The Secret To Not Dropping Your Phone in the Toilet

I came across a report recently that said that 19% of smartphone users have dropped their phone in the toilet at least once. That means that if there are 5 in your household, each with their own phone, chances are one of you has seen your phone go for a swim.

cell-phone-conversation-4-1436647

Sure I know people who have experienced this relatively new phenomenon, but apparently smartphones ending up in the toilet is a larger issue than I realized.

Perhaps it is more complicated than this, but I’d like to suggest a solution that I think can make a dent in those numbers.

Stop taking your phone into the bathroom!

Maybe it’s too simplistic or I am missing something (wouldn’t be the first time) but is it possible to simply leave our phones outside the bathroom…say, on a dresser, in a purse or the office while we “go”?

I’m not a doctor but isn’t there a hygiene issue here? If you are, please speak to this, but it can’t be a good thing to scroll through our newsfeed, check Facebook post likes or text our best friend while we’re taking care of business, can it? Seems kind of gross to me.

I can hear someone respond with, “You’ve got to be kidding. I get some of my best social media time while on a break in the bathroom.” Others simply just never leave their phones out of their sight, ever.

Hey, I’m not against smartphones. I have one, I like it, it’s super helpful and convenient. Like you I check emails, listen to music or podcasts, I text and I search social media.

I remember my first phone. It was new and exciting and all of a sudden I had access to things that until then I had to go to my office for. Soon, I was emailing people at 11pm and checking sports scores in the middle of the night if I couldn’t sleep. It was cool. But the advent of the smartphone also meant I had to learn new behaviours and new boundaries. This became obvious when one night Kathy and I were watching TV when I received an email from a distraught person. I soon was in an email conversation that could have easily gone on indefinitely.

That’s when I first saw that this wonderful device while beneficial, could actually interfere with my life. I’ve been trying to learn and live with the tension ever since.

I am concerned that phones can have a negative impact on things like our schedules, our free time, and our relationships. The other day I saw a couple in our cafe, who stopped in for lunch. They were there for over an hour and each of them were on their own phones the entire time. They never talked to each other, at all. I actually had another customer come to me and comment on the situation with deep sadness in his eyes.

Like with so many things in our lives, the smartphone has lead to new behaviours. Behaviours that can serve us or hurt us. At their worst, they can become addictive.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines addiction as, a strong and harmful need to regularly have something (such as a drug) or do something (such as gamble); an unusually great interest in something or a need to do or have something.” 

I would add that a behaviour could be an addiction when it interferes with healthy functioning in other areas of our lives.

Clues you might be addicted to your phone:

  • your phone is in your hand 24/7 (at least while you’re awake)
  • you are on your phone in social settings (parties, family dinner etc)
  • you take it into the bathroom
  • you check your phone for no reason, only because it’s there
  • you use your phone to avoid silence
  • checking your phone is the first thing you do in the morning and last thing at night
  • you don’t take a vacation from your phone when on vacation
  • you check and answer emails and texts all day long
  • you’re on your phone while eating
  • you’re texting your friend while on a date

I’m concerned that our excessive use of smartphones could lead to greater harm for ourselves and our relationships without some appropriate boundaries.

Here are some suggestions that may help:

  • don’t sleep with your phone under your pillow
  • leave all phones off during family dinner
  • don’t answer your phone during a meeting with a co-worker or business associate
  • when out with a friend for coffee, stay focused on each other
  • limit texting to information not conversation
  • have verbal conversations
  • take extended breaks from technology
  • control the use of your phone, don’t let it control you.

Do you have a problem with dropping your smartphone into the toilet? Then stop taking it into the bathroom. It might be the healthiest decision you make.

If your phone is interfering with other important areas of your life, like your relationships, productivity and personal health, then maybe it’s time to make some changes.

How about you?

How do you manage your phone?

Do you control your phone or does your phone control you? If you’re not sure, ask someone close to you. I’m sure they will have some helpful feedback.

What is one decision you can make today, to establish a healthy boundary with your phone?

Feeling stuck? Not sure what to do next? Life coaching can help. Contact me to arrange a free 30-minute discovery call. Lets talk.

 

Sleep: Why 71/2 Hours is Better Than 8 But Not As Good as 9

How did you sleep last night?

koira-1531747

I’m asking because it seems to be a popular topic right now and lately I’m not sleeping so well.

Until a few years ago, other than a bout of insomnia in 2003 that lasted for about 3 months I slept fine. But again I’m in a season where I’m not sleeping much more than 4-5 hours a night…that might work for some people but not for me.

When I was a teenager I worked with a guy who bragged he only needed 2 or 3 hours of sleep a night. He argued that while most people slept through the night he had more time to do other things. I wasn’t sure what those things were exactly, I never asked.

Growing up I was taught that getting 8 hours of sleep a night was imperative to good health. I don’t know where that number came from or if it was ever scientifically proven, but it seemed to be the gold standard for as long as I can remember.

But what if 8 hours of sleep is not ideal? What if you you should get less sleep not more?

I’m not suggesting that we can live on 2 to 3 hours a night. That guy I worked with eventually had to stop working altogether while he was hospitalized. He was gone for months.

The national sleep foundation recommends 7-9 hours of sleep for adults 18-64. But maybe it’s more specific than that.

