“I have simply tried to do what seemed best each day, as each day came.”
—Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States
A state of calm centeredness came over me when I read today’s quote. My first thought was “I can do that!”
Many of us experience overwhelm in the enormity of all that must be done in our lives. Far too often we are exhausted by the end of the day, and frustrated by not having achieved what we intended. We then add insult to injury by throwing in our own negative commentary.
Alternatively, being satisfied with our best, which can differ from day to day, grants a peaceful and accepting sense of our humanity, and what Brené Brown would call the “Gifts of Imperfection.”
How would taking your life one day at a time, doing your best regardless of what happens, be the source of a happier and more fulfilling life?
“What does your best day at work look like?”
—Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook
What do you typically say when someone asks, “How was your day?”
I usually hear phrases such as, “Not Bad,” “it was OK,” “Pretty Good,” “Awful, Stressful, Chaotic.”
From time to time I also hear from those super-positive, optimistic, people glowing with excitement and enthusiasm about how great their day has been.
How often do you actually believe those folks?
Today’s quote asks us to visualize our best days so we have a benchmark or a beacon of what is possible for the activity in which we spend most of our waking hours.
Identify what frustrates you and exacerbates your workdays.
Identify the parts of your day in which you feel energized and strong, when you may even lose track of time.
Given your answers, how can you modify or redesign your day to include less of the first and more of the second?
Applying this exercise on a daily basis for yourself and those in your company can be critical to both individual and organizational success, and a more fulfilling life.
“A rising tide lifts all boats.”
Image from The Daily Mail
I recently watched a program about the building of the new Panama Canal. This engineering marvel permits the new mega-container ships to pass through the canal, no longer having to spend ten days to two weeks going all the way around South America.
For a single vessel to make this short journey costs nearly one million dollars. Given that time is money, it must be worth it, not to mention the savings on fuel and potential cargo spoilage.
Perhaps most remarkable is the engineering feat of lifting these massive ships through the power of water displacement. In nature, the gravitational effect of the moon and sun are the primary forces that pull our oceans, causing low and high tides.
What if all the people you cared about were actually boats? What methods could you employ to raise them up, or better help them and yourself navigate the waterways of life?
“How you climb a mountain is more important than reaching the top.”
—Yvon Chouinard, American rock climber and founder of Patigonia
Image from Unsplash by Daniel Burka
Are you an explorer? How often do you venture out on a quest or journey, to scale life’s mountains?
What are the factors that inspire you to put on your hiking boots and venture outside your comfort zone, personally or professionally?
How critical or important is it to arrive and actually reach the summit? How much attention do you usually pay to your individual steps? How often do you take in the scenery and the people you meet along the way?
Examine your level of excitement, anticipation, inspiration, curiosity, and passion relative to the mountains you are climbing. How can you discover far more rich rewards through the way you climb the mountain, whether or not you reach the top?
“Your expression is the most important thing you wear.”
Image from Unsplash
Putting our best foot forward, making a good first impression, and the general way we present ourselves to the world couldn’t be more important these days.
We know that people are judging us all the time. What you are wearing, literally? And what physical expressions are people observing about you?
Examining your current attitudes, moods, emotions, and feelings may provide some clues to how open and receptive people may be to you. This almost always impacts the success of our personal and professional relationships.
I tend to be a very serious person. My wife Wendy frequently asks me if I’m OK. When I say, “Yes, I am,” she often coaches me by saying, “Inform your face!”
How and in what ways can you become more aware of the expressions you wear in public? How can you use your expressions to enhance the personal and professional success you desire? A genuine smile is a great place to start.
“Make sense out of change by plunging into it, moving with it, and joining in the dance.”
Image from Lakehouse Lifestyle
As we move through the stages of adult life, most of us become a bit more set in our ways. There is nothing particularly wrong with that. We often find comfort in our rituals, habits, and routines.
Without a direct invitation from us, however, the world increasingly knocks or, in some cases, pounds on our doors, bringing all kinds of change into our personal and professional worlds.
What if, instead of bolting our doors or barricading ourselves into our comfortable worlds, we opened ourselves to more opportunities and adventures by moving, plunging and dancing with these changes?
Where would a more open, welcoming, “try it on” approach to the changes around you make the biggest, most positive difference? Consider opening this door, or better yet, stepping right out there and joining the dance!
“To drift is to be in Hell. To be in Heaven is to Steer.”
—George Bernard Shaw, Irish Playwright
Image from Unsplash
Consider how you feel when you read these phrases:
- I feel stuck
- I’ve plateaued in my career
- My life has no direction
- I’m lost
- I’m not getting anywhere
- I’m bored
Try on these phrases instead:
- I’m excited about the day ahead!
- I can’t wait to get there!
- I feel passionate and purposeful each day
- I am working toward my goal of …
- My focus and efforts will get me there!
Where do you feel adrift, personally or professionally?
How can you experience greater happiness by steering and guiding your life in a more heavenly direction?
“A light heart lives long.”
—Irish Gaelic Proverb
Image from Flickr by Patrick
Did you know that workplace stress has been proven to increase the risk of heart attacks and shorten your life span? I am sure you could list five or ten other factors that make the impact even worse!
Listed below are are some lighthearted or heart-related activities, proven effective to add both years to your life and life to your years.
- Laughter: just 15 minutes of laughing at a funny video can improve blood flow to your heart by 50%, reduce blood clot formation, cholesterol deposition, and inflammation.
- Optimism, meditation, and other mindfulness efforts help us view the world through a more hopeful and lighthearted lens.
- A short nap or frequent breaks in your day to recharge have been shown to reduce coronary mortality by 37%.
- Social engagements which include family, faith, and other forms of community involvement help us lighten our burdens, share more joy, and fill our hearts.
Explore at least one of the strategies above to brighten and lengthen your days and let me know what happens.
Consider replying to this post with some of your own lighthearted strategies to live a longer, more fulfilling life.
“Keep the bigger perspective in mind, not getting caught in life’s little whirlpools.”
—Barbara Ann Kipfer, Author of Self-Meditation
Image from Clipartfest
What are some of the events in your personal or professional life that have brought you down, upset you, or even caused you to feel angry?
Select just one event, and play with it through a variety of perspectives to see if you can rise out of the downward spiral.
Who in your world would barely notice the issue, or not be impacted at all? How would they view this issue?
Who do you know who would find the lesson in this issue and use the silver lining to better their life?
Who in your life is creative and innovate, always finding a way to achieve their objectives in spite of obstacles or challenges?
What new and different approaches and perspectives can you try to better navigate the swirling whirlpools that pull you down?
Consider asking some of the people you identified above for their coaching.
“The past should be a springboard, not a hammock.”
—Ivern Ball, Dadaist Poet and Writer
Image from DivSanDiego
I once heard that as we age, the ideal “Happy Hour” is a good nap.
Who doesn’t enjoy some well-needed rest to rejuvenate from time to time?
Our past achievements and successes can sometimes lull us into complacency or even a bit of a snooze by reliving the memory as if it was happening in the present.
Today’s quote urges us to see past events as a springboard for even more remarkable achievements and successes that lie ahead of us.
How can and will you use your past accomplishments and success as a springboard to dive into the deep end of your greatest potential?