A few short months ago, I was experiencing some significant changes in my life. I was no longer with the company where I spent the last 25+ years of my life. While that transition was happening, my oldest daughter was starting college. Our paths were changing in significant ways and although I wasn’t sure what was next for me, I focused on the opportunity to reiterate some bits of advice to her – just in case she missed anything. I wrote them in a letter to be opened after I dropped her off at the dorm. Recently, I stumbled on the notes I had made when writing those tips and I looked at them a with a different perspective. I viewed them as great reminders for me, as I work through this new chapter in my life.
The reality is, the knowledge and wisdom we think we have is always affected by the lenses and filters of our perspective and context at that time – the view is always different depending on where you’re standing. I thought that by reminding myself of what I ‘already knew’, I may learn something.
- Reduce your footprint. Know what makes it difficult to navigate through your day and change it. Review your stuff, your routines and habits, relationships etc. and figure out what stays or goes, stops or starts. Make the choices necessary to live simply and improve the flow of your life.
- Walk around with a smile. A smile can have the most amazing, random effects on the people around you. The next time you are walking down the street or the hall, gently smile and think of a nice thought. You will feel the energy around you change.
- Call your family and friends. You have the power to make their day and yours a little brighter. Stay in touch by making a call, sending a text, maybe even write a letter or send a card …whatever works. I admit, at the time, this point was a little self-serving, but it is important.
- Keep a schedule, or some routine. That doesn’t mean you become inflexible or unable to adapt. When things get crazy – and they will get crazy, having some form of structure can help you maintain or regain ground until sanity can be restored.
- Do things one at a time…and finish. Finish more often and enjoy the results. When you fully appreciate and complete the task at hand, you experience the moment, and the satisfaction that comes with finishing. A very successful college coach has a clear message in his locker room: “Finish, Finish, Finish.” No matter what it is you are responsible or accountable for, finish it.
- Move your body, and make it work. Exercise. Your body is made up of different fluids and moving parts: all kinds of organic matter that depend on flow to be healthy. We know that when water sits it becomes stagnant. Don’t let that happen to your body. You need it to work to be you. And while you’re at it, EAT BETTER – because you know it will make a difference.
- Take care of your stuff and it will take care of you. Be responsible with your space and your things – from laptops, to smart phones, from screwdrivers to mops and brooms, take care of your stuff. These are things you need to help you do what you do: take care of them.
- Focus on today. Spend too much time worrying about yesterday, you will screw up today. Spend too much time worrying about tomorrow and you will screw up today. Take care of today first; the rest will take care of itself.
- Keep a journal. Writing has a magical way of identifying, organizing, and sometimes even clarifying all those events, thoughts and emotions you deal with on a daily basis. Don’t let them twist you around; observe them.
- Read something different. Reading something that is not directly connected to your field of work, study or general interests will help you gain a different perspective. You may be amazed how even the most different topics are connected.
- Every day, imagine that you’re awesome, and then believe that it’s not just your imagination. Everyone is a gift and everyone has a gift. You need to believe it and you need to work every day to appreciate yourself, and find the gift inside of you.
- Stop and listen to your heartbeat. Make time to sit in a quiet place and listen to you. It doesn’t require a lot of time. Five to fifteen minutes: whatever you can spare, sit, breathe and listen to your heartbeat.
You see, it’s not often that you get the opportunity to stop and not do, reflect and not react, breathe slowly and slow down. I reluctantly accepted the opportunity to not work and have experienced on and off acceptance of the fact for the past few months. There has been a lot of doubt, some fear and uncertainty and even a few sighs of relief. However, every day I am experiencing the opportunity to recharge, and revitalize my mind and body while I determine what’s next. All of these points above still apply in one way or another every day. I hope they meant something to you. Thanks for reading and giving me the opportunity to share my thoughts.