Patti DeNucci is a regular contributor to intrepidNOW, writing about people who want to live, work, and connect at a higher level.
It’s so easy to be distracted; to be pulled off task and off track. Our smart phones are going off, are in-boxes are filling faster than we can empty them, and our To Do Lists are getting longer and longer. What’s more, time seems to be getting shorter and shorter. We feel unfocused, unbalanced, and maybe even a little unglued.
Ever experience this? Thought so.
To offer a little relief, allow me to share a few tips that might help you regroup and regain your clarity, balance, peace of mind, and (dare I say it?) refresh your zest for life. These are adapted from a presentation I delivered a few years ago to a group of community foundation leaders. They found these tips so helpful, one attendee said they were topics of discussion as she and her colleagues rode to the airport and as they awaited their respective flights home. See if you find them helpful and worthy of discussion, too.
1. Know thyself. This is powerful wisdom that goes back to the time of Socrates. Self-knowledge has been ranked as one of the most important and prevalent traits in highly successful leaders. Therefore, seek opportunities to get to know you better via journaling, quiet reflection time, retreats, personality assessments, self-discovery exercises, articles, and books. What are your gifts? Passions? Preferences? Beliefs? Tendencies? Strengths? Weak spots? Communications patterns? What drives you? What drives you nuts?
2. Know and document what you believe in. Start by creating a personal journal, collage, or bulletin board filled with favorite quotes, words, phrases, ideas, beliefs, passages from books, lyrics from favorite songs and poems. These are mini-manifestos that speak to you and reflect who you are, what resonates with you, and what you believe in. Update and edit as needed.
3. Identify heroes, heroines, guides, and mentors. Make a list of people you admire: friends, relatives and colleagues, celebrities, public or historic figures, or even characters from fiction. They can be people you know (or not). Living or deceases. Learn from them, let them inspire you — and understand that they are a reflection of your best self! (Another fun spin on this: Create your Fantasy Lunch Partner List: People, living or dead, with whom you would love to have tea, a beer or lunch. It’s just fun.)
4. Know your top three priorities. Think you can have it all? Well, maybe you can. But likely not all at once. A wise friend once told me it helps to clarify which three areas of your life (or what three things) are most important to you right now. Your three will vary depending on where you are in your life and career. Focus primarily on your Top Three and let the other areas slide a bit.
5. Envision what you want out of life. Imagine looking back on your life. What did you do, enjoy, and experience? Who did you spend time with? How did you feel? What kind of impact did you make? What’s contained in the dash between the day you were born and the day you left this planet?
6. Set 100 goals. Create a list of 100 goals. These are 100 things you want to do, see, or accomplish in your life. Some people call this a Bucket List. You might call it a Wish List. Let this list grow and evolve over time. I review my list from time to time and am pleasantly surprised when I can check off items.
7. Set, hold, and protect your boundaries. This can be difficult at first, but saying a firm but polite “no thank you” now and then can pay dividends in that it allows you to say “yes” to things that matter most to you. Know what to avoid and when to disengage or “energetically back away” from a situation, activity, or relationship that’s not working for you. (Be prepared: the people in your life who are chronic takers, control freaks, brain pickers, bullies, and drama lovers will not like this!)
8. Consider the importance of energy management. You can have all the time in the world, but if you have no energy what difference will it make? Create a list of what energizes you or makes you happy – the big things as well as the little things. Then create a list of what drains your energy and leaves you exhausted or unhappy. Pay attention to what’s on these lists and find ways to do more that keeps your energy and mood levels up.
9. Take care of yourself. And while I’m on the topic of energy, remember you won’t have much to offer others if you are chronically depleted. Your physical, emotional, and spiritual health form the foundation for everything else in your life. Make the time for exercise. Eat wisely and well. Get enough sleep. Figure out what habits and lifestyle choices contribute to you being at your best. Then actually practice these things.
10. Edit your stuff and environment. Most of us have too much stuff. We buy and hang on to items we don’t really love or need. And what about the things we have that don’t even work properly? (Pens that don’t feel good in my hand or don’t write smoothly are among my pet peeves!) Practice letting go of these things. It’s actually very energizing and empowering.
11. Avoid the dis-ease of negativity. We are our thoughts, and negativity harms us physically and emotionally. Avoid negative people. Avoid gossip and gossipy people. Practice forgiveness. Let go of what’s not working. Seek and connect with what does.
Want more great ideas and tips? Get a copy of my award-winning book The Intentional Networker (which some of my clients say could alternatively be called The Intentional Person). It’s available from all major online book retailers.
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