How Hard Would You Play Today if You Couldn’t Play Tomorrow?

How Hard Would You Play Today if You Couldn’t Play Tomorrow?  I was on a business trip last week performing a whiteboard business strategy session for a large company in Pennsylvania with a colleague. After the first day, we stopped at a placed called Mission BBQ. They had a few signs on the walls that stuck out to me. The first one I am used to, “Play Like a Champion Today;” this is well known here in South Bend, Indiana at Notre Dame. The other was “How hard would you play today if you couldn’t play tomorrow?”

Both very deep thought provoking signs, but the “How hard would you play today if you couldn’t play tomorrow” stuck with me. I thought about it for real and inventoried my life a bit. This really applies across life, work, who you truly are and what you truly want in life. We all get tired and need a break – but a verse I thought of when reading and pondering this was – “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” (Proverbs 29:18)

Now that could be kind of extreme, but in certain areas of life, extremes should be considered.  Anyway, I took inventory:

  • What kind of boss am I
  • What kind of employee am I
  • What kind of husband am I
  • What kind of dad am I
  • What kind of friend am I
  • What kind of son am/was I

It certainly made me think and review my life plan with the priorities, goals, and who-I-want-to-be visions. I update it every year to validate, and should review every month/quarter. I really took my life plan to the next level after listening to a podcast from a nurse working in hospice on the “5 biggest regrets of terminal patients”. There is or will be a book coming on this, but here they are:

#5.  I wish I’d let myself be happier.

  •  They realized at the end, this was a choice.

#4.  I wish I would have stayed in touch with my friends.

  • Many deep regrets about not giving friendship the time and effort they deserved.

#3.  I wish I’d have had the courage to express my feelings.

  • Too many times feelings were suppressed leading to bitterness and resentment

#2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.

  • Every male patient had this regret, along with a few females. Felt they missed out on their children’s youth.

#1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

  • So many dreams went unfulfilled because of this one.

They were all eye openers to me, but 1 and 2 were keys that are sticking with me. Please don’t misunderstand me, we all need to work; there just needs to be a work-life balance. That has been said many, many times. Working smart however is a point I will make. Understanding the difference between the important and urgent tasks; practicing tasks management; and creating a life plan will help guide you so you do not have the same regrets these terminal patients expressed. We have a choice, and the smart know to think about what we want to look back on. Start by making that choice today – Choose Today.

Action Items

  • Take Inventory of your life
    • Identify the roles you play and give yourself a score (1 –Bad, 2-OK, 3 Good)
  • Prioritize your life by roles
    • This will help you say NO to tasks that are below other priorities when applicable
  • Do a Life Plan (here is a link for a free eBook from Michael Hyatt on how to create your life plan
  • Think of yourself when you are 70-80 years old and looking back
    • Determine if you will have any of the regrets listed
  • Write this down now!!! My very next step is ______________________ by _____________.


Work Hard, Enjoy Life, and Have Fun – Why Wouldn’t Cha?

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2 thoughts on “How Hard Would You Play Today if You Couldn’t Play Tomorrow?

  1. Thought provoking comments! I enjoy reading your posts Craig. Hope you have a great 4th! Mike

    • Thanks for the feedback Mike – I appreciate it!! Hope you have a great 4th also.

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