Archive for the ‘Life Balance’ Category

TMI – Too Much Information!

Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

In a recent event where I talked about “De-cluttering Our Lives”, I noticed that one point hit home for the audience:  Information clutter. I presented ‘Information’ as one of the places in our lives where we don’t think we have clutter – but we do.  Information can come in the traditional shape of magazines, newspapers and junk mail that we can see piling up in our living room.  It can also come in the form of TV, movies and e-mails that makes us waste time and energy just by looking at them.

We rely on information so much that we are afraid of throwing away magazines, newspapers and outdated books simply because we think we might need them someday.  Notice the word ‘afraid’ here!  Whenever you see this word showing up, you know that your action is fear based.  Being afraid of letting go of something is totally related to the concept of scarcity, of not having enough.  And why are we afraid of not having enough information about a subject?  In this day and age of ‘google’ we can find information about anything and everything on the web!  Just type any word and see what comes up.  I found about 112,000,000 results for the word “smile”!

It’s not that information is bad but when we rely too much on external sources to make our decisions, we develop the habit of looking outside of ourselves for answers.  We look at others for answers instead of using our main resource:  Our gut feeling, our intuition – the place where our wisdom is!

Take a leap of faith this coming week.  Make one decision without looking at any piece of information or consulting anyone. Look inside for the answer instead.  Start small and begin develop this ‘muscle’ we all have.  Intuition is there for us to access; we all have it.  All we need to do is develop the habit of looking inside instead of outside.  Give your gut feeling a chance! 🙂

With energy,

Ana

Under-Promise and Over-Deliver

Monday, November 29th, 2010

Want a quick way to build a reserve of time?  Under-promise and over-deliver!  To under-promise is to give yourself twice the amount of time you think you will need to get something done.  To over-deliver means to complete the project ahead of the promise date and turn it in early.

Let’s see how that would work in your professional life:  Your boss comes to you and asks, “I want you to work on this project, when can you get it to me?”  Your natural inclination is to over -promise right?  So it is Thursday afternoon, and you think to yourself, “I can work on it all day tomorrow and over the weekend and deliver it by Monday.”  You tell your boss that if you work hard on it, she will have it on her desk by Monday morning.  Now you put aside your other work, come to the office over the weekend and still cannot get it done because you are missing some information from another department.  Monday comes around and you tell your boss that there is some information missing and you cannot deliver the project until Monday evening.  She is not amused and you feel like a failure.  All because you over-promised.

Now try this:  You think, “I can get it done by Monday” and you tell your boss, “I will have it ready by Wednesday afternoon.”  You created an instant reserve of time!  You can enjoy the weekend, exercise , have a great time with your family and fill yourself up with energy.  Now you have your creative juices flowing and you get the report ready with no stress by Tuesday afternoon.  You turned it in early and your boss is impressed and thinks you are great because you turned the report ahead of schedule.  Congratulations – you just over-delivered!  This simple tip can dramatically decrease your stress level and it also puts you in a great position for a raise or a bonus.

What if your boss requires you to get it done by Monday?  While we often get specific deadlines most of them can be negotiated.  Request the extra two or three days.  If you have been consistently under-promising, you will have a reserve of time in all your other projects and you will actually have the time to crunch it out by Monday if you have to.

Under-promise works wonders in your personal life as well.  If you are cooking dinner, instead of bragging ahead of time that you are making a gourmet meal, tell your family you are making something simple and surprise them with a fabulous meal.  When asked by a friend if you can meet her at a certain time, make sure you have at least an extra half hour to spare in case you encounter bad traffic or an unexpected detour on your way.  It’s a fantastic feeling when you keep people’s expectations low and surprise them.  Everybody wins and you don’t have to spend your life apologizing.

Begin under-promising today and watch your time multiply!

With energy,

Ana

Early Warning Signals

Monday, May 31st, 2010

worried-womanThe concept of extreme self-care is the foundation of my work as a coach.  Practicing extreme self-care means taking great care of yourself even when it seems boarder line self-indulgent.  A lot of my clients struggle with the idea of making their self-care a priority.  They fear it may seem inappropriate or selfish.  I often remind them that in order to be ready to help others in a healthy way, they must be there for themselves first.

