Life’s true tragedy is that, when someone dies, the misfortune is not only the death itself but also the untapped potential and unrealized dreams that die with them. This “compounded loss” happens more often than not. Far too many of us spend 100% of our time on only 10% of who we are today, and can be tomorrow.
“According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, many of us work eight hours per day, commute for at least one hour per day, spend at least two hours eating, watch TV for five hours each day and spend nearly two hours a day using a computer for leisure activity, such as online games, research or social media,” Riley notes. “That’s nearly 18 hours, which doesn’t even include the multiple hours needed for our evening slumber. Clearly, we spend more time on what we aren’tthan we do on who and what we are…and want to be.”
For high achievers in particular, there isn’t a problem understanding HOW to get things done but rather there are challenges balancing it all. So many successful people spend the majority of their time on one area of their life where they excel, but perpetually feel unfulfilled.
With this in mind, Riley offers these 9 methods to help high achievers tap into the other 90% of “who they are,” beyond “what they do,” and realize greater life balance, joy and fulfillment in kind:
Method 1: Healthy Living is about More Than Diet!
There is more to life than the race to achieve more money or a fancy job title. And, there is more to living healthfully than what food you ingest or what physical exercises you do.
Other lifestyle decisions, such as those related to marriage, parenting, and friendships, all factor into one’s healthy sense of self.
Healthy living requires being true to yourself and being truly “present” when you’re with loved ones. Healthy living is also a frame of mind.
If your thoughts are self-destructive, this negativity will manifest itself in your body through stress, anxiety and other adverse physical conditions, and can undermine your personal and professional relationships with others.
Method 2: Peace and a Positive Mind – Your Defender in the Face of Distractions
Cultivating and maintaining a peaceful life must be a goal of paramount importance. Distractions and life’s distresses both small and large will pull you away from this goal each and every time you allow it.
Your thoughts are the training ground and spring board for your overall disposition and perspective on life. Many accomplished people never pause to revel in or acknowledge their success. They are constantly striving for what’s next.
While not entirely a bad thing, when your desire to achieve becomes bigger than your desire to BE, your existence will be likened to a hamster running in an endless circle, never at peace and never at a point of rest.
Method 3: The Importance of Having a Giving Heart and Spirit
Most know that giving back to society and those in need is one of the most meaningful activities we can engage in. In fact, many very successful people believe that giving is directly tied to their continued success.
Having a giving heart and spirit not only creates more opportunities for you to provide for others, but doing so allows more opportunities for your continued success to manifest in your life, and others: what impacts one impacts us all.
Achievement and accomplishments come from the work of our hands and minds, but true success and fulfillment comes from giving of the heart.
Not just donating your time through charitable work or financial donations, but also allocating precious time to family and friends. Being present and accessible to loved ones is the ultimate gift for others…and yourself.
Method 4: Live in Your P.O.W.E.R ™
High achievers should strive to tap into their personal P.O.W.E.R., which is Perspective, Ownership, Wisdom, Engagement, and Reward. Perspective cultivates recognition of what is draining your life and what is enriching your life.
This leads to Ownership of your relationship with yourself and with others. It allows you to establish your personal boundaries and define what and where you are to give of yourself and your time. This understanding of your own truth is a major component of Wisdom, which is gained from how you implement your life experiences into your life and evolve your thinking and decisions through expanding your knowledge and good judgment. This enlightenment brings consistent Engagementin the quality of your life.
Your desire, energy, and personal encouragement will motivate you to commit yourself to stop spending 100% of your time on 10% of who you are – this is your Reward.
Method 5: Stop Working So You Can Maximize your Opportunities
When you are constantly working, you seldom recognize your achievements. Without taking these moments to recognize your accomplishments, you are constantly stretching for what’s next and never appreciating and enjoying what you have completed.
This cycle often leads to burn out, health issues, personal relationship issues, and low self esteem. And, many times, it does not have a clearly defined end of moment of victory. When you change your mindset from working to maximizing opportunities, you reposition your thought process and how you approach your life.
You are able to separate and segment your work from other areas of your life because maximizing the opportunity has a beginning and an end. You are quicker to recognize when to end or remove your self because you understand what you are spending your time on is meant to be an opportunity not a burden you spend time on with out benefit or value.
Method 6: Happy is a Choice; Contentment and Joy are Lifestyles
One of the definitions of the word overwhelmed is “to give too much of a thing.” When you truly desire to live a life that is fulfilled in all areas, you are destined to have more to do than you have the time, energy, and ability or help to accomplish or complete.
The feeling of being overwhelmed is when you have what you need and are overflowing with what you want. When you have so much success, opportunity, potential, clients, projects, options, prosperity that you can’t “handle” or manage everything, your reaction is that you are overwhelmed. So what about those times when you’re overwhelmed with challenges, struggles, health issues, and other life concerns?