Sleep Cycles

While you sleep, we go through cycles of sleep states. The first state in a sleep cycle is light sleep, followed by deep sleep and a dream state referred to as REM-sleep. A full sleep cycle lasts about 90 minutes and is normally repeated several times each night.

If we typically sleep in 90 minute cycles throughout the night, and if we wake most refreshed at the end of a sleep cycle, then we should schedule our sleep to coincide with our sleep cycles. In other words, 6 hours equals 4 sleep cycles. 71/2 hours equals 5 sleep cycles and 9 hours equal 6.

If this is accurate, then waking up after 8 hours means we will be doing so in the middle of a sleep cycle, and might explain why we wake up groggy rather than refreshed.

For Example

Let’s say you go to bed at 10pm tonight, and fall asleep in about 15 minutes. After 5 cycles of sleep (71/2 hours) you should wake up @ 6am; give or take a few minutes. If you wake up or set your alarm for 6:30 or 7:00am you might be waking up mid sleep cycle and possibly sabotaging your best chance for a productive day.

This is also why using the snooze button typically backfires. You might think you’ll benefit from an extra 10 minutes of shut eye, but if you actually fall asleep only to wake up 10 minutes later, well, you get the picture. (which might be why you push the snooze button a second or third time)

There are numerous ways to improve your sleep such as…

  • choosing a consistent bedtime and wake up time,
  • keeping your room dark,
  • avoiding screen light (laptops, smartphones etc) an hour before bed,
  • getting regular exercise,
  • getting a better quality mattress and pillow

But ensuring you are sleeping the proper amount of time might be just what the doctor ordered. So remember; follow your sleep patterns. Getting 8 hours sleep a night might not be in your best interest.

71/2 of sleep is better than 8 but not as good as 9

What do you think?

How well do you sleep? What habits do you practice that help you?

What tips can you offer those struggling with sleep.

 

Feel like there is more to your life than what you are experiencing today? Not sure where to start? Life coaching can help. Contact me to arrange an initial free 30 minute Discovery Call. Let’s talk.

How To Get More Done in Less Time

I came across a statistic recently that suggested that the average office worker actually works about 90 minutes a day. A day!!! I had to read that again. 90 minutes a day.

time-1196952

At first you might be asking, “Where do I sign up for that job? Get paid for 8 hours but actually only work 90 minutes? Sweet”

The obvious question is what are people doing the other 6.5 hours? Apparently the rest of the workday is spent on distractions like reading the news, surfing the web, socializing with coworkers, taking coffee breaks, checking emails, playing games, and daydreaming.

In a recent post I shared what happens in the typical workplace during the “dog days of summer” and it isn’t pretty. You can read about it here.

Can we just acknowledge that the era of the open concept workplace environment was a colossal failure? Yeah it may be seen as a means to foster collaboration and team unity  (or maybe just a way to save money by not building interior walls)  but I’m convinced that the shift to open concept work spaces have actually contributed to a less productive work environment.

Susan Cain, the voice for introverts and the author of “Quiet; The Power of Introverts In a World That Can’t Stop Talking” shares some insights here regarding the limitations of the new style of office management.

I think this phenomenon (working 90 minutes/day) takes a real toll on us too. Here are a few reasons why.

  • Work is a good thing and being less productive can lead to discouragement and frustration
  • If we aren’t putting in our best efforts, then we aren’t truly earning our paycheque
  • When we don’t get our work done in the office, we may have to take time away from family and other activities to catch up

Most bosses don’t expect that their employees are going to work for 8 hours straight, without a break. Besides being illegal in most situations its not realistic either.

But making the most of our time at work to me is less about fulfilling our bosses expectations and finding fulfillment in what we do.

I think job satisfaction is hard to find if we head for home each night with a gnawing feeling in our gut that we just didn’t give it our best. Or that we didn’t accomplish anything of significance.

So how can we make the most of our time at work (which can also free us up to make the most of our time out of work).

  • See work as a stewardship issue. Like everything else in our lives, like our homes, our money, our belongings, our time and our relationships, we have a responsibility to manage our time at work as well.
  • See work as a reflection of our relationship with God. The meaning of all we do, including our work changes when we see it as a spiritual thing, not just a task we have to complete to pay bills.

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.” Colossians 3:23

  • Break down work into smaller chunks of time. I’ve been trying to do this regularly and seeing good results. In fact I think you can accomplish more in a 90 minute window of time than you can all day if you do it well.
  • Limit your distractions during your 90 minute window. Avoid email, social media and people unless they are crucial to what you’re working on in that time.
  • Break down your work into smaller steps or tasks. Procrastination is often a result of being overwhelmed with the big project or final goal. Set clear steps to getting to the finish line.
  • Take a break. When your 90 minutes are up, stop. Take a break. Go for a walk. Get a drink. Stretch. Talk to someone. Take a nap. Then after 15-30 minutes, prepare for the next 90 minutes.

If you simply block off two 90 minute time slots for focused, purposeful work, you will be more productive than most of your co-workers. Don’t rub it in their face though. You don’t want your car keyed in the parking lot. But…

  • You will get more done.
  • You will feel better about yourself and the work you do.
  • You will have greater capacity to be present at home…rather than being preoccupied with what you didn’t get done at the office, you can arrive home ready to embrace your family.

