Monthly Archives: October 2015

Where does the time go?

It’s a question we hear often, isn’t it?  Whether it’s reconnecting with a friend after a long time, or seeing how quickly a niece or nephew is growing up, we are frequently reminded that time is passing by, regardless of what we’re doing with it!  Where does the time really go anyway?

There are days when you can’t believe how much you got done.  It’s almost as if you were able to slow down the speed of time in order to get the most out of it.  However, there are other days, when time seems to be on fast-forward, and you feel like you were just getting started and the day is already over.

Of course we all prefer those days when time appears to slow down and we’re able to cross a lot of things off the to-do list and tasks that once seemed impossible are completed with ease.  What makes those days different from the days where it seems like nothing gets done?  For most of us, it’s about clarity on our priorities for the day and an action plan to get things done.

When we are able to block out distractions and focus on what needs to get done, it’s amazing how much can actually be accomplished.  Setting priorities helps us to manage our time more effectively.  When we know what’s important, it’s easier to say no to the things that pop up and try to make demands of our time.  It also helps us to move on when we’re stuck on something, because we know that there are other things that we can direct our energy towards (which often helps in the solution seeking process).

We’re often left feeling like we don’t have any control over time, and that it in fact controls us.  Even then we can be guilty of taking it for granted, acting as if we have all the time in the world to do the things that matter to us.  This doesn’t have to be the case.   The key is to find a way to master our use of time.  We need to be honest about what we’re really doing with our time and if we’re using it to the best of our abilities.

The reality is that we will always make time for the things that are important to us.  If you feel like you don’t have enough time to take care of the things that are most meaningful to you, it may be time to check your priorities.  Those things that are most important to you should get some of your time each day.  The things that are less of a priority can get your time a few times a week or for the month.

Clarity on what’s important to you is the first step to making sure your time is spent in the way you want it to be.  Isn’t that better than constantly wondering where the time went and feeling like you haven’t accomplished anything? Once you’re able to master your use of time, you’ll be amazed at what you can achieve!

Living with Integrity

Authenticity and integrity seem to be buzz words these days, but what does it really mean to have integrity?  No one’s perfect, right?  Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines integrity as:

  • firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic
  • an unimpaired condition
  • the quality or state of being complete or undivided

For the sake of this post, let’s use all three definitions interchangeably as they relate to our actions and our words. We’ve all had our moments of weakness where we give ourselves permission to do things that we know don’t adhere to our moral code.  Often it’s due to an impaired condition that clouds our judgement. Think about a time when your feelings of frustration or overwhelm made you react or say something that you normally wouldn’t if you were feeling your best. We all wish we could take back those things, but unfortunately we can’t.

So how do we maintain our integrity during difficult or challenging times?  Let’s be honest, it can be tempting to look for the easy way out when we’re feeling stressed. Often the easy way out is to blame others for our problems.  Whether it’s someone close to us, or world leaders, it can make us feel a lot better to distance ourselves from the problems we are encountering.  Besides, why would we ever put ourselves through that kind of distress on our own?

Self-awareness plays a big role here.  If we can’t be honest with ourselves, who can we be honest with?  We know when something doesn’t feel right.  The guilt or embarrassment we often feel after doing or saying something is an indication that we didn’t act with integrity.  The need to justify those words or deeds is also another indication that we don’t feel that we’ve acted in a manner that is true to who we really are at our core.

When we act with integrity, we don’t have to explain our actions or words to anyone.  People don’t have to like what we say or do, and we ought not to take it personally when they don’t.  As long as you are at peace with what you have said or done, the opinion of anyone else really is none of your business (and out of your control)!

