As the month of June comes to a close, I realize that almost half the year is gone. As Michael Altshuler says, "The bad news is TIME flies. The good news is you're the pilot."
So the question is, how will you navigate the remaining 6 months of the year?
This is a good time to pause and reflect on the first half of the year, and chart your course for the second half.
To live an intentional life, one where you deliberately create the life you envision takes planning. Making time to realign with your vision for your life provides an opportunity to assess, where you're been, where you are now, and then you get to decide where you are headed.
Why is this important? Let me share with you the 5-C's: the key reasons why it's worth your time to pause and reflect now, instead of waiting until the end of the year.
1. Celebrate. We often set goals and when we meet them, we're off and running to the next one without taking a moment to celebrate what we've just accomplished (sound familiar?). Checking in mid-year allows you to honor and acknowledge the successes you have had so far, both big and small. Make a list of all the things you can think of and then go back and review your calendar to add things to the list you may have forgotten. It may surprise you how much you've already done. Cheers!
2. Clarity. When life is busy it's sometimes hard to see the forest for the trees. You may not remember why you're doing what you're doing because you're stuck in the busyness. Making space and time to step out of the busyness allows you to see things more clearly. It gives you an aerial view; you get to see the bigger picture and remember your why for your life. Being clear on your vision for your life makes it so much easier to make decisions by asking, "does this align with my vision or not?"
3. Core Beliefs. We all have a set of core beliefs that determine the rules we live by. Sometimes we're aware of them, sometimes we're not. Assessing the year at mid-point allows you to ask, "Are the choices I'm making, aligned with the life I say I want?" In answering this question you get to see where you may be sabotaging your own success and identify hidden limiting beliefs that may be keeping you stuck (to learn how to break through limiting beliefs, see my most popular blog post, http://bit.ly/1jUnDkR). Then, you get to create new beliefs that serve your current vision for your life and move you towards it.
4. Consistency. Developing key habits and activities to support your goals is one of the most important elements in your success formula. My coach is constantly saying consistent actions bring consistent results. As you review your year so far, notice whether you have been consistent in taking the steps necessary to move you forward. This includes actions that help support a healthy you like eating well and regular exercise, in addition to actions that support better life balancing.
5. Community. Take stock in your community. Who supports you? Who are your encouragers? I have an accountability partner that helps me stick to taking the actions necessary to move towards my goals. I also have a coach and belong to a mastermind group. Yes, my life is busy but having this support system in place has yielded greater returns on my investment of time than I could have ever imagined. My coach holds the vision that I have for my life and continues to believe in it even when I get discouraged. She motivates me to get up when I've fallen and to try again. She gets it because she's been there. And having a group of like-minded individuals to serve as my personal board of directors keeps me on purpose. They have been my biggest cheering squad and also call me out when I'm making excuse to play small.
I will be spending this weekend reviewing 2014 and charting my course for the coming 6 months. I recommend realigning with the vision you have for you life at least twice per year. I make time for this activity quarterly. I've learned alot in the process and feel more and more like the leader in my life rather than feeling like life is leading me.
How often do you make time to assess where you are in life? Leave a comment and let me know below.
"What would I do without my calendar?"
If you're like busy people, you live and breathe based on your daily schedule, filled with errands, appointments, and to-dos.
But, I wonder if there is one very important appointment missing from your calendar?
Where do you find time for you? Do you regularly make it onto your schedule?
Most people respond no to this question. Somehow there is a belief that the time you need for yourself will magically appear on your calendar. The truth is, you won't find the time if you don't make the time.
So what's the problem with not having any time to yourself?
This bumper sticker I saw walking through the parking lot says it all.
This is the secret fantasy you may sometimes have of leaving it all behind and just disappearing for a while. What really lies underneath this feeling is wanting and needing some time just for you.
We take care of so many people in our work, in our families, in our friendships...but where is the time to take care of you?
I strongly recommend scheduling "My Time" appointments with yourself every day.
This creates some built in breathing space in your day. It's an opportunity for you to be with your own thoughts and to check in to see what's up for you. It is a gift you give to yourself.
So how do you do this?
Okay, there is enough here to get you started.
Are you ready to take the challenge?
Schedule time for yourself daily for the next 30 days. Leave a comment below and let me know what name you have given "your time" and share any obstacles that you think may get in your way.
There is a community here ready and willing to support you!
"Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome."
- Booker T. Washington
Last month I celebrated a birthday. I have created an annual ritual of taking the day off (birthdays really need to be personal holidays, don't you think?), to allow some time for reflection in addition to celebration. This year the process has continued for a full 4 weeks.
I thought about how much I have accomplished so far in my lifetime. And although I've achieved many milestones, what I'm most amazed by is the woman I've become in the process.
It is the variety of experiences I've had, the wins and the losses, that have shaped who I am today. As I thought about the past year and prepared for this new year of life, I discovered themes that have helped me get to where I am today.
