Every day is unpredictable. No one could deny that. Does knowing it give you license to refrain frommaking plans to get up in the morning, pull back the sheets and prepare for work? Does the knowledgeof the lack of certainty in waking up in the morningshine asan exit sign on your responsibilities as aparent, lover, spouse, caretaker or the like? Then why do we often whisper sweet impossibilities into ourlives when it’stime to plan time for ourselves? These are not questions to make you think hard orbangyour head in shame against a wall. More so, they are simply thoughts that tickle my frontal lobewhenever I have a client murmur that he or she can’t take time out for themselves because of themillion and one things that occurred in their day or thatmight come up because of the nature of theirprofession and current duties to humanity. Although my coaching style is no less than direct and framedwith the best intentions to deliver the message withgentle honesty, it often rolls off my tongue in amannerlikethis:
1.The time you just took to complain about your lack was time you could have used to add to yoursupply.If you can make time to tell me you don’t have time then you in fact have time. Often people willperseverate on what they don’t have,how life is unfair and how no one understands. What they don’trealize is that they just flooded precious moments with enough negative force to level a building whenthey could have literally paused for those 3 minutes or so and used them to meditate and re-center.2.What’s really important to you?I askeachone of my clients to define the difference between what’simportant verses what they feel is urgent.Often,they will list family, a spiritual center and health at thetop of their important list andevery single task they have to do falls under the urgent side of the tasksheet. If that’s the case, why do the urgent task get crossed off weeks or often months before you tendto the important side of your life…?Perhaps you have your priorities mixed up!
3.Stop justifying your excuses. Really, this is one of the most pronounced statements Imustmake withclients who areyoung and wise (I don’t call anyone old). As humans, we are just full of them! Excuses,excuses,and more excuses. We will find a back door out of the back yard if you allow us to. Of courseyou have a pile of work to do, babies to feed, pets to care for, parents toaidand committees to run. Whodoesn’t it? You have the same 168 hours per week that I have so what makes you so special that youcan’t take 90 minutes or so once/week for yourself?4.You’re being selfish(the old definition)!While you justify your lack of attention to the one person youactually have control over, your body, spirit and mind is being consistently depleted.Once you run out ofgas-then what? Now you succumb to the old patriarchal definition ofselfishnessby wanting your familyto pause their life to take care of your ailing, failing, uncomfortablebody,right? Oh no, you wouldn’t dothat to them becauseyou’retoo good of a person. Instead, you will work yourself into an early grave andfeel-goodknowing that you left them with a ton of bills, disorganized files you never had a chance tomanage and an unusually long list of questions and lessons they were never able to ask you. SPOILERALERT, the goal here is to actually be intentionally selfish-the new reclaimed and empowered definition,by taking time for yourself to refuel, creating time blocks to better manage your time, getting external
expertise (yesyou are brilliant (and) you should have a team of other brilliant people to support you),and making more space for intimacy with yourself and those that matter not just those that are theloudest via their proximity to you!5.What nonsense do you speak?Noticethat when you run off a list of cant’s, not’s or don’t haves thatthere is a familiar pattern for the listener to stare at you with an unknowing glare and occasionally sucktheir teeth indisgust.Oh no, maybe that’s just what I do. Listen, life isshort,and the day gets shorterwith each passing minute. Consider that you will need to carve out time–whatever time frame worksfor your life and your balance-so that you can refuel and re-center. It’san importantand honestly aninevitable part ofyour evolution if you plan to stick around long enough for life to show you what’simportant.If you’re tired of making excuses and justifying your cants, then I have a few suggestions:1.Meditatefor 3-5 minutes before you eat your lunch. By taking a moment to calm your mind and slowdown your body energy from the high pace you just ranthroughthe morning of marathon meetings, youwillopenthe flow of energythroughyour body and be able to enjoy and digest your whole15-minutelunch easier
2.Participatein a networking or social event once per month that is strictly for personal development.Let the professional cards, calls and connections fall where they may. Your focus should be solely toenjoy a new environment with people that share yourflare for wine, music, tennis, oldmovies,orcomedy. Whatever flightsyoufancy-enjoy!3.Park the carand take a stroll. There will always be those days, the ones you wish you could do over.Your boss was unreasonable, your peers didn’tunderstand,oryour employees lookedthroughyou as ifyou had 10 heads. It’s inevitable! Concentrate on what you do have control over. In the moment, you cantake a walk. Whether it’s around the block,throughthe parkwayoraround your local drive-just go (15minuteswill do it). No heavy laptop bags or briefcases allowed!4.Pull backfrom your normal regimen. Perhaps you are stuck in arut,and you can’t get out. You mayneed to flip things on their head for a moment and purposely alter your schedule for one or twodays toshake things up. Try doing simple things like eatingbreakfastdinner, taking a 15-minute nap at lunchtime (right after you eat your half sandwich and medium size apple).5.Stay hydrated. This sounds like common sense but it’s often an elementthat is often ignored. Whenyou are dehydrated (as many of us are) your body is fatigued, the mind getscloudy,and your reflexes arenot nearly as sharp as they should be. If you do nothing else, pause at least 8-10 times per day for 2minutes andtake in6-8 ounces of water, tea or other clear non-sugar (nor sugar substitute) laden drink.Your organs will thank me!