What would it do to your work life (and home life) if you were able to block off 2-90 minute windows of time? For starters, you’d be twice as productive as the average worker. Suppose you had a super productive day and blocked off 5-90 minutes windows of time. You’d accomplish a week’s worth of work in one day. Maybe taking Fridays off in the summer becomes a possibility. Who knows.

Imagine what you could get done, 90 minutes at at time.

The key to having a more productive day starts with 90 minutes. Make the most of them and see where it takes you.

 

Feel like there is more to your life than what you are experiencing today? Not sure where to start? Life coaching can help. Contact me to arrange an initial free 30 minute Discovery Call. Let’s talk.

Whose Life Are You Living?

I’ve come across this story a few times in the past and I want to share it with you today. I don’t know it’s origin but the point of the story is an important one for us to consider.

fishing-boat-in-galicia-spain-1238222

 “An American businessman took a vacation to a small coastal Mexican village on doctor’s orders. Unable to sleep after an urgent phone call from the office the first morning, he walked out to the pier to clear his head. A small boat with just one fisherman had docked, and inside the boat were several large yellowfin tuna. The American complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish.

“How long did it take you to catch them?” the American asked.

“Only a little while,” the Mexican replied in surprisingly good English.

“Why don’t you stay out longer and catch more fish?” the American then asked.

“I have enough to support my family and give a few to friends,” the Mexican said as he unloaded them into a basket.

“But … What do you do with the rest of your time?”

The Mexican looked up and smiled. “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take a siesta with my wife, Julia, and stroll into the village each evening, where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos. I have a full and busy life, señor.”

The American laughed and stood tall. “Sir, I’m a Harvard M.B.A. and can help you. You should spend more time fishing, and with the proceeds, buy a bigger boat. In no time, you could buy several boats with the increased haul. Eventually, you would have a fleet of fishing boats.”

He continued, “Instead of selling your catch to a middleman, you would sell directly to the consumers, eventually opening your own cannery. You would control the product, processing, and distribution. You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village, of course, and move to Mexico City, then to Los Angeles, and eventually New York City, where you could run your expanding enterprise with proper management.”

The Mexican fisherman asked, “But, señor, how long will all this take?”

To which the American replied, “15–20 years. 25 tops.”

“But what then, señor?”

The American laughed and said, “That’s the best part. When the time is right, you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich. You would make millions.”

“Millions, señor? Then what?”

“Then you would retire and move to a small coastal fishing village, where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take a siesta with your wife, and stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos …” Author Unknown

There are plenty of people willing to tell us how we should live our lives. Friends, family, culture. But what do you say?

Are you living the life God has designed you for? Do you have a clear plan and purpose?

“Commit your actions to the Lord, and your plans will succeed.” Proverbs 16:3

I imagine getting to the end of my life only to realize I lived someone else’s story, to be a devastating conclusion to it.

“The only thing worse than drifting without a plan is having your plans hijacked by someone else.” Michael Hyatt

Feel like there is more to your life than what you are experiencing today? Not sure where to start? Life coaching can help. Contact me to arrange an initial free 30 minute Discovery Call. Let’s talk.

Making The Most of The “Dog Days of Summer”

I love summer. I love the heat, the outdoor activities, and the BBQ’s. But I have to be honest, I didn’t really understand what the phrase “dog days of summer” meant. So after hearing someone use it recently I looked it up.

“The sultry part of the summer, supposed to occur during the period that Sirius, the Dog Star, rises at the same time as the sun: now often reckoned from July 3 to August 11. 2. A period marked by lethargy, inactivity, or indolence.”

dalmatian-1396110on-the-dock-001-1405478

It’s the last line that stands out to me. “A period marked by lethargy, inactivity and indolence (laziness).” Sounds like everyone just calls it a day, or should I say, calls it a month and gives up on being productive.

I came across some stats from the American Express Open Forum that support this summer phenomenon:

  • Productivity drops by 20%
  • Employee attendance drops by 19%
  • Projects take longer by 13%
  • Lunch hours increase by 2.6 times
  • Personal shopping during work hours increases by 200%
  • Searching for another job increases by 120%

Personal shopping increases 200%? Seriously?

These statistics have a lot of implications for us, in the workplace and in our homes. I suppose we can either accept that the summer is going to be a time of apathy or we can take steps to make the most of the season.

Here are a couple of suggestions to overcome the dog days of summer…

Go on vacation

Be intentional about taking breaks during the summer; whether it’s a week vacation or a long weekend, do it. You need it. Your employees need it, your family needs it. Have too much to do to take a break? Rest will actually increase your productivity. So even if you don’t want to rest, do it so you can accomplish more.

Darren Hardy says, that to increase your productivity, you need to rest. Of course, the value of rest and napping for productivity is everywhere today so that’s no surprise.

“Plan your play”.

Schedule activities that will help you rest, reset and revitalize. Being relatively new small business owners, we aren’t planning a 1-2 week vacation, but we are planning pool parties, long weekends and day trips that we know will refuel us and create special experiences and memories. Choose things that fit your schedule and your budget.

