Archive for balance

I Want Desert First!

Over the weekend, my grandson reminded me of how we can sometimes get our lives so out of kilter until we just seem overwhelmed by it all. He’s a great kid. I love him to death. Sometimes he just doesn’t want to eat his dinner, though. What do we do? Like good baby-sitting grandparents, we bribed him with an ice cream sandwich if he would eat all his dinner! Bad thing to do. Now the three year-old wants desert first! 800px-IceCreamSandwich

It’s great being a grandparent. Now I can give sugary stuff to my grand kids and be the hero, give them back to their mom and dad when they’re all wired up, and go home laughing at what I know they will face. Fun stuff! As a side note, he did eat his dinner. But he also ate his ice cream sandwich.

So the point of the story – too many of us “grown ups” scream and throw tantrums (maybe not out loud, but at least internally) to get ice cream first. We satisfy the little kid inside us instead of doing the adult, mature thing with just a little self-discipline and put of the desert until we’ve finished the healthy stuff. We let our lives get out of balance instead of focusing appropriately on nurturing the four dimensions of life allow us to balance life and bring us ultimate fulfillment and joy – physical, family, spiritual, emotional, and social dimensions.

Often our problem lies not just in lacking the self-discipline, but in setting goals for ourselves and understanding the dimensions operate to help us meet them in the first place. When we know the goals we desire, we can set a plan in place to reach those goals. We can use the dimensions of life to map out the plan so as to balance our life in a way that brings fulfillment and joy. We can see how all of the parts fit together as a whole to make us who we were created to be.

If you want to learn more about the dimensions of life and how they can make a difference in helping you meet your life goals, contact me.

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Set Priorities with the 95% Rule

Reading one of Talane Miedaner’s Life Coach blogs reminded me of a rule I’ve tried to use for several years to set priorities. It goes something like this: “95% of everything you do today doesn’t matter, so find the 5% and do it well.” When I started using that rule a hundred years ago, it was an 80% rule, but as I’ve matured the number gradually grows. I expect in another few years it will change to the 99% rule.

Some of you are skeptical and don’t quite get it yet, so let me explain the concept in a little more detail. You see, we get overwhelmed with life too often. We allow ourselves to worry about things that no one really cares about in the long run. We lose out on the important because of the urgent when the urgent will disappear without a thought and no one will remember it tomorrow. If you think about it, most of the things you do and most of the things that happen to you today, you won’t remember next week or even this time tomorrow. And no one around you cares about it either.How-to-Set-Priorities

I find it really interesting with what we do for work at the expense of family. I’ll have to admit I’ve been guilty in the past. I had to get that report done. I needed to make one more call. I had to meet one more client. Hogwash! When I left the assignment or the company or the job, my position was filled in no time and no one cared whether I was there or not. Life goes on for the company. But I can never get back the ball games missed, the recitals unheard, the birthday parties where I showed up late, or the anniversaries when I was out of town. Those are gone forever.

How about that report that must be done by close of business? Who’s going to read it at close of business? Will it lay in the inbox until morning anyway? Why miss that important event? Make a deal with the task master and come in early to deliver it so you don’t miss that once in a lifetime special event. If your boss makes you miss the event, you’re probably working for the wrong boss. Start looking for different work! That said, there are certainly times when work needs to come first, but not often. There are times when you need to come first. There are times when family comes first.

Priorities are fluid

Priorities are fluid things based on a lot of factors. I’m not a big fan of a making a hard and fast inflexible priority list except that God is at the top…period. Apart from that, when I was writing the medical support plan to make sure 135,000 soldiers had the right medical care in Desert Storm, that task took priority over my family for the moment because of the gravity of that task. It didn’t mean I didn’t love them or care for them, but the situation dictated they took a back seat for a period of time until that task was done.

Sometimes, I’ll recognize from the tone of text or phone call from a family member that a crisis is unfolding and walk out of a meeting because family is more important than whatever meeting I’m in. If I lose a sale because of it, so what. Family is more important than any amount of money that meeting might have brought to me. One word of caution about living with flexible priorities. You need a strong compass and those close to you must understand how you operate. Communication is key.

So what’s the real secret to discovering the 5%? Usually, normally, most of the time the 5% will deal with eternal things and relationships. That’s it. That’s the magic formula. Nothing else matters much. Material things disappear and just aren’t that important. If you don’t believe that, ask hurricane victims or flood victims. Stuff can be replaced, people can’t. Take care of relationships and the rest will fall into place.

What do you think about the 95% rule?

Do you have a comparable philosophy?

