1. Life is actually pretty easy
Yep. I know you may not agree. You may look around and think you’re struggling, working yourself out and hardly have any time left to enjoy this so called easy life. Maybe the person you love let you down and told you you’re not their number one priority and it crashed you to bits. Maybe you just lost your job and are worried how you will ever find another one. Maybe you look in a mirror and think how can anyone really ever like me. Or maybe you have a million other excuses and counterarguments to offer against the above statement. The truth is. Life is actually pretty easy on the whole. Most of us have people that love us way more than we give them credit for. People that will give us shelter, food, encouragement and friendship. In the rat race for some higher standard of life, maybe the chance to shop in fancier stores, drive a better car, own a larger house, we forgot that what really matters is real human connection. The idea that at the end of a busy day, we all want to have someone to come home to. Someone to greet us with a warm, generous smile, give us a hug, make supper with us and make us feel like a millionaire. So it is us, most often than not, who complicate life and make it hard.
2. Success takes smart work and balance
Many people work super long hours mistakenly thinking the longer they work the more success they will have. Data tells us this is simply not true. Not all work is the same. Focused, productive work gets us somewhere. The rest…well that’s just wasting valuable time. This is especially true of people working for themselves. Unlike a regular job which traps people into specific working hours and on-time train journeys, running your own business gives you freedom to be productive and not be a slave to a clock. When I work with someone 1:1 we have one rule: 1 key activity that takes you towards your success per day well thought out and masterfully executed. If there’s a lack of skill or knowledge we work on that. It’s making time count for you, not against you. That’s it! Then rest, enjoy life, trust that life will take care of you as well. Doing more is actually counterproductive! It keeps you away from the very things that matter: other people and enjoying the present moment. It keeps you in a box of your own ego. Stuck and pretty unhappy to come back to an empty house with no one to love you. So work smart and then give your life a chance to grow and delight you.
3. Relationships are the most valuable thing you have
Businesses come and go, as do jobs and wordily possessions but you can never bring back the intimate moments of having quality time with your loved ones. I don’t mean the breakfast mornings where you’re checking your iPhone or the times when you worry whether you’re having as good a time as you possibly can be or the mile long strings of texts we exchange with our friends and loved ones. These actions are a great way of cheating yourself out of life. When you spend time with someone, be there fully. Focus on that person and take in all their wonderful qualities. Their strength, character, personality and love for you. Honour it. And reciprocate it. Include them in your world and connect for real. It may last 5minutes or an entire afternoon. If you’re there in body, choose to be there in your mind as well. They deserve that of you.
Nothing kills time together like people wiping out iPADs and computers and multitasking you. Would you do that to a visitor you had? Of course not. Why would you ever do that to your loved ones. Make time for them and make time for your work. And if you can’t balance the two, then you have work to do. Learn how. And do it fast before they decide you never will.
4. Nothing ruins trust like misalignment between action and words
Whatever you say – be consistent. We have all been there. People telling us they had a good time only to slate it later saying they didn’t enjoy it. People telling us they love us, and yet watch us suffer and cry or worst yet never ask how we’re really feeling and how they can help. People making promises and letting us down. Misalignment comes about when we lack clear priorities in life. In relationships with others, it will undermine trust and safety. If you’re not sure of how you feel – take time out. Don’t punish the other person with what ultimately is your own work. It’s not fair to both of you. And it can cause unnecessary harm. Be honest. Be willing to work. Be willing to ask and offer help. i recently overheard a conversation between two women complaining about each other’s partners. I did wonder whether they were really making the most of their time together mutually venting. Surely the best person to talk to about what they were each feeling would be the person in question. As it was they were causing damage on all fronts. Disrespecting their partners, disrespecting each other and disrespecting themselves. Sad to hear it but I bet you we have all been there. We’ve all done it. I know the lesson I walked away with from that event was to aim to not do that again.
5. Trust but take appropriate action and learn
Too many people put way too much faith in things just working out. I’m all for positive psychology but it does mean that we each need to take some responsibility. I’m sorry is cheap. It may feel hard to say but in the end it’s rather empty. If you’re going to say you’re sorry be prepared to own what you’re sorry for and take responsibility. I’m sorry it didn’t work out says nothing. Did you want it to work out? Or did you sit there watching a slow car crash resigning yourself to some easy out excuse like “it wasn’t meant to work out”, ” it’s way too hard”, “life just doesn’t get me”. Life gives us many lessons but the key lesson in everything is to recognise where we have to take responsibility and own up. Decisions in life are actually pretty easy. If we don’t want something we have two choices: 1. let it go because we are 100% sure it was wrong and 2. do work because what’s needed is action. Sometimes we can do work in the moment and sometimes we have to do work alone. It doesn’t matter. What’s key is that we don’t take easy ways out all the time and blame others for lack of trust in ourselves. Learning is the key to everything. Learning about yourself and others gives you trust and confidence to face anything, it helps you be the wonderful partner you expect to have one day. First thought, you need to be one yourself. If nothing else, this little change will leave you with faith that having done all you could, being honest and real with others and life, you are living on course and life is in fact easy. Then you can just accept what is and trust that life gives you what you need most in any moment.
Get Productive includes over thirty exercises you can do yourself to help you figure out what you want, to identify where your mind may have fooled you, to help you fix important relationships and to restore balance into your life and deep harmony.
A friend of mine, did one of the exercises entitled Work, Play, Relationship Juice and proudly told me her whole life was about work. I listened patiently and with love and understanding and wondered what kind of life would this give her over the next twenty, thirty years and her partner. And I grew very sad inside for I truly love and care about this person. Listening to people’s regrets on their death bed, captured by Bronnie Ware, an Australian nurse I wondered about my friend. Bronnie’s research said the top five regrets were:
- not having the courage to to stand up to other people’s expectations and live the life you wanted
- not choosing to work less
- not having the courage to say how you truly feel
- not making relationships a priority
- not allowing/choosing to be happier at every moment instead of saving it up for one day
I’d add another one. Letting the person that truly loves you walk away which is a likely results of doing the above.
If you or someone you love, is living a life that is on course for regrets, it is your job to speak up. It may not be easy to do and they may not like hearing it. You may risk upsetting the person. Maybe give them a link to Bonnie’s work as a starting point. The true magic in life, is for each of us to recognise our own learning needs. Sometimes it’s a bitter pill to swallow but the good news is that it’s never too late. We all get into poor habits and we all have an amazing power to conquer them when we love ourselves enough to believe we are worth it. I know in my personal life, I can do better with my own work/life balance and so that’s what I’m focusing on now.