45 life lessons

Wellness

I wanted to share the following article written by Regina Brett, (90 years old, of The Plain Dealer, Cleveland, Ohio) and her thoughts and reflection on life.  Every now and again I think we all need to read through this.


“To celebrate growing older, I once wrote the 45 lessons life taught me.  It is the most-requested column I’ve ever written.”

My odometer rolled over to 90 in August, so here is the column once more: 

1.       Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good.

2.       When in doubt, just take the next small step.

3.       Life is too short to waste time hating anyone…

4.       Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick.  Your friends and parents will.   Stay in touch.

5.       Pay off your credit cards every month.

6.       You don’t have to win every argument.   Agree to disagree.

7.       Cry with someone. It’s more healing than crying alone.

9.       Save for retirement starting with your first pay cheque.

10.     When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.

11.     Make peace with your past so it won’t screw up the present.

12.     It’s OK to let your children see you cry.

13.     Don’t compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

14.     If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn’t be in it.

15.     Everything can change in the blink of an eye.

16.     Take a deep breath.  It calms the mind.

17.     Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful or joyful.

18.     Whatever doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger.

19.     It’s never too late to have a happy childhood.  But the second one is up to you and no one else.

20.     When it comes to going after what you love in life, don’t take no for an answer.

21.     Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don’t save it for a special occasion.. Today is special.

22.     Over prepare, then go with the flow.

23.     Be eccentric now.  Don’t wait for old age to wear purple.

24.     The most important sex organ is the brain.

25.     No one is in charge of your happiness but you.

26.     Frame every so-called disaster with these words ‘In five years, will this matter?’

27.     Always choose life.

28.     Forgive everyone everything.

29.     What other people think of you is none of your business.

30.     Time heals almost everything.  Give time..

31.     However good or bad a situation is, it will change.

32.     Don’t take yourself so seriously.  No one else does.

33.     Believe in miracles.

35.     Don’t audit life.  Show up and make the most of it now.

36.     Growing old beats the alternative — dying young.

37.     Your children get only one childhood.

38.     All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.

39.     Get outside every day.  Miracles are waiting everywhere.

40.     If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back.

41.     Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.

42.     The best is yet to come.

43.     No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.

44.     Yield.

45.     Life isn’t tied with a bow, but it’s still a gift.”

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Stop and Smell the Roses

Wellness

As another long weekend winds to a close, I find myself sitting in my cottage staring out at the beautiful lake, watching the waves slowly crash in, feeling the warmth of the sun, listening to the friendly shrills and giggles of the kids, my family sitting all around me, and I feel grateful.

I think it’s so important for all of us now and again to remember to this. To stop. To look around. To smell the roses. I love that I have a great job to go to, one that challenges me, introduces me to new things, and pushes me to go further. During the week and the busy Fall and Winter I am “go go go”. Like all of us now a days, little by little we are working later and longer, sleeping less and exercising less, and we push ourselves until we crash.

Having work and life balance is unique to each of us. For a lot of us it’s not possible to achieve every day. We have demanding careers that would be unsuccessful if we left on time or didn’t spend time after hours doing extra research, (especially if you’re just starting out in your career). Those of you that have kids that need more than a “time-slot” in your day, and lets not forget family and friends, and all the other demands we have pulling us in every direction. So when we talk balance we don’t necessarily mean the scheduled up day of:

6-7am working out (exercise check)
9-5pm work (career check)
5-6pm dinner (family check)
6-7pm pottery class (hobbies check)

Balance means that in your life you are giving yourself the opportunity to experience things, enjoying different aspects in life, and not forgetting what really matters. (see this great article about The Top 5 regrets people reveal on their deathbed). Balance by being able to set goals and have ambition, but to not be consumed by the shiny things of this world.

I think the key is to be 100% into where ever you are. If you’re at work, focus on work. If you’re with the family shut work off and bring your energy to them. If you’re exercising, bring it. Check in with yourself every few months to reflect on how you’ve been spending your time and how you feel about that. We all have chapters in our life where our focus and time may be spent largely in one area, (think: new job or baby), but when looking back at your whole life, it’s fitting everything in that will give you that satisfied smile.

Design the life you want

Career, Inspiring Songs, Wellness

Similar to the themes of finding yourself personally and professionally, choosing a job that’s right for you, and finding your strengths; Sometimes we also need to take a step back and look at the big picture. We get so caught up in the day to day and year to year tasks that we may lose sight of the greater vision of our life. What do we want our whole life to look like? What do we want our careers and family life to look like? What things do we want to achieve and experience? What items are on our bucket list and do we need to make active choices to cross them off? What is your fear holding you back from doing? I recently took part in a twitter chat “#leadfromwithin” with Lolly Daskal @LollyDaskal. The questions brought forward really made you prod your mind and heart to bring to life your true goals, and ultimately think about how to design the life you really want.

