How’s That Working For You?

As Ecclesiastes and The Byrds remind us, there are seasons in our lives. Ebbs and flows. We are always changing and dynamic. Sometimes the change is dramatic and swift; at other times it’s subtle, only recognized when we take a look back.

It’s following these subtle shifts that we might find ourselves hanging on to behaviors, habits, or even relationships that served us prior to the shift and may not now.

A growing awareness of a habitual behavior had been growing over the last several weeks. I sort of felt I should change, but it wasn’t clear to me why.  Then in recent conversation a friend shared her favorite question from Dr. Phil McGraw: How’s that working for you?

Aha! This behavior I’m recognizing as something out of sync with who I am – who I’ve become – is no longer working for me. It used to, but no more. There’s been a change. I’ve changed.

Knowing this actually feels liberating. Dropping the habit, now that I know why it should be dropped, doesn’t seem daunting at all. I’m breathing easier. Feel lighter.

Our behavior often supports who we are; gives us what we need. When significant change occurs – new job, new relationship, divorce – or more subtle change like a drop or rise in stress level, what once was a perfect fit may no longer be. At those moments of recognition, it may be helpful to take a cue from Dr. Phil.

January 201

Coaching: Anticipation

Whatever you’re anticipating, it can be used to your advantage.  Discard worry and use anticipation of events to your advantage.  Ready to consider this?

Here we go….

What have you been worrying about lately?  What are you anticipating that’s causing your angst?  Identify it.  Name it.  Recognize it and reflect on it.

Now that you know what it is that’s causing worry, what can you do about it?  Is it in your control?  If so, what can you change?  Is it outside of your control?  Recognize this and let it go.  Really.

Finally, what do you have planned in the future that you are positively anticipating?  A gathering with friends?  The holidays?  A vacation?  Finding a new job?  Buying something special just for you?  Whatever it is, take time each day to anticipate what’s coming your way.  Nothing in the works?  Plan something.  Soon.

Anticipation can work in our favor or it can work against us.  It’s up to us to make the choice of where we want to spend our time and energy.  Anticipate good things!

Positive Anticipation

Just as anticipation of demanding events can make us more tense, anticipation of something wonderful happening in the future can make us feel joyful right now.  Particularly during stressful times, anticipating a fun and exciting event can lift our spirits.

This is exactly why it’s so important to have positive plans in our future.  As we traverse through stressful times, if all we can see are more demands and, at best, a few mundane happenings, our anticipation will be primarily negative.  It must be balanced out.  Yet too often we leave planning for fun in the hands of others.

Personally, I’ve learned that during stressful times I have a tendency to quit planning for fun – or for much of anything, for that matter.  It’s at these times I know I need to push through my anxiety and make some happy plans. When worry has a hold on you, this is the best time to create something good to anticipate.  It can be something small such as lunch with a friend.  Or something much larger, like a vacation.  Either way, when we have something fun to anticipate, it makes us hopeful in the present.

Anticipation of positive events brings hope and hope is a perfect emotion to balance out our worries.

Oh, the Anticipation!

It has been said that when left with incomplete information, we fill in the blanks with the worst-case scenario.  Human nature seems to lead us down the path of worry.  Anticipation of the unknown can create a host of anxieties.

What are we doing to ourselves?  Looking back, those events we spend so much time worrying about rarely play up to our negative expectations and often never happen at all.  It’s the anticipation of the event that gets our blood pressure to rise, adding stress to already stressful times.

How can we change?  Here are a few things that have worked for me:

  • Look back at similar circumstances and remind yourself that the worst-case scenario very rarely happens. It likely won’t happen this time, either.
  • Walk through the worst-case scenario playing in your head.  How would you react? What would REALLY be the worst that could happen?  See yourself living through it. Learning from it.
  • To counter the above exercise, walk through the best-case scenario.  See how you can shine in a difficult situation.  As you do this, take note of what you need to do to support this happening so that you are best prepared.
  • Find someone to alleviate your fears by reminding you of your knowledge, your expertise, or your preparedness – whatever it is that you have that is going to carry you through this event.
  • Finally, remember what you are doing to yourself.  Sometimes simply remembering that you are worrying about situations that will likely not take place may bring a little peace.

And then, walk through it.  Make the presentation.  Ask for the raise.  Have that difficult conversation with your kid, spouse or parent.  Step into the hot air balloon.  Put on your party dress.  Go.  Shine.

