I said goodnight to a co-worker one Friday evening and told her to have a great week-end.  The next time I saw this single mother of two young children, was at her funeral on Monday.  A drunk driver, doing over 100 mph, hit them on their way to pizza night.  Before that tragedy occurred I would have told you that I love my family and I put them first.  After experiencing that loss, I had to admit that while I loved my family, my calendar told a different story.  I was working 60-65 hours a week.  Her loss was a deep, gut-level reality check for me to tell the “ground truth” about living my values.

According to Susan Scott, author of Fierce Conversations, life happens gradually, then suddenly, one conversation at a time.  We don’t usually wake up until the suddenly, and that’s the problem.

A reality check is defined as something that clarifies or serves as a reminder of reality, often by correcting a misconception.  That was certainly true in my case.  When I sat down and calculated how many hours I spent at work, I knew something had to change. 

Compass ImageA reality check is basically a change conversation, where we are asked to identify what’s changed and the implication of that change,  in our personal and professional lives.   In my next post, I’ll share some “how to”s for turning our intentions into reality.