It doesn’t have to be elaborate or expensive to be meaningful.

Be Present

This can be difficult anytime of the year but especially helpful in the summer. If you are working…work. If you are playing…play. Just don’t try to do both at the same time. Be fully engaged at work and fully engaged at play. Here’s the thing…everyone around you will know if you are or not.

Your kids will see you on your laptop or smartphone when you should be watching them dive into the pool.

Your co-workers will see you taking extended breaks, on your computer or at the water cooler.

Your boss will get the project late and perhaps not your best effort.

The other day I went for a bike ride with my daughter Megan. When we left our house we headed toward the lake which is essentially downhill most of the way. The ride back is twice as hard because we’ve been riding for an hour and it’s uphill but gearing down makes it possible to navigate those uphill climbs.

I think for many of us, we vacation or play like that. We gear down, but we’re still riding…in this analogy, we’re still working. It may feel a little easier, but we’re still peddling. We’re not resting, we’re working. Many of us play like that.

Stop it. Be present. If you’re working…work. Show up on time and don’t leave early. Don’t cheat your boss. Work hard. Then when you’re playing…play. Don’t try to do both. Why? Because you can’t. You can’t rest and work at the same time…you may think you can multitask (another false assumption) but you can’t.  If you continue to do this, your work will sabotage your play and your play will sabotage your work.

In a previous post I talked about how this can happen; you can read more about it here.

I grew up watching the show, MASH. A medical unit during the Korean war (conflict) set in the 1950’s. Mostly it was a comedy but in this particular episode everyone was experiencing a measure of depression because it was Christmas and they were far from home, with no end to the war in sight. Even Father Mulcahy, the unit chaplain was discouraged, struggling to feel useful.

After listening to all the complaints from his senior staff, Col Potter, as he often did, shared his timely wisdom…

“If you ain’t where you are, you’re no place.”

If you’re suppose to be working, but you are taking extended breaks, surfing the net instead of calling the client, showing up late and leaving early? Stop. Work.

If you’re suppose to be playing, spending time with family and friends but your mind is preoccupied with business, or you’re attached to your smart phone and you’re ignoring everyone? Stop. Play.

The summer can be a great time of year. It’s my favorite time of year. But it can also be a time of laziness and unproductive activity. A simple strategy to overcome this is to intentionally do two things; work and play. And when you’re working…work. And when you’re playing…play.

Enjoy your summer and get the most out of it.

 

Do you feel stuck, professionally or personally? Are you looking to make some changes? Life coaching can help. Contact me to arrange an initial free 30 minute Discovery Call. Let’s talk.

The Power of Doing Nothing

The Hardest Task You Will Face Today

A number of years ago, I was sitting in my office looking out the window. A colleague knocked on the door and walked in and said, “Oh good you’re not busy…got time to talk?”

download

It’s hard to get away with doing nothing isn’t it?

Actually, while I appeared to be taking a break from “work” I was thinking about many things related to my work. In fact I would suggest that some of your best work is done when you are quiet and seemingly doing nothing.

But taking time to do nothing seems irresponsible doesn’t it.

When was the last time you just paused, took a deep breath and sat quietly and did nothing? That’s what I thought. I think it’s more difficult then ever to find the time and space to experience quiet.

Here are a few suggestions why…

  1. We value busyness over restfulness.
  2. We are never separated from our smartphones.
  3. We create “to do” lists that are longer than our grocery lists.
  4. We take on more believing our lives will be better for it.
  5. We fill our daily planners with everything except for quiet, unproductive, down time.

But what if doing nothing is in your best interest.

Many companies today–including Apple, Google, Nike, and AOL Time Warner–offer employees a variety of programs to help them find time to clear their minds, from meditation to yoga to stress reduction.

Why would some of the largest companies in the world invest in their employees personal well-being?

Doing Nothing Is Actually Doing Something

Okay, maybe you’re not convinced that doing nothing is actually in your best interest. Well, lets start with 6 reasons why you should reconsider…

Doing nothing…

1. Allows you to clear your brain and unwind. Constantly being “on” doesn’t give your brain a chance to rest and replenish itself. Being by yourself with no distractions gives you the chance to clear your mind, focus, and think more clearly. It’s an opportunity to revitalize your mind and body at the same time.

2. Helps to improve concentration and increase productivity. When you remove as many distractions and interruptions as you can from your day, you are better able to concentrate, which will help you get more work done in a shorter amount of time.

3. Gives you an opportunity to discover yourself and find your own voice. When you’re a part of a group, you’re more likely to go along with what the group is doing or thinking, which isn’t always the actions you would take or the decisions you would make if you were on your own. (This is also an argument against group work and brainstorming sessions but I’ll save that for another post)

4. Provides time for you to think deeply. Day to day responsibilities and commitments can make your to-do list seem as if it has no end. This constant motion prevents you from engaging in deep thought, which decreases creativity and productivity.

5. Helps you work through problems more effectively. It’s hard to think of effective solutions to problems when you’re distracted by incoming information, regardless of whether that information is electronic or human.

6. Can improve the quality of your relationships. By spending time with yourself and gaining a better understanding of who you are and what you desire in life, you’re more likely to make better choices about who you want to be around. You may also come to appreciate your relationships more after you’ve spent some time alone.