Examples on how to practice extreme self-care will always be unique to each individual.  We have different needs and priorities.  A few ideas below:

  • Giving yourself permission to change your mind about a commitment you’ve made, even though it might disappoint someone.
  • Asking someone to stop gossiping around you instead of tolerating it.
  • Eating the best food you can afford.
  • Spend more money on a great bed, nice sheets, and a great water filtering system.
  • Getting a massage or a manicure, once a week instead of every other month.

It’s not always easy to put yourself first, I realize that.  It’s a good idea to have a great support system that can remind you of taking great care of yourself – a loving partner, a trusted friend, a supportive coach – people that will raise a “self-care” flag when they see you not living up to your self-care standards.

It’s also important to be aware of early warning signals that help you recognize behaviors that spell trouble.  Let me give you some examples of what I mean.  I know I am heading for trouble when:

1.  I get less than eight hours of sleep a night.

2.  I feel irritable because I am hungry, sleepy or thirsty.

3.  I am too busy to exercise.

4.  I miss my prayer time in the morning.

5.  I feel overwhelmed and like I am not doing/being enough (whatever that means!).

6.  I don’t pet my cat when I get home.

When I begin to feel the slightest bit overwhelmed I:

1.  Ask for help.  I might call my husband, coach or a friend and talk through a problem.  I delegate more work or I might ask a specialist to step in and take care of a task I am struggling with.  The point is to remember to ask for help.

2.  Reevaluate my priorities.  I visit my Vision for my life/business, review my goals for the week/month and notice where I might be spending energy on things that are not important.

3.  Identify what I need to let go in order to focus on what’s important.  Sometimes it helps me to get physical and I would clean a drawer and look through my clothes to give away things I no longer need.  The act of letting go of the clutter helps me create a ‘space’ in my head to think more clearly.

It’s crucial to recognize the warning signals that are threatening your quality of life and to have a plan of action when they show up.  First, discover what makes you feel edgy, irritable and frustrated.  What behaviors trigger this reaction?  As you notice these things write them down and create your own early warning signals list.  Finish the sentence:  I know I am headed for trouble when…

Use these signals to remind you to turn your attention to your priorities.  Once you identified your early warning signals, develop some strategies like the ones I mentioned above to support you on your journey.  Think about what resonates with you and take action whenever you feel like you start to get edgy or overwhelmed.

We don’t have a natural instinct for extreme self-care.  It’s up to us to develop routines that give us energy and joy so that we can be ready to give more to others and to contribute to make the world a better place.

With energy,

Ana

Want to Feed Your Soul? Take a Vacation!

Wednesday, April 7th, 2010

HOME HAMMOCK23Vacations open us to a whole new world.  They give us inspiration, peace, health, knowledge, freedom, calm, new perspectives; in short, they give our life back!

While on vacation recently, my husband and me were calmly sitting having dinner and we could only smile at each other.  We spent a long time staring at the sky in silence enjoying the breeze and being in the moment.

The other important point is that vacations give us the renewal we need.  A lot of people forget that they need to recharge in order to perform well.  There is an illusion that we can do it all and that we don’t need to take a break.  If we look at how high levels athletes behave, we will see that they train hard to give their best performance and always include renewal as part of their training.  They eat well, get plenty of rest, take their vitamins, have plenty of support from their coaches and therapists – and then perform their best.  Then, they have an off- season in order to rest.

If high levels athletes take breaks in order to be the best they can be, we can all learn from them and do the same in our lives.

Ask yourself:  How are you living your life today?  Are you taking breaks and finding renewal in activities that bring you joy?  Are you eating well, getting the necessary sleeping time, exercising and playing?  If not, take a few minutes to find some creative ways to include breaks and renewal times in your life.  Write them down and see where you can fit them in the 24 hours we all have at our disposal.

I know you will perform like a champion if you begin to act like one!

With energy,

Ana

Working 9-5: What a way to make a living… Or is it?