Count Your Blessings

A week focused on being grateful must include the “Three Blessings” exercise.  I’ve mentioned it before and here I go again because doing this will change your perspective. Gratitude and thanks have been frequent topics on this site and regular readers know how strongly exercising gratitude contributes to our overall well-being.

In Martin Seligman’s most recent book Flourish, he builds on the Positive Psychology movement with concrete, research-based activities each of us can do to not simply be happy, but to flourish.

Because we spend so much time focusing on the negative (we do, you aren’t alone on this one), taking time to focus on positive events in our lives helps to add balance.  Ready to improve your well-being?  Here’s what Seligman suggests:

Every night for the next week, set aside ten minutes before you go to sleep.  Write down three things that went well today and why they went well.  You may use a journal or your computer to write about the events, but it is important that you have a physical record of what you wrote.  The three things need not be earthshaking in importance (“My husband picked up my favorite ice cream for dessert on the way home from work today”), but they can be important (“My sister just gave birth to a healthy baby boy”).

Next to each positive event, answer the question “Why did this happen?”  For example, if you wrote that your husband picked up some ice cream, write “because my husband is really thoughtful sometimes” or “because I remembered to call him from work and remind him to stop by the grocery store.” Or if you wrote, “My sister just gave birth to a healthy baby boy,” you might pick as the cause “God was looking out for her” or “She did everything right during her pregnancy.”

Writing about why the positive events in your life happened may seem awkward at first, but please stick with it for one week.  It will get easier.  The odds are that you will be less depressed, happier, and addicted to this exercise six months from now.

This activity is appropriately called the “Three Blessings” exercise.  How wonderful to set aside time each day to count our blessings!  We have so many…

You can find all books mentioned in this blog online at the Coach Carolyn Store.

Outside Expectations

As high as our own expectations may be, it seems like we all have at least one person in our lives whose expectations we will never meet.  There’s always someone out there that thinks we should be more, do more, or have more.  Unfortunately, often these people also don’t come right out and tell us what they expect, they just let us know when we’ve let them down by not meeting those unsaid expectations.

As frustrating as this can be, this is about them.  Not you.

Read through that first paragraph again.  When put in its abstract form, you can readily see that there isn’t much of anything you can do to meet an unsaid, implied, or vague expectation.  It’s out of your hands.

In this circumstance, what matters is how we react to the situation.  Granted, if the person is close to us it’s difficult to not feel like we’ve let him or her down.  And if we haven’t met our own expectations as well, adding the knowledge that we’ve let someone else down can make everything seem worse.

Not fair.

In an ideal world, we’d be able to let the person know that placing expectations on us isn’t fair and that it should stop because it’s not helpful.  And right now you’re thinking, “Yeah, right.  Have you met my mom (or dad, or spouse, or friend)?”

OK, maybe that conversation isn’t going to happen.  What can happen is that you can anticipate it, remind yourself that it’s not about you, and then when it comes refuse to let it demean you in any way.

When we miss expectations that have been clearly set and that we’ve agreed to, we need to come clean, own up to whatever we did to miss the mark, and take responsibility for what comes next.  When expectations are undefined and misplaced, they are not ours to own.  Don’t take them on after the fact.  Just listen and move on.

Coaching Challenge: Relax

It seems odd to put out a “challenge” to relax, but a challenge seemed more appropriate than simply asking readers to think about how they could relax.  As you’ve read here this week, relaxing is something that must be done, not simply thought about.  And so, this your challenge to relax.

Here we go….

You may be a person who relaxes often or someone who rarely does; either way, we all can relax more than we do.  These challenges go out to all.

  • Right now, what are your shoulders doing?  Are they somewhere up around your ears?  Breathe in deeply through your nose and let them drop as you exhale.  Push those guys down if you need to (I need to!).  Repeat until your shoulders are truly relaxed and where they should be.
  • Now that you’re more relaxed, check out your schedule next week and find 30 minutes when you can plan to relax.  What will you do?  Below are a few suggestions.
    • Go for a walk.  Alone.  No headphones.  Just you and your thoughts.
    • Light some candles, fill the bathtub, and soak.
    • Lie down and listen to calming music, ocean waves or loons.
    • Read.
    • If you can carve off 60 minutes, get a massage. Or a facial. Or meet a friend you haven’t seen in too long.
  • What if none of these things sounds appealing to you?  Use your 30 minutes to figure out what relaxes you.  Pay attention over the next few days and recognize when your stress level goes down.  Capture and remember those things so you can do more of them.
  • Do you have kids in your life? Find time to do something relaxing with them. Children often respond favorably to bike rides, walking the dog, or playing a card game.  You’ll be teaching them how to relax and they won’t even know it!
  • Extra credit: Make that 30-minute (or 60-minute) time slot a recurring event.