Q1 What is the greatest vision you have for your life?

Q2 What are your five top values?

Q3 if you were to write a headline about your life what would it be?

Q4 What would you be doing in your life if you knew you absolutely could not fail?

Q5 what if the most important moment in your life is this one? How will you choose to spend the next one?

Q6 finish this sentence: i feel strong about passing on this lesson____________________

Q7 when was a time when you put your own interest ahead of others? Was it worth it?

Q9 if you had ten times your wealth and ten times your income what would you do?

Q10 what are the most important words you want to communicate.

One answer of mine that I’d like to share is for question six, one lesson to pass on, one that we all know is don’t sweat the small stuff. Things have a way of working themselves out and sleepless nights and frustration solves nothing. To quote a lyric from Bob Marley’s song, Three Little Birdsevery little thing is going to be alright”. I think this is something that I have had difficulty with, especially when balancing so many demanding things. I’m learning to just breath and things really do come together as they should.

What are your thoughts on these questions? Anything you would like to share? I look forward to reading your comments!

Is having the last word affecting our ability to shut off?

Career, Wellness

Yesterday was one of those days where I felt very productive. I was making phone calls, cleaning out my inbox, and making headway on my current projects.   As I inched closer to the end of day I set mini goals for myself so finalize a few things. E-mails were sent, items were checked off, and I thought I was heading home in a reasonable amount of time while still leaving the office in great shape!

Then I got a reply.   It only needed a quick answer and I had already read the e-mail so I figured it was a better use of time to just reply back now. (Notice the beginning of a bad habit creeping up…)  Before I knew it I was two hours past my set leaving time, late for a personal engagement, and technically, no further ahead.

As I was determined to leave with all my e-mails answered and to dos checked off, I was persistently trying to have the last e-mail sent.  This was not my first attempt at this ground-breaking idea…

So what does this mean? It means we’re all working late that’s for sure (as email communications are a two way street). It also means that we all struggling with trying to limit the piling up of emails, missing out on updates (F.O.M.O), or falling behind, that we sacrifice our personal time to stay “real time” with work.

The bigger question is, does this keep us ahead? Of course there are times where it does, but consistently sacrificing our downtime and keeping our stress levels supercharged is not sustainable. It’s a one step forward, two-steps back strategy. Eventually we suffer, the symptoms begin to show (such as we are tired and irritable, unable to shut off and sleep, our eating and exercise habits become affected), and we begin to lose focus on what really matters in life. (Check out this great article, “The Top 5 regrets people reveal on their deathbed”)

The BBC recently posted an article on, “Could work emails be banned after 6pm?” in response to France’s initiative to protect employees from work email disturbing them outside office hours.  The article poses, “Would a law to this effect be feasible elsewhere?”

Another article of consideration to this topic is, “Thursday is the New Friday: Embracing the 4-Day Work Week” by Ilya Pozin. Which suggests changing the work day structure to allow for longer days (which I’m sure we are all, already doing anyways) and a three day weekend.

Both of these articles are great and theory but have their own set of challenges if these practices are not universal.

The last article I’d like to leave you with is by one of my favorites, Gregory McKeown, “There Are Only Two Kinds of Email You Get On The Weekend

We all must be realistic with what we can accomplish within a reasonable amount of time in a day. There are definitely times where we need to put in the extra hours but as far as getting the last word, or in my case, sending out the last e-mail is not possible and therefore a futile plan.

Instead of Asking “What’s the Meaning of Life?” ask, “How Do I Achieve Balance?”

Wellness

Why the focus on “balance” all of a sudden? Hasn’t it always been there? Why now is there a higher degree of attention paid to this term and it’s meaning? Let’s examine.

It has always been important to work hard at your job, which usually entailed staying late, travelling, and mixing business with personal with the occasional dinner or golf tournament.

So what’s changed? Why now is there a challenge of balance?

The term “balance“, or full term, “work-life balance” has been coined in response to the ever increasing demands of jobs and life synchronized with technologies and social media’s hold on us. The inability to “shut off”.  Initially coined “crackberry”, where we are unable to disengage from our cell phones and the distractions and information it holds. This has now become a standard part of everyone’s lives, now coined F.O.M.O., “Fear of missing out”.

We are all so terrified of missing out that it keeps our attention and keeps us constantly checking in.  Be it at work, on e-mail, social media platforms, and through text messaging, being in the loop is a whole new popularity contest. It’s also one that nobody can actually win by the way… It’s impossible to know everything, but the endless search and consumption of information is haunting us. To stay in the know, to be a leader in our fields, and to not miss out on a social engagement.

