Believe in the Basics

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The past few weeks have been a very interesting time for me.

On the one hand, like you, probably, I’ve been wrapping up the end of the summer and those last “let’s squeeze this in” plans that go along with trying to make the most of the final moments of vacation time.

On the other hand, there has been the preparation for my daughter’s new school year (not to mention a total redecoration of her room at home!) and a focus on business projects and work that I have to organize for upcoming events and looming deadlines.

The mental picture of balancing scales has popped into my head on more than one occasion, for sure!

As is usually the case, as well, I have tried to be intentional about how I look at and approach the various things that have been presenting themselves.

With this focus, I’ve been aware of some timely supports, guides and signposts that have helped me keep an eye on what it is I want to create and experience.  I wanted to take the opportunity to share a few here with you.

The first is a podcast with author, Mike Erwin.  He wrote the book Lead Yourself First: Inspiring Leadership Through Solitude.  One of the non-contextual, yet quite relative points that stood out for me is that it took Erwin 7 years to research and write this book!  Seven Years!  There are drugs on the market that have been researched far less than that!

This struck me because I’ve been really feeling the crunch of some big projects that I have coming up, and this has caused a bit of a “hyper drive” reaction in me.  I’m sure you know exactly what I’m talking about.

Learning about Erwin’s body of research allowed me to pause, reflect and reframe my current experience.  His work intimately connects the ability to move things toward a directed and desired outcome with the practice of solitude which opens up space for inspired and clear answers.

In fact, I have experienced this time and time again in my life and work, yet we all could use the occasional reminder, and it’s always great to see research to back it up!

In those moments when we are invested in something that needs to get done, or that we really want to see happen, the “push” reaction can be very strong.  We jump to the “this needs to happen now!” mentality, and this can inhibit our ability to make the best possible decision(s).

One of the reasons for this is that our emotions are often tied up in the mix.  In order to make a good, rational choice in a matter, it is paramount to separate the emotional components.  Getting quiet and “going in,” as it were, aids in this discernment process.

Although it is very important to be aware of the feelings we have around a given situation and achieve informational clarity from working through and understanding said emotions, this piece should be done independently from the act of making and acting upon the decision at hand.

This can take time, but it will be time well spent, as it raises our chances of effectively and efficiently reaching our most desired outcome.

The other very beneficial offering that I was recently given . . . thank you very much Megan Huber . . .was the book recommendation, Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown.  As synchronicity would have it, I saw and listened to a podcast interview with McKeown just days later and was able to learn more about the premise of the book and its teachings.

In a nutshell, there are really very few things we have to do.  What we get to do is our choice, and it is up to us to choose what aligns to who we are and what we want the most in life.

McKeown states that most people are Non-Essentialists who focus on and get distracted by the expectations of the outside world. This truncates their power and purpose.

The Essentialist understands that the only things that truly matter are the areas of focus that one holds dear, personally and authentically.  Attending to these, first, allow us to show up most mightily.

So, as I sit here now in my month with the last of the vacation time for awhile behind me, I find my focal point of what needs to “get done” is much different.

Although, for awhile, I have followed a daily routine targeting connection with myself, first, I have chosen to simplify this even more.

Each day begins with a look at the list I have made for what I want to accomplish in the next 12-14 hours.  Then, I hit my workout which gives me time for reflection and prioritization.  A nutritious breakfast, cold shower, quick dress for success and I’m on with my day!  I’ve also scheduled time for things that “might come up,” and if nothing does, I use this time for what I feel is most appropriate in the moment.  Sometimes that is work, sometimes it’s used for an opportunity to do something else.  The day ends with a recap of the day’s accomplishments and a target list for the next day.

This discipline has fed my need to “take action” and stay “on task,” while the scheduled processing time has offered the necessary “step away for reflection” and has limited wasted time when I could otherwise become distracted and lose my focus.  What’s really cool is I find I truly am not doing as much, and I am accomplishing more with much less effort, since I am only focusing on what I have chosen to do.

I look forward to continuing this practice and observing the changes that come of it!  Maybe, you’ll choose to join me and keep me posted on what you are observing, as well.

Wishing you a productive and relaxing September!