Relax. Refresh. Renew.

What Relaxes You?

Sure, we all know we need to relax.  The next thing to do is to figure out exactly what that means.

This was brought to light as I discussed yesterday’s post with the teen mentioned there.  He said he relaxes all the time when he plays video games – and then proceeded to tell me which ones relaxed him the most.

Sigh.

Then again, maybe he’s right.  After all, who am I to say what will lower his stress levels?  Perhaps gaming really does do that for him.  I know there are plenty of things that other people do to relax that I would never, ever do to relieve stress.  Gaming would definitely cause me more stress than relief!  Golf is another example.  Just holding a club makes me tense up.  Others find it to be a perfect release.

Like happiness, success and so many other things, relaxation is yet another thing that we need to define for ourselves.  Whatever those things are for you, the key is to make time to do them regularly.

Relax, My Child

It’s the last day of summer vacation for Fargo kids.  Since I work from home I’ve had the pleasure of spending quite a bit of time with my teen and his friends over the summer months.  They are at that age where they’re constantly moving with high energy.  Even so, it’s rare to see them not engaged with some sort of electronic device.  And I, like many parents, try to remember to suggest a break from all things plugged in or charged from time to time.  It happens, but not often enough.

How can they ever relax?  True, my son could pop in his ear buds, close his eyes, and listen to soothing music.  Yeah, right.  OK, so maybe it is an uphill journey to get a teen to relax.  However, it’s a journey that parents should encourage children to take.

Most of us who have teens grew up during a time when we had to figure out what to do when it came to play.  There were stretches of silence and boredom and solitude.  Whether we liked it or not, this was a kind of forced relaxation.  Not so with our kids.

Fast forward and as adults we are reminded of the importance of relaxation because of the health and emotional benefit this time of renewal brings.  Think of how much harder it will be for our young adult children to relax when they’ve rarely done so throughout their lives.

In her book Simplify Your Life, Elaine St. James encourages us to “Teach Your Kids the Joy of Solitude.”

…teach them how to spend a quiet afternoon at home.  Set up a regular time in their week where they can be away from the unremitting influence of their peers, as well as away from the pandemonium of the electronic age.  Fortify them with good books (but no TV) and thoughtful meditative exercises they can do, so they get in the habit of personal reflection, and of seeing answers within their own heart.

Once your children learn the joy of solitude, it’ll be a gift they can carry with them throughout their lives.

A gift.  No, my kiddo won’t feel like it’s a gift when I suggest he does nothing for a while.  My hope is that one day when he’s an adult and needs to break free from the stress of his days, perhaps then he’ll look back and thank his mom for allowing him to be alone with his thoughts and reflections.  Until then, I’ll continue to encourage him to relax on his journey.

Relax. Refresh. Renew.

The first post here this week is on Tuesday instead of Monday because I’m coming off a relaxing long weekend.  Sure, every moment wasn’t stress-free, but overall I’m feeling refreshed because I was able to spend time away from home enjoying dear friends.  And I had a massage, too!

While I tend to be a person on the move, I’m also someone who recognizes the need to take time to recharge.  Unfortunately, the momentum most of us have in our lives is to go, move, do instead of relax, refresh, renew.  It seems contrary, but we need to plan to relax.  Deliberately recline.  Purposefully stop and do nothing.

As I say to my kids, “need” is a strong word and I deliberately use it here.  We do need to relax.  Why?  According to the experts at Mayo Clinic, there are many health benefits to relaxation.

Practicing relaxation techniques can reduce stress symptoms by:

  • Slowing your heart rate
  • Lowering blood pressure
  • Slowing your breathing rate
  • Increasing blood flow to major muscles
  • Reducing muscle tension and chronic pain
  • Improving concentration
  • Reducing anger and frustration
  • Boosting confidence to handle problems

To get the most benefit, use relaxation techniques along with other positive coping methods, such as exercising, getting enough sleep, and reaching out to supportive family and friends.

This you know.  We all know these things because when we take time to truly relax we can feel it way down in our core.  We feel healthier.  We feel happier.  We are, simply, less stressed.

Feeling stressed?  Relax.  Refresh.  Renew.

Limit Your Options

Do you have too many options?  Oddly enough, there are those who tell us that having too many choices available can cause distress and paralyze decision-making.  The more I think about it, the more I have to agree.