Know the plan for your life is perfect and the struggles are never to defeat you but to make you stronger and uncover your true power. Surrender and find peace living in the overflow, joy and abundance of being overwhelmed.
Method 7: Building Lasting Confidence
Believe it or not, whatever you want is available to you if you have the confidence and belief that you can have what you want and that you deserve it. This does not mean confidence in our degrees, our knowledge, job titles, position, social status, etc.
Instead, it is about having a pure and honest confidence in the person you are. Many successful people have achieved career success through their fear of failure. And while such fear can be a powerful and effective motivator, it can also limit your sense of accomplishment and impede growth in other areas of your life. For many high achievers, confidence is built on external validations like applause, accolades, wins, or promotions. And their ensuring quest to feel this rush keeps them from being engaged in other areas of their lives.
True confidence should come from a life well lived and enjoyed…not the proverbial feathers in your cap.
Method 8: The Courage to be Faithful
Stepping out of your fears and into your greatness requires great courage. Sometimes we are so busy with the work of life that we don’t sit still and take the time to listen to our heart.
Being courageous means not allowing life to steal, kill, or destroy your dreams, hopes, aspirations, and plans but living in the now, the moment, the presence of your power to receive life, and the fullness of all life has to offer and even more abundantly. It takes courage to be honest with yourself, acknowledge your personal truth, and be present in your quest to live that truth.
The easiest thing for high achievers to do is be successful. But living in the fullness of who they are – and want to be – while also maintaining their success takes true grit.
Method 9: – Exponential Living
Exponential Living is achieved through excellence in your Personal, Spiritual, and Emotional health, and balance in all aspects of your life – with yourself and others. It is achieved by building and maintaining spirituality; loving and caring for yourself (hobbies, exercise, “me” time); spending quality time with and appreciating yourself and your family; recognizing your success; and living in your own truth.
When living exponentially you are comfortable with who you are, separate from what you do. It’s when you live in a state of true contentment, being present with yourself and others while also pursuing and maintaining excellence in all aspects of your life.
Often, high achievers are limited by their success because they are only living in the accomplishments in one area of their lives.
They have achieved or have the drive to achieve high levels of professional success but are not truly fulfilled with their lives overall. Or, they have reached their career goals but now know there are other facets of life they want to pursue but don’t know what/how/why/when.
Exponential Living gives such high achievers the power of being true to themselves and achieving a balance between work, family, friends, healthy living, and spiritual commitment to manifest a life that is genuinely complete and content.
Sheri Riley is the founder and Chief Partnership Strategist of GLUE, Inc. and creator of the Exponential Living program (www.exponentialliving.com) – a ground-breaking initiative that helps individuals create balance among life’s key areas in ways that promote a higher standard of excellence.
Besides reducing your ability to perform and increasing your risk of making mistakes (sometimes fatal ones), sleep deprivation has been blamed for issues including things such as memory loss and cognitive impairment, depression, relationship stress, various kinds of injuries and generally lower quality of life.
And not only can a lack of sleep affect you mentally and personally, but it can affect you physically too. For example, sleep deprivation has been known to cause physical ailments and symptoms such as high blood pressure and other cardiovascular symptoms, stroke, obesity and more.
While we all know that getting enough sleep is an important component of our mental and physical health, sometimes it’s easier said than done. Everything feels harder when you’re sluggish and tired.
Obviously, the most important thing you can do for yourself in this situation is to just simply get more sleep. But I’m not here to preach at you. You know what you need to do to stay healthy.
What I am here to do is to help you get through today, this moment, right now.
So, in that spirit, I offer the following five ways to boost your energy fast so that you can get done what you need to get done. And after you do, I hope you’ll go take a nap.
Eat Something Good
Eat energy-boosting foods. Skip the candy bars and sweets. As it turns out, Snickers doesn’t really satisfy you. In fact, according to Christine Gerbstadt, MD, MPH, RD, a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association, you should eat a healthy snack that has both protein and complex carbs in it.
Gerbstadt says that snacks like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on whole-grain bread or whole wheat crackers and low-fat cheese are ideal energy-boosters.
“That combination of protein and a complex carbohydrate (digested more slowly than simple carbs) increases your blood glucose in a sustained way,” she says. “It boosts energy longer than if you eat gumdrops, for instance.”
Give Yourself a Little Pressure
And I don’t mean that you should beat yourself up. Next time you’re pooped and pushing through the day on autopilot, try a little self-massage.
“Massage stimulates your nerve endings, which increases blood flow and gets your circulation pumping,” says Maureen Moon, past president of the American Massage Therapy Association in an interview with Parents Magazine.