But as important as alone time and doing nothing can be, it is still a challenge to find ways to make it happen.

Here are some guidelines and ideas to get you started:

  • Schedule the time in your day. Make sure you are realistic in where the best place to schedule the time is. Don’t make it the first thing in the morning, requiring you to set the alarm earlier or the last thing in the day when you are too tired to really focus on doing nothing.
  • Start with 5-10 minutes. You’ll be surprised the difference it can make.
  • Get outside. Sit quietly by water or another peaceful setting. When I’m at our cafe, I often step out back to stand by the river and just listen. Feel the warmth of the sun
  • Silence all technology, completely disconnect. When was the last time you left your phone in another room, or left it at home on purpose?
  • Find a quiet and private place where you will not be disrupted, if this means in the bathroom with the shower running and the door locked, and then spend your 10 minutes there.
  • Sit by yourself.
  • Simply take notice of your thoughts. Where do they take you?
  • If you really struggle to truly meditate, just pretend, it totally takes the pressure off.
  • Just breathe
  • Listen to God. What is He saying?

So…the power of doing nothing…it may be undervalued in our culture but just 5 minutes a day can be the start to a better day.

Q. How about you? Do you take time on a regular basis to simply do nothing? Why or why not?

Are you looking to make some changes? Life coaching can help. Contact me to arrange an initial free 30 minute Discovery Call. Let’s talk.

Had a Bad Day? 8 Habits That Can Make a Difference Tomorrow

I would never consider myself a morning person; perhaps you don’t either. But I’ve come to learn that the most productive and successful days, almost always start with a good morning routine.

As a teenager my bedroom was next to the laundry room. Which meant listening to the spinner of the old Hoover machine on Monday and Thursday mornings. I could sleep through almost anything back then and I usually did. Getting up at the crack of noon wasn’t uncommon for me.

sleeping-1476274

But looking back I realize that I squandered a lot of time.

And now at age 50 I have a better appreciation for the value of time…

  • how quickly it goes by
  • how many things compete for it
  • how easy it still is to squander it

The other lesson I didn’t appreciate at the time, was that our days will be dramatically impacted go by how we begin them. So if you would like to accomplish more, be less stressed and enjoy a more productive day, here are 8 tips you can put int0 practice right away.

8 Things You Should Do Before You Leave the House Every Morning

Get enough sleep. A report suggests that 60% of Canadians feel tired most of the time. So actually having a good day starts the night before. If you want to sleep in, do it on the front end of sleep. Go to bed earlier and get up earlier.  You may have to forego the late show or dare I say, the third period of a hockey game. But you’re worth it aren’t you? 

Don’t push the snooze button. If you want to avoid a rushed morning, get up when your alarm goes off. Nodding off confuses your mind and body. (Are we getting up or not?) Have you ever noticed that you feel worse after every 9 minute extension in bed? Your morning alarm is not a false alarm!

Avoid checking emails. When you immediately go for your phone as soon as you wake up, you go into reactive mode and this is counter-productive to a meaningful start to your day. As soon as you look at work emails or even friends FaceBook posts, you’ve given up control of your morning routine and your day.

Drink water. We wake up dehydrated so at least 8oz of water is a good way to begin. Dehydration is often why we are tired throughout the day as well…keep drinking water. 2 litres a day is a good rule of thumb.

Get moving. Even 4-5 minutes of intense activity can give you lasting results.

Here’s the routine I followed this morning…I did each exercise for 30 seconds.

                           1) Bodyweight Squat
                           2) Rocking Plank
                           3) Reverse Lunge (alternating sides)
                           4) Cross-Body Mountain Climber
                           5) Jumping Jacks
                           6) Close-Grip Pushups (with feet elevated 4-6 inches) or Kneeling Pushups
                           7) Total Body Extension
                           8) Burpees or Bodyweight Squat

Simple right? If you have more time you can go through the routine 1-2 more times and I promise you it’s more effective than 30-40 minutes of running on a treadmill and you’ll burn calories all day too.

Consume 20-30 grams of protein. After a workout making a quick, healthy protein shake is a great way to give your body the nutrients it needs. Mix some frozen berries, yogurt, almond milk & protein powder in a Magic Bullett & you’ll be full for hours.

Make your bed. Yes. You know the chore your parents hounded you about as a child? Well, performing this seemingly mundane task has its advantages. US Navy Admiral, William H McRaven, highlights the benefits of making your bed.  “By making your bed, you’ve already accomplished something.”… “If you can’t do small things right, you won’t do big things right.”

Find solitude. I wonder if this is becoming a lost discipline, but quiet time is crucial to a good start to the day. As a Christian I look forward to reading the Bible and prayer. But I also value sitting quietly, listening to God and listening to what’s going on inside of me. If you begin the day rushed, you’ll have a rushed day. Quiet solitude can be the start you need to a day full of demands. 

Your first hour of the day can have a dramatic impact on the next eight

So there you are. 8 things that you can do tomorrow morning, before you leave the house, that can have a dramatic impact on the rest of your day.  And all of these can be completed in less than an hour.