Lately I’ve observed that when I get more specific about what I want, choices come easier.  The lease on my car will be up soon and the thought of car shopping has been a bit overwhelming.  But as I began to limit myself by defining the type of vehicle, whether to buy new or used, and even getting specific about the color, looking has become easier.  The process of limiting my choices has provided the freedom to shop because I have a plan.

That’s not to say that I couldn’t change my course of action in the process; however, I don’t have the same sense of dread that I had before when I think about figuring out what it is that I’ll drive next.

This same experience has happened when making choices about where to live, when to vacation, what to eat, or even how to dress for a certain event.  Limiting options makes choosing simpler.

Feeling overwhelmed regarding decisions you need to make?  Maybe it’s time to limit your options; whittle them down until your choices become fewer.  You may be surprised how regulating your choices can be liberating and help decisions become less stressful.

What’s Your Hobby?

Turns out that the topic for this week ties into the ideas of Stephen Covey discussed here yesterday.  The last few days have been dedicated to sharpening the saw, so to speak.  How so?  Through a hobby I have.

As Covey reminded us in his work, “sharpening the saw” is when we take the time to balance and renew our resources, energy, and health to “create a sustainable, long-term, effective lifestyle. It primarily emphasizes on exercise for physical renewal, prayer (meditation, yoga, etc.) and good reading for mental renewal. It also mentions service to the society for spiritual renewal.” (Wikipedia)

It’s amazing how a hobby can take away the worries of the day, bring on a challenge, and provide new learning.  Oftentimes hobbies are purposeful as we create a tangible outcome – like jars of pickles, a renewed chair, or a beautiful photo album – or meet a particular goal – like finish a marathon, complete a kayaking journey, or summit a new peak.  This sense of purpose brings meaning to our lives and enriches us.

Unfortunately, hobbies find their way to the bottom or our priority list too often.  These activities can seem frivolous, even selfish.  They are, however, important to our self-development, to our learning more about ourselves, and to ensure that our lives are multi-dimensional.  We are more than our work.  We are more than our family.  Our lives are a tapestry woven with many different threads, and our hobbies provide some of the brighter strands.

While I committed a crazy amount of time to my hobby this week, I will reap benefits from this commitment for months to come.  I learned a few new things and enjoy looking at – and consuming – the outcome of my efforts.

Been a while since you spent time on your favorite hobby?  I leave you with these words from Dale Carnegie:

Today is life – the only life you are sure of.  Make the most of today.  Get interested in something.  Shake yourself awake.  Develop a hobby.  Let the winds of enthusiasm sweep through you.  Live today with gusto.

Play Goals

We do not quit playing because we grow old; we grow old because we quit playing.  ~Oliver Wendell Holmes

Happier people make time for playing in their lives.  Children are natural players.  Unfortunately, as we age we forget how to play and most of us rarely prioritize it.

Why bother with what seems like a frivolous activity?

In the book Creating Your Best Life, Caroline Adams Miller and Dr. Michael B. Frisch describe the benefits like this:

Playing games and being spontaneous make us smile.  Play goals also often involve learning new habits, making friends, getting fit, laughing, and exploring the world.  Psychologists note that humor is one of the most powerful antidotes to discouragement and pessimism.  Play also often puts us in a state of “flow” – where time stands still and we are completely engaged in the challenges in front of us – and it helps us restore our equilibrium and simply unwind or recharge our batteries when we need it most.

Play goals?  When I first read this – and even now – those two words stood out for me.  Who sets goals to play?

As I think about how I could bring more play into my own life, a few ideas have come to mind.  I’ll share them in hopes of getting your own creative ideas flowing.

I miss playing a musical instrument.  When I was a kid, I bounced from lesson to lesson, learning to play everything from the piano to the bassoon to the bass guitar.  I could set a goal around relearning to play – or I could pick up a new instrument again.

My workouts have become routine and a bit like work.  What could I do that would make working out more fun?  I’m going to do some research.

My teenager plays all the time – but mostly on his XBox.  I’m sure there are ways that we could play together as a family if we put our minds to it.  He’s always asking to play Monopoly! Maybe it’s time to establish a family game night.

Setting play goals.  Sounds odd, but perhaps it’s something we should all do so we don’t lose the playful spirit of our youth.

Time For Self-Discovery

When was the last time you discovered something new about yourself?  Dramatic events like leaving or losing a job, changing geographical location, or having a child leave home often create an environment where we may become introspective.  But we don’t have to wait for a dramatic event; we can take a look inward at any time.

