Who am I if I’m not busy?

When Alex Carter, Clinical Professor of Law at Columbia Law School, left me this question during an interview, I had to deploy every mental fitness focusing technique to remain present. As a good question often does, it stopped me in my tracks. I couldn’t shake the prompt.

On Behind the Human, I’ve asked nearly 300 people the question, “Who are you?” and have often reflected on this prompt myself, but never with Alex’s subtle perspective shift — If I’m not busy. For myself, I’m often:


  • Busy in meetings.

  • Busy preparing for interviews.

  • Busy hustling for the next team mental fitness engagement.

  • Busy worrying if the next project will come.


When I’m not busy, I’m flowing through the day in the right meetings. I appreciate learning about my upcoming podcast guests. I’m asked to guide and teach teams mental fitness practices. And, instead of worrying, I’m present, trusting and appreciative of what I have today.

The greatest gift of not being busy is spontaneity.

The spontaneity of a new idea surfaced when taking a quiet walk. Having an open schedule to accept an unplanned invitation to lunch, often leading to new opportunities. Or jumping on my mountain bike for a mid-day ride to refresh/reset my mind for the balance of the day.

Like anything in life, there is a balance to be struck. However, as a society in general, we tend to over-index on busy. But, at what expense?

So, I pose the question to you, “Who are you when you’re not busy?”

Because of this question, Alex ended up writing the instant Wall Street Journal bestselling book, Ask For More and in our conversation shares how she adjusted her perspective and daily routine to design her life outside of the parameters of always being busy. You can listen to our full conversation here. Here's to quality questions and thriving minds!

Marc Champagne

Author of the bestseller, Personal Socrates: Better Questions, Better Life