Posted on February 17, 2014 by Debra Burdick
This is the first article in a series that will guide you through a proven process to unlock your potential in your life and your work. We all want to feel successful and satisfied with life. Most of us are doing our best to thrive at work or build a successful business and many are also trying to balance work and family and parenting. But perhaps there is something missing.
What gets in your way of living up to your full potential? Are you satisfied with how you are moving ahead in your work or business? Is exhaustion and frustration an all too familiar feeling? Do you sometimes feel resentful and angry that you aren’t doing as well as you want? Do you wonder what is keeping you from achieving what you desire? Are you also a parent trying to balance work and family? Do you struggle to feel good enough in any of your roles?
All too often we get caught up in “doing” the busyness of life. I am amazed at how stressed out my clients often feel and how rarely they stop and take a moment to breathe and take care of themselves. I know from personal experience that feeling exhausted and stressed out gets in the way of success and life satisfaction. This pattern typically holds people back from truly living up to their potential.
Here’s the first step to unlock your potential.
Step back for a moment to make sure you are taking good enough care of yourself. You’ve heard this analogy many times, but it’s true. On an airplane the flight attendant instructs you to put the oxygen mask on yourself first and then on the others who need your help. If you don’t take care of yourself first you cannot be at your best and you are of no use to anyone else.
The same theory applies to all aspects of your life including work and family. If you are exhausted, worn out, angry, or at your wits end you will not be in good enough shape to truly live up to your potential. You won’t be able to concentrate, you may make stupid mistakes, your creativity will be impaired, your energy will be drained, and your mood will be anxious and depressed. Your health, work and family will suffer. But if you take good enough care of yourself you will have the energy, emotional stability, consistency, enthusiasm, and love to be much more effective at work, in business and as a parent. Here’s a great resource for transforming stress in your life.
Let’s talk about some ways to take care of yourself. First and foremost you need to establish some resources so you can take a break periodically. Everyone needs some down time on a regular basis. This will look different for different people but make a list of things that would help you rest and recharge. Some great ideas include: hiring an assistant at work, reading, listening to music, meditating, taking a bath, getting massage, a romantic dinner with your sweetheart, lunch with a positive friend, or a really funny movie where you can laugh and laugh. If you are a parent find some good babysitters so you can have some ‘time off’ for yourself without the demands of a child.
Manage your stress. Identify your stressors and reduce them when possible. Then learn to de-stress and lower your stress response. My Transforming Stress Teletraining will show you exactly how you can do this.
Find someone to talk to. You will feel better if you have someone you can talk to about what’s going on in your life. This might be a family member, a friend, a psychotherapist, or even an on-line support group. It is not uncommon to feel alone and isolated so plan to do something to counter it.
Get regular exercise. This will keep your body in shape but will also lower your stress level. Put in on your schedule. You might even be able to do this with a friend, your mate or even your child. Better yet, get outside in nature and take a walk. It will do wonders for you energy and mood.
Get enough sleep. This is so important and is often so difficult when you feel stressed or anxious. Make it a priority to establish good sleep hygiene and protect your sleep. It can be the best medicine. Here are some great resources for improving sleep: Sleep and ADHD and Sleep.
Eat a nutritious and healthy diet. You must feed and water your brain to keep yourself healthy, energized, and emotionally stable. That old saying “you are what you eat” is true! What you eat can sabotage or add to your success in specific ways. Here are some guidelines.
Develop a meditation practice. Give yourself the opportunity to calm your brain, quiet the inner chatter, connect with your inner being, and escape from the hustle/bustle of the world and your work or parenting responsibilities for at least 10 minutes every day. Listen to a relaxation or meditation CD. Or learn to go within, monitor your breathing, and use your imagination to imagine you feel the way you would like to feel. You might even use this time to visualize yourself being the person you would like to be with the life satisfaction and personal and work success you desire. Learn to be more mindful in your everyday life.
Have some FUN! Have you noticed how much you work? There is always more that needs to be done. This has certainly been true in my life. A career or business, family children, relationships, etc. takes time. I know some people who only sleep about 5 hours per night just to get everything done. This is not acceptable and will lead to burn out, health issues, resentment, and not being there for yourself, your spouse, your kids or your work. Make a list of fun activities and make a habit of doing them regularly.
Remember the oxygen mask. Take care of yourself. Fulfilling your life’s potential depends on it!
I would love to hear your personal experiences with this topic.