I’ve had my own businesses since the early 1990’s, and have learned the most valuable lessons from my failures, rather than my successes. Like many entrepreneurs, I am extremely passionate about what I do, AND I want to make a difference in the world. The challenge with being passionate, and wanting to make a big difference, is that you can constantly push yourself to finish that one last “thing”, rather than listening to your body and taking a break. You often feel pulled, and crave guilt-free time for yourself and with friends and family. At times you may feel like your business is running your life.
The stress associated with constantly doing and giving is taking an incredible toll on our bodies, minds, relationships, and our bottom lines. There is a healthier, happier way to do life and I’d like to share some proven strategies and powerful practices to show you how.
Costs of “doing” more than “being”
What happens when we spend the majority of our days doing more than being?
• We have difficulty focusing on our interactions with others as our mind is always racing and thinking about the next thing on our to do list (affects our relationships at home and at work)
• We don’t feel a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day
• We sometimes have difficulty sleeping and awaken at night with thoughts of work on our minds
• We have difficulty focusing, and may often feel there SO MUCH to do, and SO LITTLE time
• Our bodies feel tense and are often in “flight”, “fight” or “freeze” modes. Increased levels of stress hormones such as adrenalin and cortisol over time can lead to weight gain, adrenal fatigue, “burnout”, cancer, anxiety attack and autoimmune disorders such as fibromyalgia.
Costs of “giving” more than “receiving”
What happens if we give more than receive over time?
• We experience low energy
• We have less patience with, and tolerance of others
• We become more reactive than responsive in our interactions; for example, rather than being understanding, empathic and asking why someone is upset, we are insensitive and may react angrily
• We may become resentful and in some cases feel like a victim; e.g. “I’m always helping Sue but she’s never there for me”
I’ve almost burnt out several times in my life as an entrepreneur, and have experienced many of the negative impacts on my body, mind and relationships of doing more than being, and giving more than receiving. I’m now on a mission to spread the word that there is an easier, healthier and happier way to live life. I have proof that you no longer need to constantly work longer and harder to be successful at work and in life.
Three Keys and Related Proven Strategies and Powerful Practices to Support You to Stay Healthy, Happy and Grounded
Key #1 – Listen to and Trust in Your Body’s Wisdom
As I reflect on my life, I realize that the decisions I’ve made solely from my left brain and focusing on my pro’s and con’s list have not always been the “right” ones for me. Whereas the decisions I’ve made from my heart and my gut have always been the “right” ones, resulting in positive life experiences. The first step in listening to and trusting in your body’s wisdom is to become aware of the messages it sends you.
Two powerful practices to help you “get out of your head” and “into your body” are: 1) Body scanning; and 2) Mindfulness Walking Meditations.
On awakening, instead of “hitting the ground running”, scan your body starting from the top of your head to the tips of your toes. Notice any areas of tension or discomfort. Breathe into these and envision the tension or discomfort floating away.
Mindfulness walking meditations are most powerfully done in nature. Instead of walking and brooding about the past or worrying about the future, try to be present and focus on all of your senses. For example, feel the wind on your cheeks, hear the crunch of the leaves underfoot, smell the salt sea air, see the beautiful scenery in front you. When your mind wanders, which it will inevitably do, be kind to yourself and refocus on each of your senses. Notice how calm you feel during and after.
Key #2 – Tap into and Express Your Creative Side
The right side of the brain is associated with creativity, intuition, emotion and “big picture” thinking. The left side is associated with structure, logic, language and rational thought. When we take time to tap into our creative side we experience amazing benefits.
Try a creative or artistic pursuit you did as a child, or try something you’ve always wanted to do but never took the time for; (e.g. piano lessons, salsa dancing, water color painting), and notice how it makes you feel. Many people when they engage in a creative pursuit feel relaxed, like a child at play, and it takes their mind off work. After engaging in an artistic pursuit, you often are more productive, and more focused.
Key #3 – Consciously Create Right and Left Brain/Body Balance
The cultures of India and China have recognized the importance of a balanced life for thousands of years.
Several proven strategies to help you to create right and left brain/body balance are: 1) Grounding; and 2) Unplugging from technology.
At the beginning of each day, and before an important meeting or event, find a quiet space, close your eyes and imagine there are branches growing out of the bottom of your feet going deep down into the earth. Imagine the beautiful mother earth energy coming up through those roots, through the bottom of your feet, through your body and coming to rest in your heart. Now imagine you have branches coming out of the top of your head, growing high up to the sky and tapping into the universal, source, heavenly energy (whatever you choose to call it). Imagine warm, loving energy coming down through those branches, through the top of your head and coming to rest in your heart. Imagine being supported by both the sky and the earth.
Try unplugging from technology 90 minutes before you retire at night. You will likely experience a deeper and more restful sleep.
I encourage you to experiment with integrating the 3 keys and powerful practices from each one into your life, and notice how it affects your body, mind, relationships, and your bottom line.