The person who I personally know, who has the most integrity I have ever met is a dear friend in California, just outside Santa Barbara. She is amazing and I communicate with her a lot, she is very helpful and has time for people and I try and have time for her. Although she is very busy at work, she still has time for people. Lovely lady and as I mentioned my other friends business, I feel obliged to mention hers as well. She runs a pest control business and it sounds a bit nasty to me, but she doesn’t do the pest work, she just runs it 🙂

We’ve all had moments when we haven’t acted with integrity.  We’ve said and done things because it’s what others wanted us to.  Too much of that can make us passive aggressive, but when we know better we do better. This doesn’t mean that we won’t catch myself ourselves taking out our frustrations and moments of overwhelm on others at times.  What it does mean is that we are aware of why we’re lashing out. With that awareness, we are now willing and able to admit when we’re acting out and apologize for it.

Living with integrity demands that we be mindful in all that we do.  It asks us to take responsibility for where we are in our lives, and be aware of what’s driving the things we do and say.  No one’s saying that it will be a smooth ride; however the benefits will have a long standing impact on all areas of our lives!

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3 ways to avoid the drama and stay focused on your goals

You’ve got a deadline and there’s a lot to do to make sure you meet it.  It’s just as you near the finish line that the proverbial stuff hits the fan and you’re wondering how you’ve ended up in the middle of what feels like the perfect storm!  While it can be easy to get sidetracked by the craziness of life let’s look at some ways to avoid (or limit) the drama, so that you can refocus on the goals you’ve set out to achieve.  By no means is this an extensive list!

  1. Stop taking things personally

We’ve all got personal issues that we’re dealing with.  As much as we often forget it, the world does not revolve around us.  People actions and words are not determined by how you will react to them.  Once you understand this, you don’t get offended as often and no longer assume that people are doing things or acting a certain way just to get a rise out of you.

  1. Separate the people from the problem (or solution)

This one comes from the book by Roger Fisher and William L. Ury titled Getting to Yes!  It’s harder to find a resolution to the problem when you have issues with the people involved.  We’ve all had to work with personalities that were challenging for us.  If we don’t find a way to move beyond perceived character flaws and focus on resolving the issue, we aren’t going to get very far.  We’re not going to love everyone that we have to deal with personally or professionally, but we ought to find a way to come from a place of respect no matter what!

  1. Take responsibility

This is another big one.  It can be easy to put the blame on others for things that don’t work out the way that we want them to.  If we want to move forward and achieve personal growth and awareness, we have to take responsibility to for our part in our present circumstances.  Everything is about choice.  Even when you feel that you don’t have a choice, you’re the one that choosing to limit your perspective.  When you take responsibility for the state of your life, you can do something about the areas of your life that aren’t working for you.

The challenges and obstacles that arise when you’re pursuing your goals are inevitable.  Whether or not it affects the level of success you’re going to achieve, is completely up to you!  Of course, when you want something bad enough and you’re putting your blood, sweat and tears into it, the smallest things can appear as giant mountains in the path to the achievement of your goals.  Stay focused, breathe, and remind yourself of why your goal is so important to you.  Stay committed no matter what.  If there’s one thing that I’ve learned, it’s that persistence pays off and when you look back in 5 years, these bumps in the road will be nothing but a distant memory.

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Neutralizing Your Triggers

Have you ever found yourself in a situation or conversation, which at the surface seems pretty ordinary, yet find yourself reacting in a strongly emotional in some way?  It may not be something that happens very often, but when it does, it can be amazing how something so “simple” can have such a powerful impact. If we dig deep, we usually find that these situations are tied to unresolved issues of the past.

It’s amazing how situations from as far back as childhood, can have an effect the relationships we have as adults.  Until those concerns are resolved, they will continue to appear in our lives, no matter how hard we try to ignore them.  So what do we do?  Clearly avoidance isn’t working, and half the time we don’t see it coming, until it’s too late anyway.

In order to reduce the power of these triggers, we have to find a productive, positive way to deal with these outstanding issues.  Usually forgiveness is at the root of the resolution.  The cause of these triggers is things that happened in the past.   Why are we giving them so much power in our present and future?  While the incident had a definite impact on us at the time, we need to find a way to acknowledge what happened and move on.

