In 2004, Arianna Huffington woke up on her office floor in a pool of blood. She'd been working 16 hours days and nodded off, fracturing her cheek and injuring eye on the corner of her desk as she fell. It was her wake up call!
Thankfully, our society has been shifting away from idolizing the workaholics to realizing there is more to success than power and money. However, many of us are still trying to be the Superwoman or Superman doing it all!
The fact is busy doesn't automatically equate to productive! Even high levels of production without self-care leaves us tottering on just 2 legs of a 3 legged stool. How can you strengthen that elusive third leg of the success stool to give it more stability?
We each have an ideal of success that is unique to our own values and desires. The more clarity we have about what is important to us, the easier it is to define what we should and, just as importantly, what we shouldn't be doing each day.
I love this quote of Larry Kendall's " … the ability to wake up each morning with the time, health, wisdom, friends, financial freedom and passion to do whatever you want that day!" Here is a great interview with him to hear some more wisdom!
In his book, How the Mighty Fall, Jim Collins reported a key reason for failure was "the undisciplined pursuit of more." Hmmm….
Doing less may actually help us accomplish more and taste success more sweetly!
Think about it this way: Have you've ever decided to clear the clutter in your closet? You know you make different decisions if you ask "should I keep this?"instead of "does this make me look and feel fabulous?"
Now, think of the obligations and tasks you have in your life with that same mindset. You might surface things you shouldn't be doing at all. Perhaps,once, they served you; but today, you may be tied to obligations that don't make your heart sing. Remember what I always say, "Just because you can, doesn't mean you should."
As yourself these questions:
Is it time to give up perfectionism?
Is it time to stop trying to do it all to stay in control?
Is it time to understand Life is too short to perfect your weaknesses?
Arianna's epiphany from waking up in that pool of blood led her to research how to redefine success. In her new book Thrive, Arianna documents the importance of well-being, wisdom, wonder and giving. Along the way, finding habits like sleep, meditation, eating right and disconnecting from technology are not just good ideas, but scientifically proven ways lead happier and, ironically, more productive lives!
Stress and fatigue are familiar companions for many of us. Here are 3 habits to consider to begin to minimize their effects and start giving yourself the self care you need to achieve optimum achievement!
Habit Number One: Sleep.
How many hours do you need? For most of us, it is between 7.5 and 9 hours per night. In K. Anders Ericsson's research for "The Role of Deliberate Practice in the Acquisition of Expert Performance", he identifies the first factor in differentiating good from excellent performance the number of hours spent practicing. This data was popularized by Malcolm Gladwell's book Outliers as the "10,000 hour rule."
However the second most highly correlated factor was how much they slept. Top performing violinists slept AN AVERAGE of 8.6 hours every night.
Should you be sleeping more?
Habit Number Two: Meditation
Meditation is brain training. Most of us didn't get introduced to this growing up or in school. The benefits are, however, well documented. In the Harvard Business Journal, meditation was identified as one of the secret tools of successful leaders in the 21st Century.
Deepak Chopra suggests you practice RPM ~ After resting (sleep), pee, and then meditate first thing in the morning. Even 5 minutes is beneficial!One of my favorite meditations, 16 sec meditation, I learned fromDavidji.Do it this way:
breathe in for 4 sec
then hold for 4 sec
breathe out for 4 sec
then hold for 4
Then, repeat the sequence as many times as you want.
If you just tried this, you probably can notice your heart rate is slower. You may feel calmer and tension in your body has probably released somewhat.
You can do this any time, anywhere… anytime you want to relax and focus or are feeling stressed and emotional. It's a fast, easy way to increase your focus and decrease your stress.
The brain can not focus on more than 1 item at a time. Oh, we think we multi-task brilliantly... and that, like, workaholism, has often been revered. But more recent research shows that your brain is actually flipping amongst the various tasks and when it does this, your effectiveness drops. The ability to stay focused on one task to completion it something new for many of us.
Should you be meditating regularly?
Habit Number Three: Breathing
Now, you may think you are great at doing this, but very few people actually take deep belly breaths regularly, and yet, like meditation, a minute or two of deep breathing will change your body chemistry dramatically and quickly.
Pam Grout wrote a great book called Jumpstart Your Metabolism, and she theorizes deep breathing can even help you lose weight as well as diminish pain and reverse other medical conditions. Simple, easy and cheap!!!!
Will you take more deep breaths?
And here is a bonus habit…..Laughter. Laughter is a very nurturing habit. Laugh more today (and every day from now on!!!)
What new habit will you incorporate to boost your productivity?
Check in with yourself right now and make a note of the first answer that surfaces, and then start practicing daily.
What practices, if I added them, consistently, would contribute to the quality of my life?
What practices, if I stopped doing them, would contribute to a higher quality of success?
The amazing Maya Angelou said:
"People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel."
In the roles we have each day, we are in a unique position to be able help others find their success. By having the clarity of what real success is and modeling it, we offer a possibilty of true bliss not just for ourselves, but for those with whom we impact!