Q. Which of the 8 habits are you already doing?

Q. Which habit will you implement right away? Tomorrow?

Q. What hurdles stand in the way of your success? 

Are you looking to make some changes? Life coaching can help. Contact me to arrange an initial free 30 minute Discovery Call. Let’s talk.

A Life Lesson From a Masters Champion

I love the game of golf. That doesn’t mean I’m that good at playing, but I love it nonetheless. I love golf so much, I watch it too, and last weekend was my favorite tournament of the year…the Masters…the first of the the four major tournaments on the PGA.

north-carolina-golf-community-1398280

Every year this tournament has it’s own unique drama and storylines and this year was no exception. Two dominated the weekend, especially Sunday.  The first was watching last year’s champion, Jordan Spieth try to defend his title. And until the back 9 on Sunday, most thought he would.

The second story emerged as the final round unfolded. Danny Willett a relatively unknown golfer in North America (though ranked #12 in the world) went from obscurity to world-wide fame in a matter of hours as he overtook Spieth on the back nine to claim the victory. Along with the 1.8 million first prize winnings.

Aside from the great golf and drama of the day, we can take away something else that may be of greater importance. We can learn a valuable life lesson from Danny Willett and it’s this…

“Living out our values brings meaning to life’s greatest experiences.

Newborn son to Masters champion: Danny Willett on 12 days that changed his life

Danny Willett hailed a “ridiculously awesome” 12 days in his life after claiming his first major title with a dramatic victory in the 80th Masters.

Willett’s wife Nicole had been due to give birth to the couple’s first child on Sunday, but Zachariah James Willett arrived on March 29 to allow his father to play in the year’s first major.

The uncertainty meant the 28-year-old was the 89th and last player to register after only arriving at Augusta National on Monday, but took advantage of a dramatic collapse from defending champion Jordan Spieth who then had to present Willett with the famous green jacket.

“It’s just crazy, just surreal,” Willett said after a flawless closing 67 gave him a three shot victory over Spieth and playing partner Lee Westwood. 

“Words can’t really describe the feelings and emotions. I’ve won a couple of golf tournaments around the world, but this is just a different league. It’s a major. It’s the Masters. I’m not quite sure which is better, this day or [the birth of my son] last Tuesday. I always said that I wouldn’t come here if he wasn’t born by now, which stuck. Fortunately enough, he listened to my prayers and he came early.”

“It’s just been the most ridiculously awesome 12 days I guess. Words can’t describe what I’m feeling right now, but words definitely can’t describe how I was feeling last Tuesday when you get to hold something that me and my wife have made. It’s just been incredibly surreal.”

I think Mr. Willett won over a lot of new fans last weekend; not only because of his great play, but because of the personal choices he made.

Did you catch that part of his story? His son was due to be born on April 10, the final day of the Masters tournament. He had decided that if he wasn’t born before the tournament began, he would not enter. As it was, he was the last entry into the Masters because he waited until the last moment before doing so.

If his son had been born prior to the Masters, he would not have played. That meant…

  • He would not have had the experience of playing in one of, if not the premiere golf tournament in the world
  • He would not have won his first major championship
  • He would not have taken home the 1.8 million dollar prize money
  • He would not now be a member of the PGA
  • We would still not know who Danny Willett was; he would still be an unknown golfer from England.

It’s a great story now, but would you be willing to give up the potential of all of that? On the unknown birth date of your first born?

Imagine if Danny Willett came to the USA, played the tournament and won. And imagine if his son was born on his due date…the day he won the Masters, instead of two weeks earlier.

Do you think he would feel the same about the victory? I don’t think so. And I don’t think most of us would think as highly of him as we do now if things played out that way. Why?

Here’s my point. His victory at the Masters meant a great deal to him because he lived by his values.

“Living out our values brings meaning to life’s greatest experiences.”

The opposite is true as well. When we make decisions that violate our values, even the good things in our lives, lose their meaning.

I love the Masters golf tournament. But this year I appreciated it as much for what we saw and were reminded of, off the course as what we saw on it.  Thank you Mr. Willett for living by your values…for honouring your wife and new born child and showing the world what it means to live them out in the right priority.

Some of my own takeaways…

  • Family first. This is actually second on our stated 5 family values in our home.
  • Danny Willett would be just as blessed if he hadn’t played the Masters.
  • Living out our values brings meaning to our life experiences.
  • Living for money and meaning is impossible. Money – meaning = poverty.
  • Choosing to live by our values gives us clarity when making decisions.
  • You can’t replace relationships with money

What do you think?

Are you clear on the values that guide you? I wrote more about this here. Do you consistently live them out? Or do you violate them when put to the test?

Try this:

Out of the following list of (90+) values, circle your top 10-12. Then consider how closely your life lines up with them.