Moving on, of course, is the challenge for many of us.  How do we release the pain of what was said and done?  Some issues, such as child abuse, sexual or otherwise may need the help of a trained therapist, others, we can handle by doing the work on our own.  We need to stop believing the negative messages that we have carried with us from those past experiences.  Whether it is the negative voice telling you that you aren’t good enough, smart enough or worthy enough, you have to shut those voices out.  Replace them with positive affirmations that remind you that you are worthy, smart and good enough to have anything you desire.  We have to find a way to leave the negativity that recalling the experience brings and take away its power from affecting us in the present.

A good way of moving on is to actually physically move or go away for a period, maybe a vacation or visit a friend or both is ideal. In my personal experience I did this and went to Hawaii, Honolulu to be precise and stayed with a great friend and confidante. And I wholeheartedly endorse having fun as well, which takes your mind to a happy place. My friend is great and when he had time away from his demanding job in the carpet cleaning business, we had fun together. (just left a link to his business, hope it helps?)

Once we become aware of our triggers, we can have a discussion with those around us so they understand where our reaction(s) are coming from.  If they honour our feelings, they will do their best not to push those buttons.  There may be times that they forget or unconsciously set off those emotional landmines, but because of your increasing awareness and self-empowerment you will be in a better position to deactivate the bomb before it goes off!

Don’t beat yourself up for allowing your triggers to go off.  Remember that it’s a constant work in progress.  As Louise Hay says, “we do better when we know better.”  Recognizing our triggers and how they were created are the first steps.  Neutralizing those sensitive issues and learning how to live in the present are the crucial steps in moving forward in a positive way.

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Making time for yourself

We hear so much about the importance of self-care these days. We have to take care of ourselves. Minimize our stress, eat healthier, exercise and practice mindfulness. We all know what we should be doing, but how many of us are actually doing it?

Yes, we know that it’s important to take care of ourselves. The problem for many of us is finding the time to do it! Whether we are entrepreneurs, managers, employees, spouses or parents; there are always demands of our time. We can feel pulled in so many directions by the obligations we have to others that finding time for ourselves seems virtually impossible!

What we’ll learn if we’re not careful is that we cannot afford not to take care of ourselves. We risk burnout, illness or simple overwhelm and frustration if we don’t make time for rest and relaxation. Isn’t it better to take a day a week for yourself instead of being forced to stay in bed for a week or more because you didn’t listen to your body?

Have you ever been running yourself ragged and then get hit with the flu? That’s the body’s way of forcing you to take a well needed rest. I’m sure we all know people who will try to work through the sickness, refusing to take a break. If we know people like this, or maybe you’re one of those workaholics, then you know that if you don’t listen to your body, things can and often will get worse.

Often it’s the very things that we think we don’t have time for that we need the most. If we don’t take the time to rest our brains and our bodies, how can we expect to function at our optimal level for maximum performance? Our cars don’t run well on an empty tank or if we neglect to give it the proper maintenance, why do we think we can?

There’s nothing wrong with being passionate about a goal. It’s okay to get lost in a project. We can’t always plan for when the inspiration to hit or when the perfect opportunity will present itself for you to get closer to achieving your goals. We need to ensure that we nourish our mind, bodies and souls so that we are ready for whatever we encounter.

Self-care may seem like an indulgence for those with an abundance of time and money, but that isn’t really the case. While a day at the spa or a week retreat would be great, we can find things to do at home that can give us the down time we need. Whether it’s soaking in a bubble bath or taking an art class, find something that will take your mind off the routine day-to-day and provide you with the opportunity to recharge your batteries.

Making time for rest and relaxation is important to our success, no matter what it is we’re working towards. Don’t allow feelings of guilt to prevent you from taking time for yourself. If you want to be at 100% to achieve whatever it is you’re working towards, then you have to be willing to commit to giving yourself the time you need when you feel like your fuel is running low. You’ll be glad you did!

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