Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less


As I settled into my seat, on a flight bound for Washington D.C., I took in a deep breath and paused in reflection; which is a preflight ritual for me on most trips.

This trip, in particular, was a bit strenuous to prepare for.  From my remote office in upstate New York I had been frantically working to get all of my end of year loose-ends settled so that my team and I could begin our new year fresh, and with an energetic vision of success for what lie ahead of us in 2017.

Personal growth opportunities, the pursuit of exciting new projects, and the rich sense of accomplishment that comes from overcoming tough obstacles.

Adding to the pressure of this activity were the demands of my academic schedule at SUNY Empire State College, and the busyness of the holiday season.

It’s a sour piece of irony the most wonderful time of the year is so embroiled with worldly demands.

As the pilot proceeded through his preflight checklist, I found respite in the sound of my seatbelt latching.  A small blessing from heaven.

My thoughts wandered from school work, and my frazzled task list, to leisure time with my family.

With so many things on my plate I’d been finding it hard to live passionately in the moment.  It’s no surprise that I’ve been feeling spiritually stretched too thin.

The meditation of my heart caused me to ask a question I’ve returned to many times in my life.  What would have to give for me to be able to live a peaceful, more fulfilling existence?

I knew I couldn’t be the only one who was asking that question, but I was also certain that no one had been able to successfully answer the question yet.

Fast forward to a day later and I was standing in the copier room, of our headquarters in Greenbelt, chatting with our CEO on the topic of leadership development.  As we’re both avid readers we were swapping titles of recent reads on the subject.

I casually mentioned my interest in reading Greg McKeown’s book Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less.  I’m a firm believer that a life distilled is an asset on the path to excellence, so when I saw this book taking up space on my supervisor’s desk a couple of weeks’ prior, the title caught my attention.  The book had been presented to our senior staff as a lighthearted read for the purpose of professional development.

When I expressed my interest I was considering adding a copy of the book to my collection for the same reason.  Imagine my surprise when the busyness of the trip began to subside, and prior to the organization’s holiday celebration, each of our staff was presented with a copy of the book in a holiday grab bag.  A much appreciated friendly gesture to close out the year.

I was super excited to receive my new gift!

As time permits I’ve been dabbling into the early chapters of my new read, so far I’ve been impressed.


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