What the above-described events do is create space, a noticeable pause.  You see we must be quiet in order to learn about ourselves.  And we must take time.  Time to read.  Time to write things down.  Time to think.

Unfortunately, the most precious, fleeting, consumed thing we have is time, which we often reserve to give to others.  Spending time alone simply to renew seems, somewhat understandably, selfish.

To paraphrase a tweet made by Simon Sinek, we wrestle with the paradox of being selfish and selfless.  True selflessness requires energy and a solid understanding of who we are.  Without that, our acts of generosity can become needy, robotic or inappropriately placed.  To be selfless we must from time to time be selfish.  We must fill the tank.  Put on our own mask before assisting others.

So, when was the last time you discovered something new about yourself?  If it’s been a while, perhaps it’s time to slow down long enough to hear your own thoughts, challenge your ideas, and push yourself a little further than you’ve gone before.

Take A Vacation!

It’s June!  It’s summer!  Where are you going on your summer vacation?  What?  No plans yet?  Yes… you can take a vacation.

You know that vacations improve your health, create stronger connections with your travel partners, and expand your view of the world.  There are those of you who know this and travel; there are those of you who know this and think you can’t.

As I’ve said here before, there’s little else that makes me crazier than hearing “I can’t.”  Here’s a few ways to help you consider how you can.

  • Vacation where you are.  Sure, the “stay-cation” is the latest trend… but there is something to it.  Almost everyone neglects some interesting things in their own city or town that tourists check out when they visit.  Within 100 miles of your home there are bound to be museums, historical sites, hiking or biking trails,  or unique eateries that you haven’t yet explored.  Take a day or a long weekend and check them out.
  • Plan.  When my sister-in-law decided to put away $50 from each paycheck, she had enough money to go to an all-inclusive resort in the tropics within 12-24 months.  Each of her family members did this and they were all able to go together.  Even small amounts add up over time.  Give up your daily coffee or eating out once a week and put it in a travel account.
  • Be prepared.  My husband traveled to Europe for the first time FREE because he had his passport ready to go.  Another friend traveled to China at a reduced cost because a friend asked her to join her on business travel.  If you don’t have a passport, you’ll never get out of the country.  If you do, you might.
  • Make vacationing a priority.  I mentioned this week that my parents were fans of extensive road trips (from Fargo, ND we DROVE to South Padre Island, TX and to Banff in Alberta, Canada – and we’ve done this with our kids as well).  Growing up on a farm, the only way my parents could escape work was to physically leave.  So we did, whether we had money or not.  Years without money included very rustic camping and some hotels we’d rather forget.  But we also created memories that last a lifetime.

Regardless of how you choose to travel, I encourage you to figure out a way to take a real break from the day-to-day.  Because yes, you can take a vacation.

Maybe It’s Time To Quit

If you find that you can’t focus on a task, quit.

What?  That doesn’t sound like something that would come from a good coach, does it?  But I mean it.  If you can’t focus on a task, you may be better off doing it at another time.

As you’ve read here before, throughout the day your willpower decreases – a phenomenon known as “Ego Depletion.”  When we’ve spent our willpower reserves, that’s when we begin to lose our judgment and make poor decisions.

Recently I found myself online around 4:00PM shopping for coffee and I couldn’t decide what to order.  I spent several minutes looking through the website, trying to make a decision and then realized that it just wasn’t going to happen that day at that time.  I quit.  Quitting at that point delayed the order by a day (not the end of the world) but it probably saved me money and time.  Money because when we can’t make a decision we sometimes decide to buy every choice and time because the next day I was able to more quickly get through the ordering process and be done.

So is this license to procrastinate?  No.  But it is license to recognize when you are at your best so that you can take full advantage.  It’s equally important to acknowledge when you’re not running at full capacity and the impact that might have.

Can’t focus?  Find a time when you can and, for now, quit.

Coaching Challenge: Strengths

You have strengths and you need to be using them.  Every day.  In all that you do.  This week I’m challenging you to do so.

Here we go….

  • Still haven’t taken the time to figure out exactly what your strengths are? Use one or all of these methods to find out a little more about yourself.  Keep in mind, this is NOT something you can ask of someone else – only you know what makes you feel strong so only you can do this work.  Also, each of these looks at strengths from differing angles, so it’s not overkill to do them all.
  • Find ways that you can use your strengths each day.  I described how I do it in yesterday’s post.  Of course, you can’t very effectively do this if you haven’t done the work in the first bullet.  So go, get to it!
  • As Danielle LaPorte suggests, find ways to do more of what you love each day.  I will expand that and add: find ways to do more things that strengthen you each day.  In time you’ll be doing more of what you love and what strengthens you and less of what you loathe and depletes you.

