"Just as your car runs more smoothly and requires less energy to go faster and farther when the wheels are in perfect alignment, you perform better when your thoughts, feelings, emotions, goals, and values are in balance." -- Brian Tracy
As you read this month's issue, I will be in Ukraine with my family, visiting our exchange student who lived with us last year. I hope to get my "wheels realigned" while I am away. Since starting my business nine years ago, I have not ever been away from my work for more than 9 days in a row. As was the case when my family went on our Mexico mission trip during the last two summer vacations, I will not have access to e-mail. It feels strange just thinking about it
in a wonderful sort of way.
To have your wheels truly aligned, there are several spokes on the wheel that require attention. These "spokes" represent these parts of your life: Physical, Mental, Spiritual, Social, Career, Family, and Financial.
If one (or more) of the above "spokes" has been neglected because of time-consuming activities on one or more spokes -- such as being career focused or being a social butterfly -- you' re probably out-of-balance.
As you become aware of where your life is out of balance, ask yourself these questions:
- What is ONE thing that if I did regularly, would have the greatest positive impact on my work life? - What is ONE thing that if I did regularly, would have the greatest positive impact on my personal life? - What's stopping me from doing these things? - What will it take for me to commit to doing the one thing I identified in #1 and #2 above?
I'll bet the things you listed for questions #1 and 2 are important but not urgent -- things that you could easily say, "I'll do it next week" But when next week comes, it' s no different than this week and you put off your promise to yourself or others for yet another week, while you attend to something else that's "urgent." Here are some examples of things that commonly make the list:
PERSONAL Exercise One hour a day with my family Date night with spouse weekly Healthier eating habits Meditate Connect with a friend Leave work by 5 PM Go to bed by 10 PM on weeknights
PROFESSIONAL Weekly planning Protected time for major projects Delegate more Meet individually with assistant 15 minutes/day to discuss priorities Check e-mail only 3x/day Take public transportation to work and catch up on reading
----10-Point Alignment & Balance Check!---
Not sure where to begin? Review the list below and highlight what will help you get realigned.
1. Are you complete with the past? An incompletion is anything you pay attention to or give thought to that needs to be different than it is right now.
The Past represents what you did, didn't do, should have done, or did wrong or inadequately. In other words, it remains with you in some way. You are not your past, yet you may be living as if you are.
Action Idea: Make a list of people and projects that you're incomplete with. I've created a RAM Dump exercise to help you with this. Once you've completed your RAM Dump (dumping all the sticky notes from your brain onto paper), you have four options to make it complete: Do, Defer, Delegate, Dump. Download the RAM Dump exercise at: http://www.orgcoach.net/pdf/ram_dump.pdf
2. Do you make choices based on your values? As you strengthen your personal foundation, there will be more time, energy, and space in your life. You'll be able to express yourself by setting goals based on your true values (i.e., what's most important to you).
Action: Identify your core values. Make choices based on those values. Let go of goals that you cannot link to your values.
3. Are you living in integrity? To be your best, make choices that are in alignment with your values and priorities. You are responsible for the decisions you make and the actions you do or don' t take.
Action Idea: Make a list of the ways in which you are currently out of integrity with yourself, and get to the source of each item to resolve it fully. Let go of gremlin language ("I should...I gotta... have to" ) and replace it with "I choose to."
4. Are your needs being met? What are your non-negotiable needs (aside from food, shelter, and clothing)? Do you need acknowledgement, connection with nature, time alone, safety, aesthetics, financial security, routine, adventure?
Action Idea: Identify your non-negotiable needs and ask family and friends to help you meet and honor those needs
5. Do you have clear boundaries? Boundaries are lines you establish around yourself to protect your heart, mind and soul from the unhealthy or damaging behavior of others.
Action Idea: Identify the things that people may no longer do or say around you or to you. Educate others on how to respect your new boundaries. Be clear about what you choose to do when others don' t respect your boundaries.
6. How high are your standards? Standards are the behaviors and actions you're willing to hold yourself to. Examples:
You grew up in a home that had to be kept spotless all the time. Does it serve you to maintain the same standards -- perhaps at the expense of other values that are more important to you - now that you have your own home? As a child, you were taught to clean your plate at every meal, whether you were hungry or not. Does that rule serve you and your health?
Action Idea: Let go of the standards you should have and make a list of the standards that you choose to live by.
7. What are you tolerating in your life right now? What are you putting up with that you choose to do something about? Have you been taught not to complain, get angry, or argue - even when it means jeopardizing your health or short-circuiting your passions?
Action Idea: Make a list of the things you are tolerating at home and work. Make the request and/or take the actions to eliminate these tolerations from your daily personal and professional life.
8. Do you have a positive attitude? Do you see the glass as half full or half empty? Attitude is the most important possession you have. Your attitude will determine your perception. Perception is a result of all of the decisions you've made about your world. Thoughts create emotions, and emotions cause you to generate expectations and attitudes. For example, when you perceive someone as kind or unkind, your thoughts stimulate an emotion, which then becomes an attitudinal vibe that determines how you interact with others, and how they interact with you. (This is called self-fulfilling prophecy.) People will forget what you said or even what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel.
Take the negative and find something positive about it. Be grateful for what you have right now. Develop reserves of time, love, and resources. Remember this equation: E (Event) + R (Response) = O (Outcome). No matter what the event, you choose your response, which will affect the outcome. Each week have 3 written statements you need to hear. Verbalize them 3x/day. When you are angry and need closure, rewrite the ending.
9. How strong is your support network? Everyone needs to belong, to be loved, and to be supported. It helps to have people who can share your life, dreams, and concerns with a level of intimacy once reserved for families. Do you have a healthy support network in your life presently, either with biological family or with a family you've created?
Action Idea: Operate from choice rather than obligation. Choose to share the more intimate aspects of your life with those who love and support you. Actively seek out people whose company you enjoy.
10. Are you clear about what you want? If you don' t know where you' re going, any road will take you there. It' s important to be clear about what you want so you can develop a clear path to it. Not sure where to begin? Mary Robinson Reynolds offers a wonderful model for your inner power to decide
Action Idea: If you have trouble expressing what you want, try working with these statements:
- I am willing to know what I want. When you make this statement of intention, your inner creative self will begin to receive information you may have previously rejected. Keep a journal of what comes to you.
- I am willing to ask for what I want. Now you can begin to formulate specific requests that will enable you to receive what you want.
- I am willing to receive exactly what I have asked for. This can be applied to attracting a life partner, an improved relationship with your child, a new career or promotion, or a new house or car.
As you identify choices above that will help you build more balance into your life, create a Perhaps List (see a sample at: http://www.orgcoach.net/perhaps.html ) of all the ideas that appeal to you. Then select one idea at a time and focus on taking action. Once you are ready to work on a different area, revisit your Perhaps List and select another idea to focus on. Just think, if you improve one percent a day, you will be 100 percent improved in just 77 days!