By Jason Stewart

“All we have is time.” This is the saying of a wise, seasoned professional I know at the office. She says this all the time. It could be argued that perhaps the most valuable thing you have is your time.

Last week I got a surprise email on LinkedIn from one of the first guys I coached. He looked me up and decided to reach out to tell me that something he heard in my practice 15 years ago helped him make a few life decisions. That young man is now successfully working for a software company in Texas. The other day I got another surprise message online from a former player who was on that same team 15 years ago. He is playing basketball in Germany, married and working as a school teacher abroad. Two days before I got a phone call from a different former player telling me he is coming in town next week and wants to get advice on how to coach his son’s team. He is now married with three boys and a successful Realtor in Arizona. Five days previous, I received a text message from a couple kids inviting me to their high school graduation this year.

When I stopped to reflect on my week, I became so grateful that joy overwhelmed me. It made me think about what all of these guys have in common with me. Moments shared. Sure, basketball was the medium, but it was the intentional time given to them in practice, games and road trips. The good and the bad moments were all shared together.

Undivided attention

“When you love someone with your time, they will return the favor later with respect and gratitude.”

Let’s focus on this word “intentional.” Intentional time implies focused time. Recently I found myself getting into a routine where I would come home from work, buzz right out the door to practice and return home, immediately turning on the TV to catch the end of an NBA game or the post-game highlights. Although my wife loves basketball and enjoys watching with me, I was misclassifying this time as “time with my family.” She never said anything to me about this, but I caught myself because while she was talking in one ear, Charles Barkley, Shaq, Kenny and Ernie Johnson were talking in the other and I realized that I was not paying attention to the “details” of her day. At that moment, I turned the TV off (missed a good game and post-game show) to listen to my loved one. Yes people, I’m talking about active listening or “intentional time.” Once I did that I was able to pick up on other matters on my wife’s mind and help her think through things that ultimately help our household.

What makes a special person is someone who is willing to share their time for the benefit of others. The investment ultimately comes back to benefit the “giver.” It’s a love circle, not a triangle. The circle is healthy, the triangle–not so much.

Who are you saying “I love you” to but not showing them love with your time?

It is tricky for a lot of us who work or juggle many necessary obligations. It would be easy for me to get caught up in providing financially for my family, unintentionally missing opportunities to LOVE my family more.

What do the people around you observe?

“Observers can tell what you are interested in by where you put most of your effort and focus.”

If you pay attention, you will realize that when you are feeling tired, exhausted and/or distracted, you begin to miss details and run low on patience. We all know this is true in our professional work. If you exercise or work out in the gym with a routine, you know this principle holds true in that area as well. Yet how many of us are conscious of this truth in our relationships with significant others, children and friends? Most don’t think about it. We slip into habits of preserving our time and focus on professional ambitions or getting attention in some way, leaving our loved ones empty and vulnerable without direction.

Be the change

“Passive time is better than no time, but intentional time is prime time.”

As a coach, I’ve learned that I am more effective as a leader when I give my team and its members intentional time or “personalized love.” Coaches and leaders who give personalized time will earn the respect of the people who are following. The honor in this is that leader will be able to continuously influence his or her followers in a positive manner with their time.

Hopefully, the players will become “wisdom philanthropists” in the future.

We all have TIME

I’ve come to realize that it is more blessed to give than to receive. Today you are encouraged to take a moment to rethink how you prioritize. You don’t always have to quit one thing to do another. I’m asking you to consider converting your passive time to intentional time at home, work or school.

You will gain more than you can give.


Jason Stewart can be reached through his website at www.ProUniversity.net or by email at Coach@ProUniversity.net