Monday, February 8th, 2010

My dear friend Pamela is my guest writer today.  She blogged about her extremely liberating experience of quitting her  9-5 job.  It’s inspiring to read her insights and how she found her path once she let go of the old.  Congrats Pamela and thanks for allowing me to share this with our readers!

procrastination2Some of us think that we are obligated to work 9-5 as a measure of our success in society. That programming is difficult to ignore and the material goods that accompany a steady pay check are enticing.

Some of us just are not cut out for that lifestyle. We try to conform to the system. We do our job knowing that we are not part of that system and here is the result: We spend most of our waking hours with people we would not normally associate with. Maybe there are some co-workers we strongly dislike yet we are forced into a small, crowded office with them. We get caught in office politics that we do not care about, with people we don’t like, for a job that may be meaningless in the greater scheme of things. We come home tired, angry, frustrated, stressed.

Our true vocation is on hold. There is no energy left after the 9-5 brain drain. We wake up in the middle of the night agonizing over a stupid power play from the office (Why are these people in our bed?). Morning comes and we are already stressed. The night’s sleep didn’t erase the daily grind. Now we have to rush to get ready for work, walk the dog, drink the coffee, drive to the office, find parking, clock in, and face the music again. The weekend comes and it is run to the grocery store, the dry cleaners, rush through basic housekeeping chores, rush, rush, rush. If you have kids, the rushing becomes exponentially more insane. Multiply your daily to-dos by 1,000.

This was my life for 6 years. I sidestepped a life of creativity and spirituality, my two most important values, so I could pay bills. It seemed like the easy way out. I was tired of hustling my talents to make a living. So I bought into the 9-5. My boss was a micromanaging freak with a huge chip on her shoulder. Three years of hell and I landed a job in the arts at a very progressive place promising growth, opportunity, camaraderie, and enjoyment ! What a concept! A 9-5 that is a fun place to work…until it is not.

The economy shifted, the balance of power shifted, and with it came a truckload of stress. And then my body started to react. Everything I put up with at work I swallowed whole and my body was not happy. My stomach hurt. My teeth hurt. I had bags and circles under my eyes. Acupuncture helped but…without changing the situation that was causing the bodily ailments, the discomfort continued. I eat organics, take vitamins, practice Reiki, do Pilates and shun medications but my poor little body was bombarded with negativity and couldn’t process it. No wonder so many Americans succumb to the myriad of medications promoted so heavily in the media. And no wonder they are so overweight. They drown their misery in chemically laden, over processed factory food, which compounds the stress imbalance of 9-5.

I ask you – can  you simplify your life? Slow down? Reconnect to your values?

I did. I left my job to rediscover my true self, so I could reinvent my future. The first week I was home I found myself caught in the habit of rushing. I forgot how to do anything at a leisurely pace. I had to retrain myself to enjoy the process of whatever it was I was doing and to be grateful for everything. Everything is a gift! Then I began to engage in things that bring me pleasure: cooking delicious food, sharing a meal with family and friends, decorating for the holidays, baking cookies, gardening, long walks with my dog. Best of all, after weeks of reconnecting to my soul, I reconnected to my inner artist and got back into my studio. I am a weaver. I need to weave, to create with fabric, yarn and threads. It keeps me grounded, balanced, connected to a higher power and appreciative of my talents as god-given gifts. I go in my studio and create something every day and ask myself – “why am I making this?” And the answer is always “because I can!” Sometimes “because I can” is enough. Who else do I know who is doing what I do? No one. I’m it. And that makes me feel good. I’m it. I’m here to share my talents – gifts from the universe, given to me, to create things that can be given to others, to bring joy. If I can’t bring joy into this world then what am I here for? Certainly not the 9-5 grind. Did that bring me joy? At first I thought it did and I learned a lot (rationalizations here) but I did it bring joy? No. It did not. Did I sell my soul to the 9-5?

So now I have been home for three months. My body has normalized. I have slowed down. I give thanks every day for all that I have. I am using Ana’s coaching/visualization techniques to reinvent myself, to create my future. I am more focused on doing Reiki and meditating. With no expectations. I give back to society. I create. Coincidences keep occurring. And opportunities are presenting. I must be doing something right!

Thanks, Ana, for your friendship and your moral support and for your excellence in coaching me to my new reality.

Namaste,

Pamela