“Have To” vs. “Get To”

lucky-guy-heather-navy
My final speaking gig of the year was last week. It capped off a very busy run that had me giving five speeches in four days and included long drives and early mornings. As I reviewed my week before it began, there were a lot of “have to’s” running around my head: I have to do two programs in one day, then I have to drive this far, then I have to get up this early, etc. The general tone was that of overwhelm with a little self-pity thrown in for good measure.

Adultitis was on my back like a monkey.

However, the mere act of noticing that Adultitis had crept into my story was just the thing I needed to change the narrative. I decided to change my “have to” to “get to.”

I get to talk about something I’m super passionate about to four different groups this week. I get to relax and listen to music on my drive. I get to meet a bunch of new and interesting people. I get to break up one long drive with a dinner with my parents. I get to treat myself to a Salted Caramel Pretzel shake from Steak & Shake.

That little change in wording made all the difference. It reminded me of all of the much less desirable jobs I’ve had over the course of my life, and how blessed I am to make a living the way I do. Heck, less than 10 years ago, my current life seemed like a pipe dream.

Changing “have to” to “get to” is magic when it comes to mindset, no matter how undesirable the task at hand may be.

For instance, instead of lamenting that I “have to” shovel snow, thinking I “get to” shovel snow changes my focus to my good health, the fact that I own a home, it’s heated, and I am currently in it, instead of being stationed overseas.

This is a busy time of year. When we grumble about all the things we “have to” do, we welcome Adultitis into our day with open arms, and it’s easy to lose track of all the awesome things we have to be thankful for.

What things do YOU get to do this week?


[ The t-shirt above (and its female counterpart) is available at The Lemonade Stand! ]

Comments

  1. Patty Borkowski says:

    At this very moment, I get to sit on m comfy couch, wrapped in a snuggly blanket, and watch tiny snowflakes gently fall on the tree branches that i see outside of my front window. This afternoon I get to wrap presents for some of the very special people in my life – I will be grateful for each one, trying to make the wrap something they would enjoy, something unique to them. Later I get to eat a hot meal and watch an original episode of Star Trek, then watch a classic old horror movie hosted by Svengoolie. Is life great, or what?? I can sleep in tomorrow because I do not work on Sunday. Next week I get to go to work and help staff members make sure hospital patients know they are being well cared for, and are very much cared about. No one wants to be in the hospital during the holidays, but we will do everything we can to make it a great experience for every patient. I am one lucky duck.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I get to help organize a home my husband and I shared for only 2 weeks before I left for anew job in Abu Dhabi. I have lived in my apartment in Abu Dhabi longer than I lived here and this place needs some tender loving care. So I get to help clean and organize so we can enjoy Christmas with our children. I get to be home for just about 3 weeks before I return to Abu Dhabi to try and teach English, math, and science to Arabic girls in a totally different culture to help make this life better for both of us!

  3. Anonymous says:

    I get to help organize a home my husband and I shared for only 2 weeks before I left for anew job in Abu Dhabi. I have lived in my apartment in Abu Dhabi longer than I lived here and this place needs some tender loving care. So I get to help clean and organize so we can enjoy Christmas with our children. I get to be home for just about 3 weeks before I return to Abu Dhabi to try and teach English, math, and science to Arabic girls in a totally different culture to help make this life better for both of us! Gail from Massachusetts

  4. Dave Cochrane says:

    Attend a board meeting in another city, look for a car that can handle this winter,attend my granddaughters concert at middle school, have lunch with the office staff to celebrate the holiday, begin Christmas shopping, shovel more snow and handle the unexpected.
    Happy Holidays to you Jason and your wonderful family.

  5. Wendy says:

    I totally agree, Jason, with this reframe from “have to” to “get to”. Shakespeare said it best: “Things are neither good nor bad but thinking makes it so”. While I think we can take this too far when we apply it to true tragedies or evils in the world, it definitely applies when it comes to our more petty complaints. For example, I have a long commute to work to a job that’s decent but not always dreamy. I get super-whiny sometimes when, really, I get to work in the field I studied for and get to travel there using a well-running vehicle. I get to listen to cool podcasts during my commute.

  6. Rick Nissen says:

    I get to take a walk in the snow to mail some important letters; they are Xmas cards and bills. I get to observe the somewhat funny footprints, the biggest ones are mine (lol). I get to enjoy hot chocolate afterwards.

  7. Andrea says:

    Great post!

    I GET to organize and purchase gifts for people that are incredibly important in our lives.
    I GET to take time off of work to go see my son’s holiday production at school.
    I GET to spend time with those I don’t see often, even though in my mind I have a million things to do (AAACCK Adultitis creeping in!!).
    I GET to speak my mind and reflect on all that I GET to do and appreciate all that I have…

  8. Jen de Ridder says:

    I woke up early this morning to catch up on my “Jen time” after a very busy weekend fighting Adultitis at my job. This was a great read!

  9. Sheryle says:

    I get to drive to the chropracter and make dinner. Little things we take for granted when we are able to do them.

  10. Wanda Klimaszewski says:

    I get to have two days off from work and spend one of the days at the hospital with my husband who gets to have a colonscopy! Then on Wednesday I get to make pumpkin rolls and pierogi’s with my husband. I get to spend two great days with my husband and I am thankful for that!!!

  11. poppy says:

    GOOD STUFF… “young” man… keep on keepin’ on!

  12. Jason:

    Excellent! Have to vs get to. I know plenty of “have to” people and most of them are pretty negative. I hear them all day long at work. I like the “get to” people. I have some friends that would love to be “GET TO” people in a lot of things, but they are disabled in one way or another. I’m pretty sure they would love to “get to” shovel the snow, take their grandchildren fishing, or build stuff with wood. I “get to” do all of these things and I love it and I try to put the “have to” stuff into the “get It” column because I figure I’m pretty lucky!

  13. Michelle Berry says:

    I get to pack for a great trip to visit my family and although extremely busy, so blessed to be going!! Thanks for this great post. I needed this tonight!
    P.S. I GET to attend one of my twin’s Christmas parties at school tomorrow. A work from home job can be crazy at times, but where else could I go to that tomorrow.

  14. Thanks for sharing the proper usage of have to and get to

  15. Roelif says:

    Hi Jason –

    Your Dad directed me to your excellent “have to” versus “get to” piece. As the owner of 5 rescue dogs, my wife Anne and I spend alot of time talking to each of them. About a year ago – as I was leaving to work – I remarked to one of them “Well – I have to go to work”. Upon further thought – I quickly changed my farewell to “I GET to go to work”. That has been my standard parting thought to them in all of 2013 – and will be for the rest of my working career. With rampant unemployment and the daily struggles endured by way too many of our neighbors and friends, we all need to be way more thankful for every blessing in life. Your article hit the nail right on the head!

    • hanks Roelif. It means a lot, especially coming from someone who knows a lot about nails :)