[email protected] | 720-427-2835
Meet Chris Speaking Workshops Coaching Client Resources Blog Contact Store BOOK CHRIS TODAY! Login

Great Leaders Transform "Have To's" into "Get To's"

Jan 20, 2022

“The smallest change in perspective can transform a life.  What tiny attitude adjustment might turn your world around?”

                                                                                                  - Oprah Winfrey


I continue to be amazed how simple shifts in consciousness can have such a profound impact on our lives.  Despite the label we put on our current conditions or the fear of what is up ahead, our worry and displeasure can simply evaporate when we choose to change our perspective and the see the positives of a given situation. 


Several years ago, I found myself in a position I never dreamed I would encounter – divorced and playing the role of a single dad. 


After a 26-year relationship, the break-up of my marriage had been particularly difficult for me.  In addition to being on my own and no longer in a relationship with a significant other, I also found myself parenting, mostly by myself, our 13-year old son, Jason as my former spouse had moved over 3,300 miles away from Denver, to the Big Island of Hawaii.


Now I want to be extremely clear.  Jason was and is the most amazing son a dad could ask for.  Given the massive changes both our lives had undergone during this transition, he never gave me any troubles, whatsoever.  Despite the challenges we both faced, he was happy, well-adjusted, a very good student and my best friend while we transitioned into the new life of “just the two of us.”


However, like any new and uncomfortable situation, challenges can present themselves that can cause upset.  For me, it was the pressure of being a single dad.  More specifically, it was being the only one responsible for getting Jason to and from all of his commitments and activities while balancing my own business and schedule. 


This included arising early each morning to drive Jason to school and adjusting my afternoon schedule, oftentimes cutting meetings or work short to pick him up.  I drove him to his work.  I drove him to friends’ houses.  I even took him to the movies when he had his first dates. 


One day, I was feeling particularly grumpy (and actually quite pathetic) about my new situation and responsibilities as a single parent.  I was on the phone with my friend, Tom, impatiently waiting in the high school parking lot for Jason to get out of school and return home for a quick dinner before needing to drive him into work.


“Tom,” I said, “this really sucks.  My whole day seems to revolve being a chauffeur.  I have to take Jason to school in the morning and I have to pick him up at night.  I have to drive him to all of his activities and work.  I even have to take him on his ‘little dates’.  I feel like spend half of my day in this fricking car!”


There was a moment of silence between us and then Tom shared with me the direct words of wisdom that only a caring friend can provide when we need a wake-up call when he said to me,


“Remember, Chris, you don’t have to take him to school, you get to take him to school.

A deafening silence overcame our conversation as I let his words sink in.  At first, I felt frustration in not being heard during my “pity party”.  That feeling was soon overcome with the realization that he was absolutely right.  What was I thinking?  I got to take my son to school. 


It was a privilege, a gift that I was able to spend so much quality time with him.  The alternative would have been to have Jason live half a world away from me with his mom.  In a few years, he would have his driver’s license and I would be missing those moments of connection to and from school.  In few years after that, he would be off to college.


As I thought about this story this week, I thought of how many times our displeasure with the things we feel we have to do get us off track, purely based on our negative attitudes we hold regarding a situation……. or how the simple change in perception that we get to do something can make our life feel exciting, satisfying and complete.


  • “I don’t have to diet; I get to eat healthy foods that nourish my body.”
  • “I don’t have to exercise; I get to moving my body in exciting and dynamic ways.”
  • “I don’t have to go to work; I get to experience a career which challenges me and compensates me for my efforts.”
  • “I don’t have to take him to school; I get to take him to school.”


I understand that there are times when situations truly need to change for us to better enjoy our lives or for us to move into areas of growth and expansion for ourselves and our families. 


However, even when we find ourselves in these less than desirable situations, we have the ability to change it first through a shift of perception of what is possible.  We then get to take inspired action to make it happen. 


This week, I challenge all of us to be aware of our opportunities for simple, yet profound shifts in perception.  When dissatisfaction with our current circumstances surface or we are feeling overwhelmed or bored with our schedules and responsibilities, we can take a moment and remind ourselves about how good we actually have it. 


Remember, we don’t have to live our lives, we get to live them.


Chris Natzke

Black Belt Leadership Speaking & Coaching


PS:  If you are looking to transform your avoidable "have to's" into exciting "get to's" in 2022, click here to learn more about my 2022 Strategic Planning Power Package.


50% Complete

Subscribe to receive your weekly "Mind of a Champion Tip of the Week" Blog!

Also receive your FREE REPORT, "The Top Ten Big Ideas to Become a Black Belt Leader!