Accomplishment, Affirmation               Determination       Genuineness        Marriage            Respect for life          Success

Diligence                 Good taste            Mentoring          Respect for people   Temperance

Ambition                              Efficiency                Growth                 Nurturing            Risk taking                Tolerance

Authenticity                        Elegance                  Hard work           Obedience            Security                     Tranquility

Beauty                                  Encouragement     Honesty                Orderliness         Self-esteem                Trust

Enlightenment       Humility               Patience               Self-expression         Truth

Career                                  Excellence               Humour                Peace                    Sensitivity                  Winning

Caution                               Excitement              Impact others      Perfection            Servanthood              Worship

Collaboration                    Experiencing           Independence      Performance       Service

Communicating                                                   Influence              Persistence           Sexual fulfillment

Community                       Faithfulness             Inspiring others  Personal power    Silence

Compassion                      Family                       Integrity                Physical vitality   Sincerity

Competence                      Forgiveness              Joy                         Productivity          Solitude

Competition                     Forward thinking    Love                        Purity                    Spiritual growth

Consistency                      Freedom                    Love of Learning Quality                  Stability

Frugality                     Loyalty                   Recognition

Creativity                          Fun                              Making money     Relaxation                       

“Life balance, satisfaction and meaning begin with figuring out what you value most in life and then ordering your life around it.” Chris McCluskey

Are you unsure how to align your values with the life you’re living? Looking to make some changes? Life coaching can help. Contact me to arrange an initial free 30 minute Discovery Call. Let’s talk.

When Your Work Stops Working For You

Have you ever been in a place where you are enjoying success in your career, but you’re miserable? Or perhaps you feel like you’re stuck in your current work with no options. Maybe you just made a lot of changes to get to where you are, and to make another move so soon seems unwise or maybe impossible. Or maybe the success you’re enjoying has helped create a particular lifestyle for you and your family, that could be in jeopardy if you were to make a change now. And you feel stuck.

tunnel-1200211

I’ve been there too, I really have. It can be a dark place, when you feel trapped with no apparent way out.

Today, I’d like to introduce you to a friend of mine, her name in Misty. I recently visited with Misty and she shared her story with me and now I’d like to share it with you.

Misty, grew up in Dundas Ontario. She was married and enjoyed being a stay-at-home mom with her daughter. Circumstances changed and eventually Misty went from stay-at-home mom, to being a single-mom, and being the sole provider.

Misty embarked on a job in the retail industry and enjoyed a lot of success. With her engaging, outgoing personality and strong work ethic it wasn’t long before she went from sales clerk to store manager to acting, regional director, responsible for an entire district.

This is alone is a great story. But there’s more I’d like Misty to share with you.

Me: Hi Misty, thanks so much for sharing your story with us today.

Misty: I’m glad to do it, thank you.

Me: Okay, let’s jump right in. Only a few years go, you went from being a stay at home mom to a career in retail. And things were going well for you there, correct?

Misty: Yes, I did enjoy the job and I did quite well. I moved up in the company and along with promotions came more responsibility and income.

Me: That’s awesome. What did you enjoy most about the job.

Misty: The people I got to work with, my immediate Team and my Corporate Team were some of the best people I have ever got to work with. I also love the competitive side of sales, it’s like adrenaline once you start seeing results you have to keep striving for even more. 

Me: So you liked the challenge increasing sales and seeing the store surpass it’s targets and goals. Well, you certainly made a huge impact on the store and the company as evidenced by the feedback and promotions you received.

Misty: Yes, it was rewarding to see the store and the staff excel and to have Corporate recognize the effort, of the entire team. 

Me: In recent months, things took a turn. Can you tell us more about that?

Misty: With a great team, sales were the easy part.  But the increased sales and greater responsibility, lead to greater demands on my time and energy. The amount of operational tasks involved in running a business, I always ended up staying late or going in early and so my home life suffered. My time at home with my daughter was reduced and when I was there, I was often stressed and not really present. Small things could set me off and I started to realize that while I was “successful” in my work, other parts of my life were beginning to suffer. My personal relationships suffered and my social life became almost non-existent. Work was beginning to take over my life, even when I wasn’t at work. All of that along with a daily commute to the GTA made for long days and made being a good partner and mom difficult because I was exhausted. I was becoming the kind of person I didn’t want to be and that was very difficult to see in myself. 

Me: I think a lot or people can relate to what you just said. So you began to make some changes?

Misty: I decided that I had to make a job change but of course there’s the obvious financial concern when leaving a job. It was a concern for sure so before I left I had to come up with a plan on how I was going to replace at least part of my Income. It takes some planning for sure.  I reviewed my personal budget and expenses, trimmed things where I could and put a new budget together based on some of the things I was exploring.   

Me: Can you say more about that?

Misty: Well, I love retail and the selling process with potential customers so I contacted a friend who was able to create a job for me that was closer to home with flexible hours that fit my life better. But I also decided to launch my own business from home. It in the early stages but I am excited about the potential it brings and the flexibility it provides already. Something I was not able to enjoy working in a retail/ corporate environment.  

Me: That’s awesome Misty. I love to see people take action and make the changes that are more in line with their values and the life they want. Did you always consider yourself to be an entrepreneur?

Misty: No, not until I started thinking about my job in retail management. Even though I worked for a corporate company I was successful because I thought like a business owner.

Me: That’s a great point. The skills that made you successful in retail management, you are bringing into your new endeavours including the business you are launching. What has been most challenging in starting your own business?

Misty: Just getting going and growing my team, I have to be patient and honest with people. I have goals to get people to sign up as distributors also and that’s been challenging because most people don’t really know where to start when making life changes or they’re nervous about making changes themselves.

Me: So being consistent, honest and setting goals have helped you get your business going. Great. What advice would you give someone who is considering a career change or possibly starting their own business?

