“We bullshit ourselves a lot, We live under ideas of what we ought to be. Our True North is what we actually are up to.” – Jim Dethmer

This week, my son finished his senior year of high school. 18 years of school transport, packed lunches, and homework check-ins complete. On his final day of school, math exam under his belt, he was supposed to be “released” at 12:30. 

A seasoned working mama, I had transportation arranged, favorite dinner order, and congratulations hugs queued up from his sister. T’s crossed. 

His ride home arrived at the school 12:30 promptly as planned, my daughter riding shotgun after an early release school day as well, and no Jack. The texts start arriving at 12:45, become more urgent by 1PM, and by 1:05, my daughter is claiming heat exhaustion and starvation. Still, no Jack. 

Mind you: I am in hour 4 of zoom meetings and trying to nonchalantly handle this challenge that every working parent knows far too intimately without missing a beat. 

Finally, word arrives from Jack. He can’t leave until formally released, and his teacher has vaporized into thin air.  Apparently not to return any time soon.  I could continue to slather on the comedy of facts, but in respect to brevity, I’ll get to the outcome. I sent my daughter and driver home; averting further dramatic theater, and quickly began cancelling or rescheduling my afternoon so I could pick up Jack. 

All ends well (of course), but not without a bit of medicine for me. I am somewhat embarrassed to admit that cancelling my planned afternoon rattled me a bit. I felt annoyed with the school and frustrated by the diversion. 

But here’s the medicine (and magic). As I was driving to pick up Jack, I remembered my non negotiable of Meaningful Connection & Growth With My Children. Of course, I also have a non-negotiable of Purpose Aligned Work Every Day

Thus, the rub. 

If you’ve listened to our Non-Negotiables 3 part podcast series, you know 10X Leadership Lab teaches a values deepening exercise called EVEN OVER. (If you haven’t listened, definitely check it out). 

Because I know this rub arises often for me (humbled to say that out loud), I created an even over for myself to help me confidently decide in the moment of choice.  My even over? Fully available To the Moment As It Is Even Over Getting More Done.  As I rumbled with my inner compulsion towards achievement, I settled into my even over. (The Medicine). 

By the time Jack had fastened his seatbelt, I felt immense gratitude and joy to be with him for one last car ride of his K – 12 academic career. And we had a fabulous discussion & serious belly laughs about the mishap. Want to know his parting words as I dropped him off at our home and headed back to the office? 

“Mom, I’m super glad we got car time today. WIth the pandemic, we didn’t get much this year, and I love it a lot. Thank you for picking me up.” (The Magic)

 Our non-negotiables distill the complex & keep us aligned with our potential. And like the medicine and magic of my time with Jack, they invite us to live into and live up to what we say matters most. 


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