Life can be pretty complex sometimes. What I bring to you via my Wednesdays With Wayne often reflects the themes that are coming up for my clients pretty regularly. Sometimes, what I write about is parallel to what’s going on in my own life. So by joining me here, we’re working through some things together. Thanks for that. It’s a pretty amazing journey and it’s good to have you along!
As we enter the third month of this year, it’s not a bad time to give some thought to what you intended as you stepped into 2017. I taught my kids to ask themselves this question: Is what I’m doing right now getting me closer to or further from my goal? That’s an important question because it presupposes that you actually set goals (vs. wishes) and that you are taking action to move towards them.
It’s the beginning of a new month and we're still in the first quarter of the year, so it’s a GREAT time to be thinking about what you are creating for yourself. What do you really want this month to hold? Answer that, then look at your calendar.
Here’s a quick exercise for you. I do this with my high level mastermind groups and it yields a great discussion and bonding for participants. It’s pretty quick and just requires a scratch paper and a pen. Draw a line down the center of your page.
Do that, really, you’ll appreciate it. If you can’t find a way to get paper right now, you might consider doing this on whatever device you’re reading this. You can go top/bottom or right/left of the page.
On the first section, list the things you spend most of your time doing during the day. That could be commuting, being in meetings, handling phone calls, reading, watching TV, eating, etc. In what activities do you spend most of your time during the day?
Do that…. Make that list, then come right back here. It’ll be worth it!
Okay… now on the second half of your page, list the things you really value. What do you love and, as I ask my students and clients, what would you treasure? It could be working with groups, being with a partner or kids, worshipping, serving the community in some way, or something as simple as reading, gardening, or preparing a decent meal.
I’m “lucky” in that the things I spend most of my time doing ARE the things I treasure. Pumping out a blog every week actually takes time and effort. And it’s just one of the things for me that allows me to serve more greatly. In fact, I invite you to return to some of the previous Wednesdays With Wayne posts to see what you’ve missed. My point here is this – I value my family and I value helping others to reach their highest levels of potential. Those are the basic elements of what I treasure. I spend most of my days doing things in both arenas. And, the thing is, sometimes I get out of balance with it. And I know you do too.
And that’s the point. The title of this post is In or Out? and what that asks is for you to contemplate what you’re spending your time doing vs. what you told yourself you want to be doing… that you would actually treasure doing.
Stress shows up when we live under the thumb of “should.” If you live your life in a “have to” state of mind, you are condemned to some form of somatic expression of that. That is, those that live in a state of distress are more susceptible to illness. If you live your life from a place of “get to,” you actually enjoy a feeling of what has been called “eustress.” That’s a term that comes from the early 70s by an endocrinologist named Hans Selye who suggested the Greek prefix of “eu” meaning good be used to define the times that we’re chugging along but loving it.
Stress-free is a myth.
Living with good stress, the things that propel us forward, comes from the choices we have. Yes, we all have responsibilities. Yes, there are things that need to get done. And, as a mindset, how much of what needs to get done can be from a place of “I get to do this.”
So what's IN and what’s OUT?
Sometimes we take on too much because we love what we do. Sometimes we take on too much because we feel like we “should.” And sometimes… we learn to say no to opportunities that look great and just don’t serve us right now.
That’s going to be your greatest trick to learn for yourself.
Salespeople learn that a “no” is better than a “maybe.” A “no” can be turned into a “no for now.” And that’s not the same as a no, never ever. A maybe keeps you in limbo. A yes means a commitment.
So, the “in or out” question is about what are you choosing to take on right now.
Are you doing the things that contribute to what you would treasure (really, truly treasure) in your life? Are the things you’re saying yes to things that are moving you closer to (or further from) your goals?
One way to reset your thinking is to use this In/Out filter:
If it’s not a “Heck, Yeah!,” then it’s a “no.”
I use this when I’m feeling overwhelmed. There are a lot of details when you take on new projects. Sometimes you need to look at how to make them fun, what the greater good is so that the tedium turns back into the “heck, yeah” state. Sometimes you need to look at saying no more often.
If you’re feeling like your life is tilting just a bit more toward distress than eustress, it’s time to look at what’s IN and what’s OUT. You have more control over this than you’ve been using. And when you say “no for now” to the opportunities as they come up, you are able to stay more focused on the things you really treasure. (For me, there have been a couple of “heck yeah” opportunities to join leadership summits while I’m preparing for a launch of an online course for you as well as serving my collection of clients. I had to ask: in or out? Yes or no for now?)
If you’re finding this shift from eustress to distress by taking on too much of the wrong thing happening personally, it’s a big deal.
When it happens organizationally, it’s an even bigger deal. So take a look at what you’re allowing into your organization and come back to your vision and your values. It’s time to sort through what really matters and determine What’s In and What’s Out!
Now, go rock your month and keep making it magical!
~ Dr Wayne Pernell ~
Remember, I can help you (and your organization) to get focused, gain more clarity, and feel really energized about your future! Simply click the link to explore some of the DynamicLeader® options that are available for you!