Moon recommends the following quick pick-me-up massages.
“Using your fingertips, rub your scalp or temples in a gentle, circular motion for two minutes.”
“Vigorously rub each earlobe between your thumb and forefinger for one minute.”
“Place your forefingers behind your ears (where the base of your skull meets the top of your neck), press for ten seconds, release, and repeat.”
Get a Move On
It may sound counter-intuitive, but try getting up and moving your body. You don’t have to go into full-blown workout mode, but try doing five to ten minutes’ worth of exercise. This can be anything from a walk or jog around the block to doing a couple of laps in the pool to dancing around your living room to a good beat. Just move.
“A lot of times when people are fatigued, the last thing they want to do is exercise,” says researcher Patrick O’Connor, PhD, in a news release. “But if you’re physically inactive and fatigued, being just a bit more active will help.”
Drink Some Water
One reason many people feel tired is that they’re actually dehydrated. Studies show that most people don’t drink enough water throughout the day. Next time you’re tired, try drinking a glass of water, and try to stay hydrated throughout the day to maintain your energy levels.
“It’s generally not a good idea to use thirst alone as a guide for when to drink,” says a Mayo clinic expert. “By the time you become thirsty, you may already be slightly dehydrated.”
Citrus is Your Friend
Vitamin C is known to help increase both energy and nutrient absorption–and the scent of citrus is proven to increase alertness and energy levels. So eating citrus fruit such as oranges, clementines (my favorite!) or grapefruit can significantly improve your energy levels in a hurry.
“Study after study shows the correlation between citric acid deficiency and chronic fatigue,” says Zen Habits blogger Leo Babauta.
A tip from me to you: have a piece of cheese or lean turkey with your orange to help balance the natural sugar.
I have this problem. I love what I do for a living. I have always known that I wanted to be a writer, and now that I’m doing it successfully, I couldn’t be happier. I really feel fulfilled in my career and I am generally very satisfied in that area of my life. I feel lucky to be doing what I love and getting paid for it. Really, really lucky.
And also, part of what I do is help other freelance writers to succeed. That’s almost as awesome as actually getting paid to do what I love. A lot of people have helped me along the way in my career (and many still do) so paying it forward feels good to me, and really, is probably part of the reason for my success. (Since you get what you put out there back and all.)
Did I mention that I love what I do? I really do. A lot.
So much, in fact, that I very often work seven days a week, and I don’t mind a bit. Not even a little. I am very passionate about my work and I often run on continuous creative bursts of energy.
You feel me, right? I’ll get an idea and I’ll be just absolutely driven to bring it to fruition, and I can’t stop until it’s done. It’s what I like to call inspired action.
So what’s the problem?
The problem is that in being so focused on my work, I have no time to just relax. Between working and taking care of my wonderful family, it’s really easy to put off anything that could be officially classified as fun. (And again, being the writing nerd that I am, I don’t even notice sometimes.) I honestly can’t remember going out with my girlfriends for a night on the town in…several years. Sad, I know.
This weekend, I was on a couple of hot deadlines. I had things that needed to be done by Sunday night. Big things. And, if I’m being honest, I could have probably finished all of my important stuff on Saturday, and then I could have taken Sunday off and could have just relaxed with my family that day.
So why didn’t I do that?
Because, as I was working on Saturday, I was suddenly hit with a flash of inspiration that caused me to create a welcome/about video for one of the WM Network websites (The WM Freelance Writers Connection–I know, you’re shocked.) The video turned out ok, I think, but did you know that it can take two or three hours to make an almost four minute video? Yep, it’s true.
So, while I did manage to get some of my “real work” that was due on Sunday done on Saturday, I did not finish all of it. So, when my husband suggested on Sunday that we take the kids to the park to feed the ducks and then out to eat, I felt a little anxious. We do things like this pretty often, but this week, I had so much to do and I just didn’t think I had the time to do it.
At first, I told him I couldn’t go, but that went over like a lead balloon. He said that I shouldn’t work seven days a week–that everyone needs a day off sometimes. (That, and he didn’t want to try to wrangle three kids at the duck pond all by himself.)
I tried to reason with him. I love what I’m doing, so my work doesn’t feel like work, I explained.
He stood firm, and insisted that I come out with the family. Of course, I realized that he was right…eventually…and we all went to the park and fed the ducks and stopped and had dinner afterward.
We had a great time. And, believe it or not, I only thought about all the work awaiting me once or twice during our adventure. But in addition to enjoying the time with my favorite people in the whole wide world and watching my kids faces light up when the ducks and geese ate the bread they threw out, I thought about something else…something big.
I decided my husband was right (gasp!)–maybe I needed to take a day off. In fact, maybe I needed to take at least one scheduled day off each week. Now, don’t get me wrong–I spend time with my family every day.