How do you set priorities in your life to keep well-balanced?


A Life Coach Can Help Bring Joy Back to You

child playingI visited a church other than my own the other day for a special celebration. We celebrated the life of a young lady who fell victim to leukemia far too soon. She lived more in nine years and touched more people with her enthusiasm and passion than most do in a lifetime. Perhaps I’ll write more about her in another post. But today I want to talk about a particular impact the service made on me by watching one individual. This wasn’t behavior taught by a life coach, but inherent joy demonstrated by one person!

One young man in particular in the worship service caught my eye. He had some developmental problems, but I couldn’t help but see the pure joy with which he lived life. The music lifted him in a way I can hardly describe. You could see the young man’s family and friends loved him and accepted his handicap, but as we sang, pure joy just exploded across his face and through his whole frame. What a way to live. Look around and you’ll see it in children. As they play, children express unbridled joy. They laugh, they sing, they dance, they just enjoy life.

Have you lost that joy? Have you become so encumbered with the stresses of life that you’ve forgotten how to laugh? Have you let the unimportant or the urgent get in the way of real life and lost the purpose of being? A life coach can help you find it again. That’s what they are all about. Helping you find purpose, balance, tools and techniques to cope with the stresses that rob you of the joy of living.

I’ll admit, even as a life coach, I sometimes get caught up in the crush of life, but I’ve learned through the years most of the things we seems to worry and stress over aren’t worth it. I’ll share my 95% rule with you. “95% of everything that happens to you today or that you do today doesn’t matter. No one cares about it or will remember it tomorrow. So why stress over it. So figure out the important 5% and do it well.”

So what’s the 5%? I’ve found it usually, normally, most of the time has to do with relationships between you and God or you and someone else. Nothing else really matters. I’ll be honest with you that 30 years ago, this was an 80% rule. As I’ve matured, it has become a 95% rule. I expect in another 10 years it might progress to a 99% rule.

Relationships seem incredibly important! Take care of them. That doesn’t mean always compromise or coddle. It means take care of them. Relationships are where you’ll find real joy. You’ll also find real sorrow and real stress there. You’ll find yourself vulnerable in relationships. But without relationships, you’ll have a hard time finding the unbridled joy you find in children.

Take a look at the five dimensions of a balanced life depicted on the “Life Balance” page of my website and you’ll understand how relationships are such a vital part of life. They weave in and out of every dimension because we are social creatures. As much as some people would like to think they could live forever in a cave by themselves, hermits just can’t survive long. We need each other. We need relationships and healthy social interaction for a joy-filled life. A life coach understands those relationship needs and can help you navigate them.

What’s your opinion?

How do you bring joy back to into your life?

What do you do to make sure you laugh every day?

Richard


Life in the fast lane

The older I get the faster time seems to move. I used to have a theory about it that time was just a perception based on your age. A year to a two-year old is a long time, 50% of their life. Now, pushing the big six-oh, a year is less than 2% of the span that I can draw from in my memories. Of course, that assumes I can remember anything longer than what I ate for breakfast. Now I’m not so sure about my theory anymore. I’m beginning to think time does slip away faster than it did ten years ago. So what does this have to do with a life coach?

I think time moves fast because we have things so turned around. We somehow got the impression that a productive calendar means no white space left on them. I fell into the trap. It took my wife and kids continually reminding me, disease processes, and hitting the magic 30 years in the Army to finally figure out I was way out of balance. I’m hoping I can share through this blog and a new career path a better way of living for some who head down that same dead-end before it is too late.

So what does a life coach do and what do I mean by balance in your life? In other parts of this website you can explore some of the aspects of balance. You can see my credentials in the About Me page, but the model the Army uses with its five dimensions of physical, family, spiritual, emotional, and social wellness are pretty good starting places. If you’re not looking out for yourself in all of them, you’re out of balance. A life coach will help you assess yourself in each of these areas and see how you’re faring. They will help you set goals to balance those areas and action plans to achieve those goals.

Remember, though, life coaches are not magicians. Like an athletic coach, they will point you in the right direction, but you must expect to do the work. Kobe Bryant has a shooting coach. His shooting coach seldom breaks a sweat, but has propelled Kobe as one of the best scorers in the NBA. Likewise, Mickey Mantle had a batting coach. Unfortunately, what he didn’t have, was a life coach he would listen to.

So how do you manage to balance your life? What are your secrets to getting everything done in a world that pushes for every minute filled with activity? What are your goals in each of the five dimensions – physical, family, spiritual, emotional, social?