Present Tense Interruption

Joe Jacobi
4 min readJan 3, 2021


Montferrer i Castellbò, Catalunya (Photo by Joe Jacobi, December, 2020)

“Estic content.”

Sometimes, as Catalan words roll off of my tongue, I process the syllables and sounds of this challenging language through the system of my American English brain. Although this particular phrase translates to “I am happy,” why is it is that the filtered sound of the word, “content,” challenges me?

Is it that if I am content, then I am not moving? Not optimizing? Not being productive nor efficient?

More than three years into this Catalan life experiment, “estic content” is a gift. Making peace with this phrase requires frequent unwrapping but once we do, we are present.

Yet, our thoughts do not seem content in a state of presence. For better or worse, our thoughts lead us towards destinations that we never quite reach. Or resolve.

I will never forget the second-to-last conversation with my father last spring. He was just shy of his 90th birthday and wrestled with his own thoughts about a critical decision in his life nearly 70 years earlier. He vividly told me this story as if it had happened a day earlier.

Of course we want to believe in and pursue a better way forward. Once we identify this path, a gap emerges between “there” and “where are are.” This gap creates tension.

To combat or ignore this tension, especially consistently over time, can be brutal.

In pursuit of a more gentle place to stand that accepts this tension for what it is — simply a moment that comes and goes — I seek more time in this tense.

Somewhere between skills I have learned and forces that are beyond my control is a realization… a realization that we are never more than a split second away from getting lost. To lose ourselves in the noise, the scroll, the shouting, the negativity, and the gossip.

We lose ourselves in the defense of the never-ending attack on our attention.

I strive for higher quality interruptions against the trivial. Nobody can do this for me, or for us. We can only do this for ourselves.

Choosing three words that shape the direction of my year is an annual practice that I learned a long time ago from my friend and fellow Sunday morning writer, Chris Brogan.

This is not just something that I write today and forget about in a few weeks. Even here at the start of 2021, I loved what my three words from last year brought to my life day after day and month after month in 2020.

So, here are my three words for 2021:


Each of these words strike a chord inside of me and in unison, they form a rhythm that I will look forward to carrying in cadence in the spirit of moving, growing, and just being over the next 12 months.

Of course, I would love to know your three words that create your theme for 2021. Please share them with me by replying to this email.

And before signing off today, please read the short message below my signature — cool things coming!

With gratitude, — Joe

PS — If you are reading Sunday Morning Joe here on Medium, thank you!

Having said that, now is a great time to read along via my Sunday morning mailing list to which you can subscribe for free right HERE.

I say this because on Sunday, January 10, 2021, I am launching something new with Sunday Morning Joe that will tie together a theme for the next six months. This theme will enhance the time we spend together on every Sunday. Subscribing will ensure that you directly receive and experience the full benefit of this creative change.

And if you’re thinking of people with whom to share Sunday Morning Joe, while the value of a single post remains true, for the same reason I mention above, right now is the best time of year to join us. Please consider sharing our journey together HERE.

(By the way, nothing is being sold — just a structural change to the collective journey of the weekly reading experience — which is always free.)

Connect with Joe:

5 With Joe Performance Coaching

I coach established and experienced professionals, who feel stuck in place, to thrive in transition and bring focus to what matters most without compromising their lives.

My personal experiences winning an Olympic Gold Medal, serving as CEO of a national sports organization, and my current “Simple, Slower, and Less” lifestyle in the Catalan Pyrenees help to form accountable and transformative collaborations that see my clients create their next and most impactful chapter.



Joe Jacobi

Olympic Gold Medalist, Performance Coach, & Author helping leaders & teams perform their best without compromising their lives.


See more recommendations