But, while we have fun and love one another like no one’s business, I work all day when they’re at school and work, and then a lot of times in the evenings after dinner and late into the night–basically, I work anytime I’m not spending with the family. I hardly even watch TV and rarely get the chance to read for pleasure, let alone any other type of non-Mom, non-wife or non-writer activities.
So, I decided as we walked in the park that it was time to rethink that strategy. While I’m not unhappy with my crazy work habits, I am definitely a bit out of balance. I have to have time to renew my spirit, refresh myself–and time to have fun. Fun that is unrelated to writing.
“From now on,” I declared to my family as I stopped walking to emphasize my point, “I am taking Sundays off!”
While I expected a surprised and enthusiastic cheer to burst forth from my family, the likes of which would be heard all over town, I got more of a subdued response.
“Cool,” one of them said.
“Sounds good,” said another.
“I’ll believe it when I see it,” said a particularly pessimistic member.
“Come on, Mommy, give me more bread so I can feed the ducks!” said the smallest one.
So, regardless of my family’s less than epic reaction, that’s my plan, at least the first step of it. I am officially (gulp) taking Sundays off. And, I think, it just might be time to schedule one of those girls’ nights out…you know, before I forget what my friends look like.
How about you? Do you find yourself working or playing too much? How do you find balance? Tell me in the comments!
We all have different roles in our daily lives. Personally, I’m a mother, a wife, a daughter…a writer, an editor, the co-founder of a blogging network, a lover, a healer, a friend…the list goes on and on. I’m not alone with my mile-long list. Everyone has their own, and most everyone has, at one time or another, found themselves struggling to effectively fulfill all of the roles on their lists.
Maggie, a 29 year old mom of two and midwife, says that her relationship with her husband suffers because she’s too exhausted to spend quality time with her husband after taking care of the kids all day. Plus, she says, she’s lost touch with all but one or two of her friends and can’t even find the time to slap on make up in the morning. She has essentially lost her mojo.
Maggie loves her kids dearly, and that’s important and admirable–but she’s put herself (and her relationships with her husband and friends) on the back burner. She hasn’t seen her friends in person in months and she’s no longer enjoying her work. She finds herself snapping at the kids more often, and she’s slipping into a bit of a depression, though she’s not sure why. She argues with her husband on a regular basis and feels a general sense of boredom and dissatisfaction.
Maggie is struggling to balance the roles in her life. When she became a mother, her kids became her first and most important priority. While that’s a normal and healthy perspective for any parent, Maggie made the same mistake many dedicated parents make–she focused so much on her role as Mother that she forgot about the pre-parent roles of daughter, friend, wife, lover…woman. As a result, she has not only neglected her friendships and her marriage, she’s also neglected herself.
Maggie has become frustrated with her life because she has neglected some pretty important components–her friends, her marriage and herself. Even though she’s not fully aware of it yet, her quest to become The Perfect Mother has had quite the opposite effect. She is ineffectively dealing with the things that matter in her life–including her ability to be the kind of mom she wants to be.
How can this be?
Think about it. Since her children were born, Maggie has allowed parts of her personality and her life to slip away. She has focused all of her attention on her children, neglecting other important relationships in her life. She has become a faded version of her former self–she doesn’t laugh much, she no longer sings in the shower and these days, she only wears makeup on special occasions (and those aren’t often.) As her depression and frustration grow, it spills over into her relationship with the kids.
She’s no longer so tolerant of the little things that she used to let slide. She finds herself directing the kids around like a drill sergeant, and even though she feels terrible about it, can’t seem to stop. And, she says, she has even worried that she might physically discipline the kids–even though she and her husband decided against corporate punishment when they first found out they were pregnant.
So, in her effort to become The Perfect Mother, Maggie has become the mother that she never wanted to be–and she has lost so many important parts of herself.
Maggie needs to re-evaluate her situation. She needs to make a list of top priorities–and she needs to put herself on it. She needs to decide what’s really important to her, and to restructure her time to accommodate the things and people that matter in her life.
Of course, her kids will be on the list. But so should her husband, her friends, her passions and her self.
She doesn’t have to make big changes right away–but even small steps, like setting up a (kid free) date with her husband and lunch with a friend, can have a big effect on Maggie’s perspective. (And hey–if she’s going on a date and to lunch, there are two more occasions she’ll find to put on a little makeup!)
By giving herself time to be Maggie (instead of Mom), she will actually be giving a gift to her children: a happier, more relaxed and generally more pleasant Mommy. And, I have no doubt, her husband and friends will be grateful to have Maggie back.
So What About You?
Do you find yourself struggling to balance the roles in your life? How do you put things back into perspective?
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