would eventually fall out of the sky, it was that bad.

The struggling geese reminded me of the tennis crew back at the café. To be successful, that individual geese needs to be strongly aligned with the other members of the flock (or a “gaggle” in geese terms). Flying solo isn’t sustainable nor in the geese’s best interest long term. Neither is trying to be members of every entity or community that comes along.

We should aspire to be part of a select number of organizations and to be a positive and present influence on those we choose to align with. Rather than executing what one of our friends calls a “spray and pray mentality” (trying to be everywhere at once but in a limited capacity at each), we should focus on a few intentional areas that we want to dedicate our time and resources to. Maybe 2-3 groups or organizations that we can do great things with rather than 10-12 where we are only engaged on a half-baked basis.

So I decided that while the tennis crew is a cool click, I don’t need to be part of it. I wouldn’t be a consistent and regular member of their tribe, heck, I don’t even play tennis anymore. Your time is an asset, and it’s valuable. Deploy it wisely.

Pick places that make you happy and that you can make a big impact with the asset of time that you have to give. Be intentional. Only pick a few. Say “no” to the other things that want to take your time away from the ones that you select to invest in. Funny thing is, when people hear “no” they will value your time even more in the future. It’s a win-win answer.

Be bold. Say “no.” Be intentional. Pick only a few places to “be” and do so with all the enthusiasm you can muster.

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