People who use their strengths are happier and more successful, more balanced and less stressed.  All fantastic reasons to focus on that which makes you feel strong.

Defining Balance

“Balance” is a myth.  You know that, right?  What we must strive for is fulfillment, our balance coming from each area of our lives being properly filled, not precariously balanced.  More on fulfillment tomorrow.  Until then, here’s what balance looked like for me last year.  It looks very different for me now.  I had it then and I have it now because I continue to define it for myself.  As should you.

My Balanced Life originally posted January 24, 2011

I have a balanced life.

Most evenings I leave work somewhere around 5:00 PM. I see my kids, parents, and extended family. I even cook for my family quite a bit. Once or twice a week, my husband and I walk the dogs (when it’s above freezing, anyway). I spend time with my friends. Lately I’ve been making time to exercise. I regularly update my Facebook status.

On the flip side, I’m going to grad school. I lead three or four global projects in one of the largest, well-known companies in the world. I missed Platinum status with Delta by about 1500 miles last year. I eat my lunch at my desk (or by my computer if I’m working from home) more days than not. I coach a handful of people each week.

And yes, I have a balanced life.

Balance is a funny thing. What might look nuts to you is balanced to me. Why? Because my balance is all mine. And your balance is all yours. That’s the beauty and the trouble with it. The beauty is that it is yours to find and have. The trouble is that it’s all up to you.

Sorry.

Not your boss. Not your spouse. Not your mother-in-law who won’t drop everything to stay with your sick kid. You.

I know the moment when I claimed my balance. When I declared that my life was mine and I was taking it back. Claiming and doing are not the same, mind you. It took more than that singular moment to find my balance and it would be a lie if I said it wasn’t work to maintain it. 10 years later, it can still be a daily decision to keep everything in line.

So what does balance look like for you? And what is that first step you can take? For me, it was leaving my laptop at the office when work really could wait until the next day. When I got pretty good at that, I added another step… It’s OK to have dinner at 7:00; I give the kids a snack while they watch me make supper and we eat later. And then another… I will not forgo girlfriend time, ever. And then another…

Claim your balance. It’s up to you.

Thanks for reading! Now head on over to Facebook and join me there!

Coaching: Time Management

Time management is not a very exciting topic. But time management is what ensures our balance. Time management creates time for important relationships. Well-managed time reduces stress. The discipline of owning our schedules instead of letting them own us is often what needs to be brought into play as a first step in gaining control in many, many areas of life. With that thought in mind, let’s close the week by moving through a mini coaching engagement. As always, I invite you to really think about and write down your answers.

Here we go…

When was the last time you really paid attention to how you spend your time? How often do you ensure you have time planned for friends, family or yourself? If you haven’t been paying attention (or if one of these areas has been neglected), pick one – friends, family or you – to focus on in the next two weeks. What will be your first step to get more time allocated to this priority? When can you make that happen?

How purposeful are you in choosing what you do every day? How often do you say “yes” to whatever lands in front of you without giving it much thought? What would happen if you paused before saying “yes?” In that pause, think about what purpose it would serve to have that event/meeting/gathering on your calendar. No purpose? I challenge you to say “no.”

I wish you a weekend – and a lifetime, for that matter – filled with friends, family and a little time for yourself. Live with purpose and remember, as Stephen Covey has said, the key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.

Visit the Breakthrough Strategies website!

The Choice Is Yours

“Oh, I’m too busy to….”

Complete the sentence with what you’ve said or what others have said to you.  To check Facebook, to go to coffee with a friend, to exercise, to go on vacation, to watch T.V., etc., etc., etc.

No you’re not.

Millions of people do all those things.  Often.  Sometimes every day.  Do you really think you’re busier than all of them?  I don’t.  I think you’ve prioritized differently than all of them.

Not everyone, but many who use the “I’m too busy to…” line also wear the my-crazy-life martyr hat as well.  After all, all the things these people must do have been thrust at them, right?

Wrong.  Each one of us has more control over our lives and our time than we take.

Read that again.

You are busy because you have made yourself busy.  Of course, kid events, charities, church and work are important.  But the time they take from your life is completely up to you.

So next time you hear yourself beginning to say, “Oh, I’m too busy to…” remember that the truth is more like, “I choose other events and activities before doing….”

And the choice is yours.

Check out this week’s Coaching Tip on improving productivity!