My Mexican

No longer do we care about just the big paycheck, compensation comes in many additional forms. We also want recognition, vacation time, perks, training funds, health benefits, and more. It’s the new generation of workers and therefore “balance” has become the new focus.

But how do we all obtain this? How do we obtain work-life balance in such demanding distracting environments. I feel this is the great question of our time. Instead of pondering what is the meaning of life, it’s now how to balance such an exciting life with so many options, distractions, and challenges.

There is no one sure answer, no check list, no top ten solutions. It’s a personalized world which constitutes a personalized program to get your work-life balance on track. It’s up to you to decide which bits of advice will work for you to help you obtain your goals.

Check out this article… Finding yourself personally and professionally, to help figure out what you like to do, your values, and what matters most.

Understanding the decision making process to create better follow through

Career, Wellness

We make thousands of decisions every day; most snap decisions of when to look up or what time to leave. But of course some decisions just aren’t that simple.  The “big” decisions of life when we (usually) have to sit down and think about when to make a move. When opportunities present themselves and we have to decide whether or not to take one. Or it may be we recognize a characteristic or situation we would like to change. No matter the dilemma we ultimately reach that fork in the road knowing it’s time to make a decision.

However the interesting thing is, how many times we reach the brink of the decision but then walk away from it afraid to take the first step? A good indicator that we need to change what we are doing is when this keeps happening, when the decision keeps posing itself to us. Unfortunately it usually takes things to get negative before we will voluntarily make a difficult decision, and even once we finally do, over 80%* of us turn back, unable to follow through with our decision. It’s a vicious cycle that doesn’t end, as the change needs to be made, but we keep turning back.

Perhaps if we understand the process of a decision perhaps this can help us to get to the other side.

Kurt Lewin’s Change Model**

lewins-model

This is a very simple diagram of a decision. We have a decision to make but we are frozen in our current state. As we begin to transition through, we begin melting our old behaviors, or “Unfreezing”. This is a challenging step as we begin to move away what we know to be “normal”. All of a sudden fear steps in causing us to doubt why we ever made the decision to “unfreeze” in the first place. Perhaps it was a job we left or a relationship, but all of a sudden that thing that was driving you absolutely crazy doesn’t look so bad from here. But this is just the feeling of stepping outside of our comfort zone.

Traditionally speaking when one participates in this activity, (stepping outside their comfort zone) it becomes a positive or rewarding experience. Yet at this point 80% of us are turning back to something that was making us miserable. So if we can understand that we are simply stepping out of our comfort zone, that we are about to grow, change, experience something different, and in the end we will be grateful that we did it, don’t you think we can just keep putting one foot in front of the other to get to the other side of our decision? Which is of course, our new normal. That’s when you will look back at your old normal and be able to say, “what was I ever thinking?!”, and “I definitely stayed too long”.

It’s a process, but the theory of it helps to put it in perspective when we are going through it.  I hope you found this helpful and hope you can apply this in your life to change something that your gut has been communicating with you to do.

 

*80% of the population, once they have the guts to make change, start walking, hit a wall and then turn back” ~ Just Change It, Peggy Grall.
** The Sage Handbook of Methods in Social Psychology: Lewin’s equation
By Jill Heyer

Use balance to limit the effects of loss

Career, Wellness

I speak a lot about balance in my blog and stress the importance of having it. We all understand the common sense of balance and work-life balance, to make sure we are giving time to everything, giving us a full life, and keeping our stress rates lower. But there’s also another reason for balance. That’s because of loss.

Consider this, if your whole life revolved around work or a man and then suddenly you lost it, it leaves a hole.  Be it fired, dumped, quit, whatever the reason is, you no longer have that in your life and it was all you cared about.

CASE A
WHOLE LIFE WITH JOB

 

Work

 

 

WHOLE LIFE WITHOUT JOB

 

 

 

In Case A, as soon as the job disappears life becomes unbearable. No wonder people have breakdowns and feel empty. No wonder people have the urge to replace that relationship immediately. There’s nothing left. Therefore you begin to rush into bad decisions out of fear. Consider a life of balance.

CASE B
WHOLE LIFE WITH JOB

Contribution Hobby Leisure
Family Alone Time Personal Growth
Work Relationship Friends

WHOLE LIFE WITHOUT JOB

Contribution Hobby Leisure
Family Alone Time Personal Growth
Relationship Friends

All of a sudden things look a lot brighter. We may go through a tough time in one area, or make a decision to impact an area, but as long as we are balanced in having more than one focus in our life, we are still successful and filled.

So what does your life chart look like?

Photo courtesy of 100happydays.com

Cheers to 100 Happy Days

Wellness

I accept this challenge, and challenge my readers to it as well! Who’s with me?

