Global Leadership Speaker and Premier Work-Life Balance Speaker
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Archive for June 2015

Stop for a Moment

How is your life?

Is it your life?

You can do what you think is expected of you. You can chase what you think is most lucrative. You can hand over your entire schedule to other people who think they know what you should be doing with your time.

Or you can stop for a moment. Look at how you are spending your time. Ask yourself if, should some crisis occur, you will look back and wish you had lived these days differently?

If so, you have to wonder what’s stopping you from taking charge of your life right now.

You are the one who decides what matters to you. Others may try to take charge of your time, but you decide your priorities. Only one person has the final say, and that is you.

Don’t feel guilty because you have priorities that don’t sync perfectly with the expectations of others. It is your life, not theirs.

Networking is Working

Beyond the fact that networking is working, networking is also work. It is hard. It means starting conversations with strangers and building connections when you would rather be doing something more enjoyable somewhere else. This kind of work is often done on your own time, and because you don’t have that much free time, you might not want to make the sacrifice.

Sometimes it is very easy to click with an individual and bring them into your network. You have a lot in common, your personalities jell, and it all works just great. But there will be occasions when you have to build relationships with people with whom you have nothing in common.
You have to make the effort to connect if it doesn’t happen naturally.

Finally, as you build your network, learn to lean on your sisters. Let your sisters lean on you. Look how far we have come as women. There was a time when many, many women saw other women as their competitors. It was as if women were allotted one slice of the success pie, and if you got that slice, I wouldn’t get any. So, instead of banding together to create more pie, we fought against each other to get that one slice for ourselves.

But, as more women advanced higher and higher, our share of the pie did grow. In the past decade, talk about women competing against women has really diminished. We are now positioned to create more opportunities for success for each other, and we are starting to really see and mine the power of our network.

A Meaningful, Happy Life

I can give all the tips and shortcuts in the world, but unless you make up your mind to live a meaningful, happy life, you aren’t going to be happy. Unless you look inside of yourself and see someone who is worthy and wonderful, your subconscious won’t accept that you de­serve to be happy. Unless you open yourself up to it, it’s not going to happen.

It is so simple to do, but so few people make that conscious choice. They feel happiness when it shines on them, but there are a lot of times when it isn’t shining.

Is there some secret to making the sun shine?

Yes. It’s not all that hard, once you open yourself up to it. And to those cynics who ridicule happy talk, I get the cynicism. As a former investigative reporter, I used to live with cynicism and negativity because most of what we did was point out what was wrong with the world and occasionally present a way to make it right. It was important work that helped to change the status quo, prompt new laws, and change lives, but everything was always viewed through a negative, critical, cynical filter.

Most people live in a world that is generally overcast. It is so part of the norm these days, and it’s hard to escape. Believe me, before I chose to lead a happy life many years ago, I lived in an overcast world.

Eventually, I found that I really had the power to send the clouds away. I very seriously and deliberately made up my mind that I was going to be happy and poof! I was happy. In those times when the skies darken and bad things happen, that seed of optimism carries me through. Better days are coming.

You have the same right to be happy as anyone else.

Examine the Choices

Once it hits you that your days are moving faster and your time is getting shorter, you really begin to examine the choices you’ve made in the past. So fill your days with delight now, rather than experiencing loss or regret when it hits you that time is running out.

The older you get, the harder it is to change jobs or find new relationships. It’s certainly not impossible, but stop making excuses and start taking charge now.

Do not throw your time away.

Work life and non-work life usually don’t balance out so well. We have 168 hours to live each week. At a minimum, you are probably working 40 hours. Add in five hours for lunch. Five hours for getting ready for the day. At least five hours for commuting. Most people sleep at least seven hours a night, so that’s 111 hours of your week just sleeping and getting yourself off to work – if you’re not working overtime.

That leaves you with 57 hours to use as you wish.

Shocking, huh?

Now add in your overtime. Count the time you spend with the family, reading to the kids, cleaning, cooking, lawn care, financial management, household management. Grocery shopping, going to school plays and soccer games and taking the car to the shop, going to the doctor, checking in on your parents, and going to your house of worship. Maybe some working out, too. And time for Facebook or other social media, and for reading something.

Even with all of that, you’d think there would be time to actually breathe in some life and do things that you love.

But where is it?

If you’re waiting for things to slow down once the kids get a little older, or for the merger or system upgrade or new management change to finally settle things down at work, you are sacrificing the only sure thing you’ve got in this life: today.

Take a few minutes and think about what will matter once you reach the end of your days. What you will cherish then is what you should cherish now.

What matters are the people you love, the people who love you, the places you’ve been, the moments that brought you joy and meaning and life.

It’s all about the pictures on the wall.

Consuming Jobs

Consuming jobs and careers exist, and if those feed your soul, then embrace them. Enjoy them. You are free to make that choice, and I support your freedom to work as hard and long as you want. If it’s stressful, but you enjoy the stress, then don’t change a thing. Do whatever it is that fulfills you and makes you happy — as long as you are not hurting other people.

But if you are sacrificing your most precious, perishable gift in life — time — to something that is depleting your soul and robbing you of purpose, then you need to stop right where you are, ask yourself what you are doing, and start making changes.

Every single day has the potential for joy, happiness, challenge, and greatness. You get 365 chances each year to have a great day. Even the happiest people get a few bad ones, but if you aren’t having great days most of the time, you’ve got to ask yourself why, and then ask what you are going to do about it.