Misty: Just be patient and confident. You have to get over what other people may think about what you are doing. You have to think outside the box to do well, so consider how you plan on being successful. Consider how you are going to balance your new job and new business with time for yourself and plan it out so that you don’t loose sight of that. 

Me: What have you learned about yourself in this process?

Misty: I didn’t think that I would be able run my own business. Of course you are nervous at first…excited but nervous so I guess I’ve learned some confidence. I think also I’ve learned that so many people are looking for opportunities to change their life. But you have to be patient. Most people are nervous and scared so I’ve learned to be patient too. In any business, if you love your product, love people and believe you can help them by bringing them together, you can have the confidence to keep going. 

Me: You’ve obviously made some significant decisions and changes in your life over the past few months. Did you do this on your own or did you have others alongside you?

Misty: I had a a close friend who was there with me but my boyfriend Brent has been an incredible support. He’s taught me tons about business and retail. 

Thank you so much for giving a glimpse into your life and for sharing your story. I’m sure it will inspire and encourage others. I wish you great success in all you do moving forward Misty.

If you would like to connect with Misty to learn more about the positive changes she has made in her life or learn more about her business, you can reach her by phone @ 905818 3052 or on her website mistyrose.myitworks.com

I appreciate Misty’s story and that she would share it with us. In part because she’s a friend and I’ve seen it unfold personally, but because I’m convinced her story reflects the story of so many others…maybe yours too.

Let me just mention a few takeaways.

  • If your work isn’t working for you anymore, you may have more options than you think. 
  • If your work isn’t working for you anymore, don’t just quit. Get input from trusted people. Surround yourself with people who have your best interests at heart. 
  • If your working isn’t working anymore, put a plan together and take action. Take the first step. 
  • If success in your work is having a negative impact on your family, friendships and health, it may be time for a change.
  • What has given you success in one job or career could serve you well in another entirely different job or business. Your strengths (personality, skills etc) are transferable. Think outside the box. I wrote more about this here.

Do you have questions about your work? Looking to make a career or job change? Life coaching can help. Contact me to arrange an initial free 30 minute Discovery Call. Let’s talk.

 

In Honour of World Health Day: 3 Simple Steps To Improve Yours

Today, (April 7, 2016) is World Health Day, and this years focus is the prevention and treatment of diabetes. A health issue personal to me because complications from diabetes ultimately took my dad’s life at age 54.

Many people fail to make the changes they want to make in their health (for example many New Year’s resolutions to get fit, get sidelined within a few weeks) in part because they try to do too much too fast, they get overwhelmed, they feel defeated and quit.

Does that sound familiar?

pink-fitness-center-1238716

Well in honour of my dad and everyone who has felt the impact of diabetes I’d like to suggest 3 simple steps that you can take to improve your health.

Step #1 Commit to 4 Minutes a Day

Research suggests that 4 minutes of interval training will give you much greater results than 30 minutes of long, boring cardio.

Try This 4-Minute Circuit

Here’s a sample bodyweight workout you can do in just 4 minutes! (There are literally hundreds you can choose from).

1) Jumping Jacks
2) Push-ups or Kneeling push-ups
3) Burpees
4) Run-in-Place

Do each exercise for 50 seconds then rest for 10 seconds.
If you have extra time and want to do 2 or 3 rounds, take an extra minute of rest between circuits.

5 Additional Benefits of 4-Minute Routines

  1. You don’t need equipment. Bodyweight routines can get you the shape and health you want.
  2. Short, interval training is safer than long cardio routines. If you love spinning classes or P90X workouts…fine. But you’re more likely to sustain injuries that can cause setbacks to your health and fitness goals.
  3. You will save time. Workout at home and avoid the drive to the gym. Use the time for other priorities.
  4. You will save money. With minimal equipment and no need for the gym, you can put that monthly membership fee to better use.
  5. You will avoid the boredom of long, boring cardio. Maybe it’s just me but I’m not sure there’s anything more monotonous than running on a treadmill for 30 minutes or longer. (not to mention its ineffectiveness)

Step #2 Exercise First Thing In The Morning

“It doesn’t matter when you exercise, all that matters is that you are consistent. But when you exercise first thing in the morning, that means you will be more consistent. And being consistent is one of the most important things in your fat loss program.”– Craig Ballantyne

So if you are struggling to be consistent, get up a little earlier and do your workout before life gets in the way and stops you from pursuing the health you want.

Step #3 Start With 3 Days A Week

Maybe you haven’t worked out for a while…maybe it’s been years. If so, don’t try to exercise every day of the week. Sure even on your off-days you should try to get some activity in, but you will set yourself up for failure by trying to do too much too fast. Remember your last New Years resolution?

Start with 3 days a week. Maybe Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings work best for you. Maybe Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday are better. Whatever they are, just commit to them.

It’s World Health Day. What better day to decide to make your own health a priority again. But to ensure that this time is going to be better than last time, implement these 3 easy steps.

Commit to 4 Minutes

Exercise first thing in the morning

Start with 3 days a week

Happy World Health Day!

Q. Which of these steps would make the biggest difference for you?

Q. Will you implement one or all of these steps, starting tomorrow?

I’d love to hear from you, so please leave a comment below