I think we’ve all been there. There’s some pressing task that must be done and it seems impossible to put down that riveting new novel or stop binge-watching that incredible Netflix series. It’s tempting, but I learned early on in my career that procrastination should be avoided at all costs. The thing about time is you can’t get it back. You don’t want to fritter it away.
I spent my career in law. Steve Susman, who was a partner at Susman Godfrey — where I was also a partner for about 20 years — told me not to procrastinate and not to wait for perfection. It’s advice that I’ve learned to truly appreciate throughout my life.
Since tomorrow isn’t promised to anyone, it’s best to make the most of today. I’m an early riser — up before dawn — and love to begin my mornings with coffee. I’m very involved with various nonprofit organizations and my own foundation and I like to make sure I have a plan in place. That includes going over a daily to-do list. Life can easily feel overwhelming without a clear-cut agenda for the day.
Another thing I would recommend not delaying is travel. I realize the COVID-19 pandemic stymied the entire planet’s travel plans but I’m happily continuing on my mission to visit every country in the world. I’ve been to more than 180 countries so far and I genuinely feel travel is always a fantastic use of time. I think about some of the conversations I’ve had with people all over the world and how priceless those moments are to me.
I also think giving to others is something no one should put off. Nonprofit organizations everywhere need our help now more than ever. Since retiring from law, I’ve been very proud to donate money and time to causes and organizations that are meaningful to me.
I’ve also been blessed with an amazing group of family and friends whom I cherish having in my life. I love spending time with my five grandchildren and nine godchildren. I realize how precious every moment with them is and how quickly time does fly by.
Time spent with those we love is always time well spent. The quote “Procrastination is the thief of time” is definitely one that’s better understood as one matures.
Since retiring from law, I’ve committed my life to philanthropy and it’s been so rewarding to continue making a difference in my hometown of Houston and beyond.
I think it’s easy to feel like one person can’t change anything, but that’s not true. I believe that it starts with one person. If we all do our part in each of our communities, the world will inevitably benefit. I like to always see the good in people and focus on that. I believe we all have unique gifts and can bring something special to the table. If I could go back in time and give my younger self advice, I’d tell myself, “Don’t sweat the small stuff.” We all take risks sometimes that don’t work out. We all make mistakes, but we can learn and grow from those moments and become the people we were always meant to be.
When you’re young, it’s very easy to believe you have plenty of time, but the truth is you really don’t. No one knows how much time they have on Earth, so it’s important to make the most of it. Set goals. Dream big and give it all you’ve got.