Something happened last week that I’m not proud of. Maybe I’m overreacting. I just like things done a certain way, set high expectations for myself, and am, undoubtedly, my worst critic. I’m a perfectionist. I thought that was a good thing. Now, I’m not so sure. [Read more…] about What Happens When You Rush…
In this chaotic world we live in, we sometimes neglect ourselves. We can be busy working on our goals, creative or otherwise, putting in long days in the pursuit of our dreams. We’re lost in the noise around us, the people and things clamouring for our attention. But sometimes we need to take a moment for ourselves, to pause and reflect.
Find a Moment
It’s no secret… In the early morning hours, while most people are in bed, I’m up writing. The quietude gives me the perfect opportunity to pause and reflect. Am I doing what I love? Am I where I want to be? What can I be doing differently? These are some of the questions I ask myself, that I come back to over and over again.
At this time of year especially (you’ve made it through the Christmas rush!), it’s easy to lose sight of our goals and everything else that’s important to us. Plowing through each day, we don’t always see the opportunities before us, unsure of the direction we should steer ourselves in.
Can you find a moment in your day to pause and reflect?
Life is Speaking to You
Every day, every moment, life is speaking to you. At some point today, take five minutes to pause and reflect — and hear life speaking to you. You may be surprised by what you learn.
Do you take time to pause and reflect? What is one thing you’ve learned about yourself or about your journey? Click Reply or leave a comment in the section below. I’d love to hear from you.
Why the rush?
Some days I can’t help but rush, even though I know I need to go slow. It usually means that I’m trying to keep the momentum of a productive day going. But rushing doesn’t get me anywhere. It does the opposite. It trips me up, leaves me spinning. And then I’m always asking the question: why the rush?
As many of you know, I’m an early bird. On November 1, I’d been up since 4:15 am, and enjoyed a productive morning of writing and running before heading to the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre to visit a friend. On the way home from the hospital, I decided to pick up fresh burgers for dinner from the Healthy Butcher on Queen Street West. They also carry homemade buns, so I wanted a couple of them, too.
I was rushing. I wanted to be home to keep the momentum going on my writing. As I picked up a bun with the tongs, trying to shove it in the bag that wouldn’t stay open, it dropped to the floor. I looked around the store, hoping no one was watching, and scrambled to pick it up with the tongs. I couldn’t do it. Each time I almost had it in the bag it fell again. Inside my head, there was an explosion of expletives. I finally got it into the bag, then went for another one. Still rushing. And, Shazam! The second bun hit the floor, too. Three attempts later, it, too, was in the bag. I drew in a deep breath, headed for the counter to pay for my purchases and then, cursing under my breath, headed home.
Why? Why the Rush?
I needed to slow down. I needed to enjoy the moment.
Chasing down a big dream or goal, I get excited when I feel the end’s in sight. But there’s something to be said for slowing down and enjoying the process. It grounds me, let’s me see what’s working and what may need to be tweaked. Better than that, slowing down reveals what me and my project can become.
Life isn’t a race. It’s a journey. Take time to enjoy it!
Do you sometimes feel like you’re rushing? Can you recognize it and slow down? Click Reply or leave a comment in the section below. I’d love to hear from you.
I’ve learned to take nothing for granted. Each day brings new lessons, new insights … if we are open to life speaking to us. We are vulnerable, delicate and easily bruise. Among the billions of other humans inhabiting the planet, we’re hoping to make a mark, stand out from the crowd, leave a legacy to the generations that follow. And we meet people who change our lives.
This past Halloween, I spent the afternoon at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre visiting a friend. My friend is strong. She’s fighting hard to live, to get back to the people and things she loves. She’s not naïve, though. She admits that, right now, she’s not in a good state. Her breathing is laboured, and just repositioning herself in the bed leaves her winded.
I see the pain etched in her face, hear it in her voice. She’s in a fight for her life.
Serve a Greater Good
The visit with my friend reminded me of an expression I heard a long time ago. It went something like this: People come in and out of your life, to serve a greater good.
My friend only recently came into my life (in the last two years). And, no doubt, to serve a greater good.
