Monday, June 20, 2011

Under Book and Over Look

Lately I’ve been exploring meditation in an attempt to quiet my ever racing mind.  I’ve also heard that prayer is you talking to God and meditation is you sitting back quietly to listen for His response.  So now, instead of rambling on my long prayers and going about my day immediately after, I’ve tacked on some meditation time at the end of each prayer to listen to what God has to say back to me.

One day last week I set aside some very intentional quiet time to really get deep into the prayer and meditation.  In so many words, the response that I got during my meditation was, “You’re doing too much.”  This made so much sense because I’ve come to realize that I tend to over book myself.  This doesn’t mean that I’m scheduling things at the same time, but I’m not really giving myself time to thoroughly breath, reflect, and rest in between appointments and engagements.

I’ve come to learn that just because a block of time is not filled on your calendar or in your day planner, it doesn’t mean that it’s really available.  I’ve had days where I schedule appointments, book signings, meetings and calls back to back to back just because the space is free on my calendar. What I don’t account for is transitions, down time, travel time and the fact that I am not a robot and that I might just get tired somewhere along the way like humans often do.

When I was given the message that I was doing too much, an example was also revealed to me.  Now that my business travel is beginning to slow up a bit, I’d decided that I was going to commit to thirty days of focus to tie up a lot of loose ends in my life.  God was like, “Why does it have to be thirty days? Why can’t you just start by committing to like two days and see how it goes?” Again, this made so much sense for me because I definitely have a tendency to make grand plans, then I find myself either overwhelmed by them or disappointed with myself because I’ve abandoned them.

Another area where I tend to “do too much” is within my thoughts. I have formed a nasty little habit of sweating the small stuff, instead of focusing on the big picture.  Sometimes we all stress ourselves out by thinking about, paying attention to and entertaining some of the most trivial things.  Let’s use a dating situation as a common example of this…

 A man and a woman are dating.  The woman spends a lot of time and energy paying attention to all of the other young ladies that are attracted to or interested in her man.  She overlooks the fact that she gets all of his time, attention and affection, and focuses on all of these women that are making comments on his Facebook page or following him on Twitter.  Instead of focusing on the positive big picture, she is zeroed in on the insignificant small picture.  My advice to here would be,” If you are the quarterback, why in the world are you worried about who’s on the bench?”

Do you see where I’m going with this?

This week I challenge you to UNDER Book yourself for a change and OVER Look the small stuff that doesn’t even matter in the larger scheme of things. As your personal guinea pig for positive change I can assure you that your life will begin to improve instantly.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Get Your Life In Order

I’ve come to know that the state of my physical space is often a pretty accurate representation of my mental and or emotional state. If my car and my loft are junky, then so is my mind. When I’m off balance, overwhelmed, stressed, or just trying to do too much, all of the things around me become a clear sign that it’s time to slow down and pull things back together.  I usually don’t stop to “clean up” until things slow down naturally, but yesterday I began to think...What if we can reverse the effects by flipping the process?

It all boils down to being proactive. What if I began by stopping to take time up front to clean and organize my life?  Would that then lend itself to a more clear and organized mind and emotional state?

I decided that I’d give that a try this week. So last night I cleaned up my loft and created a few posters to guide me through the week, the month, and the rest of the year.  Take a moment to think about this…What are some practices that we could put in to place to make our lives run more smoothly?  Here are a few of my suggestions…

Finances: Create a poster of monthly expenses, (also list due dates and amounts) post them on the wall where you have to look at them every day, and cross them off as you pay them off. 

Long Term Planning: Create a poster that is a grid of the next six months with blank columns under each month.  Write major goals out individually on Post It (sticky) notes.  Place the goals in the columns under the months in which you hope to accomplish the goals.  If life happens and you don’t meet one by the due date that you’d planned for, simply move it over to the next month.

Daily Duties: Create a poster similar to the Long Term Planning Poster described above.  Instead of months as the column titles, list important components of your life.  For me that includes the names of the different companies that I run or consult for, shopping, friends, family and personal.  List what needs to be done under each category and cross them off as you accomplish them.

These visual representations of the things that need to be organized and maintained in your life help to keep you on track. Being able to cross them off and see that they have been taken care of gives you a real sense of accomplishment and progress.

You may not adapt any of these techniques, and I don’t encourage you to if you feel that they won’t work for you.  BUT this week I will challenge you to come up with one process that will help you to get your life in order, thus improving your mental health and productivity.  Engineer yourself for success by beginning with something small and manageable that you know you will stick to.  Once you put your new practice into place, sit back and watch how much more smoothly your life will run.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Year of Repair

What is broken in your life?  Is it a relationship with a family member, friend or significant other? Is it your credit or financial situation? Is it your health? Is it your education? Is it you?  Take a quick diagnostic check or assessment of your life as it is right now and determine what is in need of repair.  If you find that there is more than one thing, prioritize them and zero in on that one thing that is at the top of the list.

This year I came to realize that the area where I was the most broken was financial literacy. And isn’t it ironic that the root word of broken is “broke”.  Being “broke” is no more than a mindset or a pattern or behavior that can indeed be broken in a positive way. 

In an attempt to fix this area with which I had always been challenged I have officially decided to declare this my “Year of Repair” with a focus on financial literacy.  Surprisingly, I have found that as I improve my financial situation through education, awareness and consistent practice of a specific set of action steps, that my self-esteem and confidence have increased and my stress level has decreased.  This has in turn freed up my time and energy to align and balance all of the other areas in my life that are in need of repair as well.

As we approach the middle of the year, now is a good time to reflect upon and reassess the goals that we set for ourselves at the beginning of the year. Many of our goals probably spoke directly to the things in our lives that are in need of repair.  I just stopped writing this to flip back in my journal to see what my goals were and I realize that I have accomplished four of the eight that I set for myself.  I also realize that half of my goals were financial.

This week I challenge you to devote some time to reflecting on where you are in your life, assessing what the challenges or broken pieces are, and beginning to plan for how you want to move forward during the second half of the year. Don’t overwhelm yourself with several projects, simply focus on one thing that you want to repair and go from there.
Here are a few tips to get you started…

1.       Don’t be afraid to ask for help. There is probably a friend or colleague right within your grasp that is strong in the area in which you are weak.

2.       Study books, magazines, or even documentaries or movies that address the area in which you broken and are striving to repair.

3.       Be honest with yourself.  A lot of times it’s hard to admit areas where we fall short of even our own expectations.  Don’t be afraid to admit your mistakes and take the first small step to changing your life for the better.

Happy Year of Repair!