Q&A: How do you decide what gets your time?

As Tiffany reflects on this question, one point emerges: how she answers this question has changed over time. When you listen, notice how she decides what to say no to and the filters she puts opportunities through to protect her time, energy, and capacity.

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As Tiffany reflects on this question, one point emerges: how she answers this question has changed over time. When you listen, notice how she decides what to say no to and the filters she puts opportunities through to protect her time, energy, and capacity.

To get your question answered text Tiffany at (317) 350-8921 or reach out on LinkedIn.


Q&A: How do you decide what gets your time?

I'm your host, Tiffany Sauder, and this is Scared Confident. When I remember back to the early days of Element Three, there were three major things that determined whether or not something got my time. The first one was could the person who I was meeting with, talking to, blah, blah, blah, could they spend money with me?

I knew getting revenue rolling at Element Three was the most critical piece to our success. So whether or not somebody could spend money with me was a really key sorter with whether or not I give it my time. The second one was, did the individual have more money than me? And this maybe feels, I don't know, like really shallow with the surface, but I knew that I needed to understand success in a different way. And so surrounding myself with people who are at another sort of place in the game than I was, was really critical for two things. One is we've always done work for companies much, much bigger than us. And so understanding how billion dollar companies operate, how $300 million companies run, was really important to me, continuing to be better at my craft.

Surrounding myself with people who had more money than me, were worth more money than me, had a bigger scope of responsibility than me, was really important. And then the third one was hanging out with people who could teach me something. Those three things. Can you spend money with Element Three, where you at a different place in the game than me, and/or could you teach me something? Didn't have to be all three, but that was a key filter. I see people early in their career get really distracted with meaningless networking. It doesn't mean the people are meaningless, but the things that are happening there are not meaningful or expedient to the thing that you're trying to get done, but it fills your calendar and you got invited, and so that makes you feel important. It's easy because you have something to do instead of the hard thing that you need to do. That is a really, I think, critical piece to sorting out what gets your time and what doesn't. And that's changed. The other thing I think through today is will this opportunity that's being presented to me, will it also be available to me later?

I think this really shows up for me right now when I get asked to be on boards. It would be awesome to be able to do that, lots of them, but I can't with my other responsibilities and the other things I really want to give my time to. So I think about, will I have the opportunity to also be on these boards in 10 years?

If I call them back and say, Hey, you called my 40-year-old self and asked me if I could be on this board, I couldn't do it at that time, but I really have the space now and I'd love to serve. Would there be room for me? I'm not saying everybody's going to say yes, but the idea is, I mean, likely that opportunity will still be there for me.

So saying no to it now doesn't necessarily mean I'm saying no to it for the rest of time, but right now it's not the most expedient, sort of, maybe place for the goals that are right in front of me. The other place where I think about time,a lot, and likely many people listening to this as well, is the time that you give your kids.

I suspect if we asked ourselves, do we know the answer to the question, what is enough time with your kids? Would you know the answer?  Like, what is enough? And how do you define that? And I think there's probably two sides to that question. One is like, how much time do you need with your kids for you to feel like you're connected and parenting and available in the way that you want to, and then having your kids answer once they get to an age, like how much time do they need from you and how this looks for me?

I had this conversation with somebody just a couple of days ago and I said I really feel like I should be with my kids more. I said, I don't mean to be mean about this, but do you want to spend more time with your kids? And that doesn't mean you don't like them. But the truth is there are other things that we, perhaps, want to pursue with our time other than just, or only time with our kids. So how do we get honest with ourselves about that? These other dreams that I have alongside raising a family that I love so much, they take my time and energy, and there is an opportunity cost to that. I have to be really honest with myself about that.

So what I do, the time I give my kids, I'm really clear about the compartment that fits into. When I show up well for that, I can feel really good about it and leave it at that, and then feel really fresh and ready to put energy into things like this Scare Confident project and Element Three, and being around leaders that I really respect and learn from.

Like, I have energy for that as well. So I think making sure you answer for yourself the question, what is enough time? And I, my second daughter, she is definitely a quality time kid. So there are ways she, she needs me to be available. She loves it when I'm home after school. It doesn't work for me to be able to be home after school every single day, and so we worked through, Hey, two days a week, most of the time, I'll be home when you're home from school. I might be working from the home office. I might be, but I know that's meaningful to her. I don't need that time, but she needs that sort of check in, you know, sort of, look at me through the window and wave and know that I'm here. That makes her feel really secure. So that's cool. I can do that for her. So I think that's another way that I think about my time and I'd encourage listeners to also think through it.  Today, as I think about what filters my time, it really is about advancing my own growth. I'm always so aware that my own lid of capacity is a limit.

It's a governor. It's a limiter to where Element Three can go. It's a limiter to what I can learn. And so surrounding myself with people and things that push me, give me new perspective, is probably the number one place that I get my time to. Then the second is my people. Helping them grow the speed at which they're able to learn from the lessons that we've had as a company to, sort of, learn from the things that I'm growing around.

That gets a lot of my time as well. Then the third one, you know, my oldest is 12. You start to think through like, Oh, she's got six more summers here. Time starts to get a little bit more finite as they get in, kind of, those pre-teen ages. So thinking really specifically about what are the experiences I want to be sure that we give her, what are the things that I want to be sure that we teach. One of the things, top of mind, for me is like volunteering. Like, how do I begin to really instill something like that? So again, just beginning to think about what are your priorities and how do you filter that so that you're really crisp when something comes and it's not just cool or feeding your ego, or a cool thing that you want to be able to say that you've been to, but it's really perpetuating the goals that are right in front of you. That you've committed to performing and completing.

So what else is on your mind? Text me (317) 350-8921. (317) 350-8921. And be sure to follow along on your favorite podcast app. Thanks for listening today.


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