Seeking to live a healthier lifestyle (in January 2018, I gave up alcohol, started paying closer attention to what I eat, and began exercising more), she shared her story. How she lost 80 lbs. Her breast cancer diagnosis. Through my ‘difficult’ period of change, she’s been an inspiration. Her knowledge, life experience and encouragement helped me get to, and stay, where I am.
At the end of the visit, I sat down on the edge of the bed and hugged her. I said, “Thank you. For being who you are, for inspiring me to do better and be better every day.”
Yes, there are people who change our lives.
Now my friend knows: she changed my life.
Is there someone in your life who’s had a major impact on your journey? Who are they? And have you told them lately what they mean to you? Click Reply or leave a comment in the section below. I’d love to hear from you.
Do you know what you want out of life?
If the answer is yes, do you know what you need to do to achieve it?
I know I want to be a writer. Wait a minute … I am a writer. I want to be a successful writer, the kind who makes a living from it. Maybe that means trying to become a New York Times or Globe and Mail bestselling author. Maybe that means going on a book tour. Maybe that means giving up my day job so I can throw all my energy into realizing my dream.
Maybe it means none of that.
Because I’m in crisis. I’ve been in crisis mode since the beginning of the year. I’m stuck in a ‘funk’ that, despite what I thought, I haven’t been able to pull myself out of completely. I keep asking myself: “What am I doing?” and “What’s wrong?” and “What is it that doesn’t feel right?”
Earlier this week I was in London, a city that has been like my home away from home since January. During my stay, I made a stop a Daunt Books on Marylebone High Street. While I was there, I picked up a book that had been recently recommended to me: Ray Dalio’s Principles. Afterwards, I stopped for a latte and scone at a café a few blocks away. It was a beautiful day, about 29°C, and the sun was shining. People were milling about the streets, weaving in and out of the shops. As I sipped my latte, I couldn’t shake the feeling that something was off.
I had a little time before meeting friends for dinner so, soaking up the bright afternoon sun, I opened the book and started reading. By the third page of the “Introduction,” my heart was in my throat. Reading Dalio’s first principle, I finally understood what was wrong … why I haven’t been able to lift myself out of that funk. Dalio’s first principle is this: “Think for yourself to decide 1) what you want, 2) what is true, and 3) what you should do to achieve #1 in light of #2 … and do that with humility and open-mindedness so that you can consider the best thinking available to you.” 1
Like I mentioned above, I know what I want: to be a successful writer. But what I need to do is have a frank conversation with myself — acknowledging my weaknesses and my strengths — about what that success looks like. Or maybe the better question for me to ask is what level of success am I looking for and can I live with it?
What is true… I know why I write (to make an impact in the world, no matter how small) and that writing is the only thing in life that gives me purpose and a sense of fulfillment. It is a way for me to be of service.
Where I struggle is in what I should be doing to achieve what I want in light of what is, for me, true. That is why this year has felt like I’m just spinning and going nowhere fast. When I’m honest with myself, I’m still letting fear — of failure and what others may think of me — hold me back. To achieve what I want, I need to do things in ways that I believe are best for me and not worry about what other people think. No doubt, that’s easier said than done.
2018 started out with some big changes in my life. I stopped drinking. I started paying closer attention to what I was eating, aiming to reduce my sugar and sodium intake. While I’ve been running for ten years, I’ve been pushing myself to run longer distances and started working out. These were the changes I implemented to primarily increase my energy level and improve the quality of my sleep. And the best part of all was that I also managed to drop close to twenty pounds. It wasn’t easy, but the results have made it all worthwhile.
Now, to achieve what I want to do I know I need to make other changes. I have my “5 Rules to Live By” to guide me through this transition period, but I know they’re not enough on their own. They’re a starting point. What exactly do I need to change? Honestly, I’m not sure. But I’m going to take some time to dig deep and think about the principles that will help me to get out of life exactly what I want. One thing is certain: I’m terrified. I don’t know where it’s all going to lead, how uncomfortable it’s going to get, or if I’ll even succeed.
But to succeed, I must change my habits and stay focused on what’s really important to me. As my journey moves forward, I expect to make mistakes along the way. At this point in my life, I have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
I’ve been standing on the edge too long. It’s time to step off the edge and look fear in the face.
Are you doing what you should to achieve what you want? Do you have any principles that help you navigate through life? Let me know in the comments section below.