Posted by Colin Ransom on 11 Feb 2013
I’d bet money on each and every one of us knowing exactly what this feels like. Nowadays, the stresses and demands of modern-day living can, on some occasions, seem too much for us to cope with.
“But I like being busy” I hear you say. This is fine, but at what point do we start to put our own wellbeing and even sanity BEFORE meeting the demands of others?
I meet people all the time who just work. That’s all they do – work! Even though they know that this is unhealthy and what it will do to them in the long-term.
The Dalai Lama, when asked what surprised him most about humanity, said:
“Man. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.”
It’s important to step back and review our situation objectively; talk to a friend, someone not connected to work. Coaching is great for this as it offers different perspectives and enables us to see the bigger picture. In fact, the scale of our problem, compared to everything that’s happening in the entire universe, is pretty insignificant really. We are so consumed by our day-to-day, that we can often fail to see the bigger picture.
I have a 4-tier to do list, with the following headings:
I cannot emphasize how important it is for me personally to have everything written down. I’ve been known to get up in the middle of the night to make a to-do list in order to be able to get to sleep. It’s like a tiny little bit of magic happens.
Others prefer the following format:
|Want to do it||Don’t want to do it|
|Have to do it||Priority 2||Priority 1|
|Don’t have to do it||Priority 4||Priority 3|
Have a day off
We NEED a day off, no matter how busy we are. It’s important to spend time doing the things we love and with those we love and who love us. Not having a day off is dangerous territory for most of us.
Get things in perspective
Am I really the most hard-done-to person in the world, or am I actually incredibly lucky to have a thriving and successful career or business doing something I love?
Don’t be afraid the relinquish control
A lot, in fact nearly all of the managers and owners I meet are, unfortunately, the authors of their own misery. Telling people this is quite tricky as it can cause offence. But really, who is it who’s put you in the situation you’re in? Actually it’s you. This is a fact.
A lot of managers and owners are terrified of delegating, for fear of their much trusted employee failing to deliver the goods in terms of producing the same high standard of work. Most GMs and owners I meet are consummate perfectionists, but this is seldom a good thing to be honest, because perfection doesn’t exist. We can strive for excellence though, yes. This is a much more realistic goal.
Another fear is the fear of not being in control. This is more common that you’d think, both inside and outside of the work arena. Work is like a drug, an addiction for some unfortunately which makes people unable to actually enjoy or relax on a day off.
“But I NEED to work, I can’t afford not to!”
A very good friend of mine and I were house hunting together in 1998. We had a budget in our minds but we saw a house we really liked. It was more than we wanted to pay and so in my mind, I ruled it out straight away. As we were discussing it later, my friend turned to me and she said:
“Colin, we will find the money from somewhere, because we always do. That’s how it works.”
This little pearl of wisdom was bang on the money and it’s stayed with me ever since. Our income will fluctuate from time to time. I have to make a conscious decision not allow this to cause me any fear or anxiety. I have to believe that everything will work out ok in the end, if I put in the right kind of effort. It just will. That’s how it works. And anyway, what really is the worst that can happen?