Here is the list of life lessons I've learned that have been key to my success:
1. Practice reframing. It is easy to get discouraged when life is throwing challenges your way. I am a firm believer that there are no coincidences. Everything happens for a reason. One of my strengths is an ability to see the positive in negative situations. This has served me well; it allows me to find those aha moments that lead to wisdom. And, it greatly reduces my stress. The best part is it is a skill that anyone can learn. I teach my clients to recognize when they are looking through a negative lens and how to replace it with a positive filter.
2. Making mistakes are part of life. This is par for the course. As long as you are breathing, you will experience errors in judgment. It's not a matter of if, but when and how often. Accepting this truth can save you from endless hours of beating up on yourself after the fact. It is empowering to know that one mis-step doesn't define who you are or determine the end of your story. What helps you to move forward is a willingness to begin again.
3. Change happens, adapt. We are creatures of habit, and change whether felt to be positive or negative can be stressful. We get stuck when we resist change. It is inevitable that change will come, sooner or later. Find ways to increase your capacity for being flexible. It will serve you well when the unexpected occurs and the best laid plans fall apart.
4. Inner wisdom trumps rational thinking. Listening to my inner wisdom has never steered me wrong. The top five best decisions I've ever made were due to following my heart and a sense of knowing. And when I haven't listened, the consequences taught me the importance of letting my head be guided by heart instead of the other way around.
5. Receiving help is as important as giving help. I was born a caretaker. There is this natural tendency to want to offer help. I value this quality and yet recognize that it's become so familiar that it is uncomfortable asking for help. In the medical world, there is an unspoken rule that asking for help is a sign of weakness. I've spent the past few years unlearning this myth and taking action to get support by hiring a coach and joining a mastermind group. In this new year of life I plan to practice accepting help when it is offered, and asking for help when it is needed.
Okay, I promised five life lessons and yet I can't end this piece without mentioning one of the most important lessons (consider it a bonus): you get to define success on your own terms.
This one has been huge for me. These days success is more about how I feel and how aligned my life is with what is most important to me. My focus is shifting from what I am doing to who I am becoming.
I think David Frost says it best, "Don't aim for success if you want it; just do what you love and believe in, and it will come naturally."
I hope this list gives you a starting place to consider your own life lessons for success.
Leave a comment below and share what one life lesson have you learned that helps support your success?
You have so much on your plate. You're not quite sure when (or how) you'll get everything done.
There just doesn't seem to be enough hours in the day. You're drowning in tasks. You're looking forward to the time when life slows down (when was the last time life actually felt slow?).
So many of us find ourselves inundated by an overwhelming, never-ending list of things that need to get done. And we somehow think we can do it all on our own.
So why don't we ask for help? Maybe if we had an easy button for asking it would be easier. We need a "Help button".
Most people don't ask for help because it feels hard. But that doesn't mean that people don't want help. Just think about the number of self-help books on bookstore shelves, many of which end up on the best seller list.
In my experience, there are 5 common reasons that stop you from asking for help:
1. Shame keeps you from asking. Shame pulls a cloak of darkness over your life. It keeps you isolated and feeling alone, ensuring that you will not get support or ask for help. The way to release shame is by shining the light on it. Confiding in someone and speaking your truth out loud removes the power that shame holds over you.
2. You don't know what to ask for. When you're feeling overwhelmed by life circumstances you may not know what you need help with. Here is where clarity can help. Pause long enough to write down all that you are holding. Determine which tasks and situations you are certain you can take care of and identify the ones where receiving help may bring them to resolution faster.
3. You feel you should be able to do it all by yourself. The operative word here is should. It is inherently filled with judgment. We are usually our own worst critic. When you judge yourself harshly the chance of asking for help plummet. Get another opinion and reassess your expectations of what you can accomplish in a defined time period. You may find that what you expect of yourself is just a tiny bit unrealistic (can anybody relate?).
4. You don't want to bother people. This was a big one for me. As I think back, it is pretty hypocritical since I was generally the one rushing to help and assist others. Women especially are hard-wired as caregivers and nurturers. When you dare to ask, you will likely find there are a long line of people only too willing to offer help. Allowing others to help you gives them an opportunity to practice generosity.
5. You secretly fear letting go of the struggle. The idea of addiction to struggle was introduced to me this weekend by my coach, Christine Kane. It is common to be uncomfortable with the unfamiliar. What would it be like if you asked for help and suddenly your life didn't feel so hard all the time? With this one, I recommend taking baby steps. Start by asking for help with a small task and work your way up to larger more complex situations.
Until we get a that Help button, working to uncover the truth underneath our reasons for not getting help can bring about some relief and maybe a lighter load. At the very least, you may discover that you're not as alone as you thought you were.
Leave a comment below and let me know which of the above reasons you most identify with, or add your own to the list.
Uplifting Women in Medicine