Big dreams, many moving parts, limited time, limited resources (whether financial or human) …these are the hallmarks of the busy business professional in today’s culture– no matter how far up the hierarchy we go, we’re all given the same number of hours in a day and a lifespan that has an end date.
How we choose to use that time has everything to do with the level of satisfaction we experience. Success can be described in many different ways, but when we look back at our lives, most people would agree that the number of hours we worked would not be best measure of a meaningful life.
So, how do you create a measure of balance with so many competing forces? Easier said than done, but possible if you change your expectations.
I once had a client who was a young attorney striving to be partner in a high-profile, competitive law practice. She was also pregnant and exhausted. She was angry at herself for not being able to “keep up.” She thought that other women were much better at pulling it off – and why wasn’t she? Unfortunately, I have heard this far too many times in my long career.
As I said, there’s no easy answer, but our expectations are intimately related to how accomplished or frustrated we feel.
Imagine a yardstick. At zero is your current reality. That means all the things that are currently true for you. It could be those simple facts of hour many hours there are in a day, or the age of your body, or how many familial responsibilities you have, or your financial situation, etc. At the other end of your yardstick are the expectations you have of yourself, which may or may not be realistic. If there is a gap, and you’re frustrated and disappointed, I guarantee that your expectations need examining.
To go back to the example of my young lawyer. She was trying to will her body and her mind to fit into an expectation that was unattainable. Yet, to give up this dream, would have collided with her belief system that she “should” have been able to manage it all.
For her to achieve a level of peace of mind, something had to shift.
How many times have you found yourself if a similar situation? There may be truths that you don’t want to face because you don’t like the consequences. But the longer you stay in illusion, the unhappier you will be.
So, here are 6 tips to help you bring your inner and outer selves more into alignment. You can make this exercise as simple or complex as you choose. But once you get into the habit of viewing uncomfortable situations in this way, your life can take
some unexpectedly, amazing turns.
1. Do a survey of your current reality. You could do it in terms of the different aspects of your life; for example, work, relationships, family, health, spiritual.
2. Imagine that yardstick. At zero is your current situation. And at the end of the yardstick is your expectation. For example: My current reality might be I’m exhausted all the time. It’s hard for me to focus on all the tasks I have to do in a day. My expectation is that I should be able to manage it all.
3. Be brutally honest with yourself. Our minds have a great way of tricking us. Blind spots are real. Yet, as you get more and more committed to living a life of truth, it gets easier to face and ultimately, more satisfying.
4. Give yourself permission to come to terms with “what’s true.” This is frequently the hardest part, because it might require some very big changes. But it’s also the only part where you have any real control of your life.
5. Make it a practice. Every time you’re unhappy with a situation, take a moment and imagine that yardstick. Ask yourself, where am I in terms of my reality and my expectation?
6. Identify your options to solve the problem from the vantage point of “the truth.” For example; if you’re unhappy with being stressed and exhausted, you must first acknowledge that it’s a problem. Then you have the choice to examine the variables
that are contributing to it…and then you have the option to find solutions.
It’s always easier to see and want to change behavior in others. Self-examination is more challenging. Making those blind spots visible is the work of transformation and difficult to do on your own.
However, the quicker you can identify your truths and their opposing unrealistic expectations, the happier and more productive your life will become.
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- Posted by Tina
- On 2nd April 2018
- 0 Comments