Outside the Box

I would like to think I’m a positive person. I tend to look at situations with an optimistic view. I rather look at the glass as half full than half empty.

But, that’s on most days.

There are those times when something really minor may have gone wrong and the rest of the day just seems to follow in a downward spiral. Those days I wake up on the wrong side of the bed and can’t help but get annoyed by everything and everyone that interacts with me. Now trying to maintain my optimism, it really does bother me that a day which consists of 24 hours can be ruined within minutes. I want to figure out a way to change that. Which is why the #100happydays challenge caught my attention.

#100happydays#100happydays, n.d. photograph, viewed 22 May 2014, <www.100happydays.com>

How does it work?

It’s pretty simple. You submit a…

View original post 269 more words

Photo By Vee-O

The Concept of Slowing Down

Inspiring Songs, Wellness
Beginning the Day in a Frenzy

We all have mornings when we are rushing out the door with our adrenalin already pumping.  Where we scarf down our food or reach for that protein bar as we feel we have no time to eat breakfast.  Frantically we are reviewing our calendar and putting together our items for the day.  We rush out the door and put our 10 different items in the car.  We begin driving through traffic in an absolute panic about the Christmas list of activities and “stressors” that await us in the day a head.

Slow Down

This morning was one of those mornings for me.  I was so mentally busy it wasn’t until the end of my commute that I thought to turn on the radio.  When I flipped it on, (as sort of a last ditch effort to calm myself) I got more than I bargained for.  The song “You’re going to miss this” by Trace Adkins came on.  The words spoke to me as he talked about a young lady rushing through life and always looking to get to the next stage.  She wasn’t stopping to think about and appreciate the current stage she was in.

The Weekly To Do List – just boxes to be ticked?

This hit me instantly as I thought about my week so far, meetings, seminars, courses, family responsibilities, friend commitments, Yoga (which I left halfway through class as I felt I didn’t have time to be there), downtime. The on going to do list.  I had rushed my week as I have done for so many other weeks.  I have been simply racing to check off the “to do” items.  I wasn’t being 100% there during the activities as I was already thinking about the next.

The concept of slowing down.  Embrace the “Stressors”.

You're going to miss this

We all know this philosophy, we’ve heard it before, but for me this morning, it was time to hear it again.  I’m going to miss this.  I’m going to miss right now being so busy and having a full life.  Instead of thinking of my week itinerary as a “checklist” and “stressors”, I need to focus on the positive side and embrace the “stressors” as a part of life.

I have a great job where I’m constantly learning and challenging myself in.  I’ve started healthy activities, Yoga and Pilates, that I’m really enjoying.  I’m attending industry seminars and events where I’m gaining valuable information and connections. These are things to embrace and motivate us.

A Change of Perspective.

Sometimes a change of perspective is what we need to get us to slow down and appreciate how good we have it in the moment.  It’s Thursday today, I have two full days left in the work week.  You bet I’ve changed my perspective and I’m going to make the most of these next two days.  I hope you can to.

 

Relevant Links:
Trace Adkins – “You’re Going to Miss this” Video
Trace Adkins – “You’re Going to Miss this” Lyrics
Photo By Caroline Gutman

The rejuvenation of creativeness

Career, Wellness

There’s something so exciting about the anticipation of going on a trip. The days leading up seem shorter, those you cross paths with seem more cheerful, and your work – so much more enjoyable. A pending vacation can bring out the best in people!

Creative JuiceThere are lots of benefits to be had from taking a vacation. Namely, the rejuvenation of creativeness.

As I make my way to the Buffalo airport, I am excited about the prospect of heading to a new destination. Full of fear of the unknown of course, but full anticipation for my soon to be replenished cup of creative juice.

As an event planner and friend maker by trade, this is one cup {creative juice} that needs constant refilling.

Personally I find the best way to get creatively refreshed is to go somewhere new and be exposed to something out of my normal. Be it, a far away destination or a local one, a new culture or a new scene. Sometimes all I need is to walk a different direction to be inspired.  Recently I attended a seminar from the DeGroote Executive Education women’s breakfast seminar series where the keynote speaker, Carey-Ann Oestricher suggested to spice up the creativity in your team meetings at work by trying walking meetings!  A great tip to be sure, and one I hope to try soon!

What do you do to be inspired? What can you commit to doing differently today to stimulate your own creativity?

 

// While I have promoted the DeGroote Executive Education women’s breakfast seminar series event from the perspective of a participant, I’d like to disclose that I do work for the DeGroote School of Business.  This post and blog is written from a personal point of view and all opinions are my own.  It bears no connection with the DeGroote School of Businesses or McMaster University.