You know you’re getting old when

“You know you’re getting old when you stoop to tie your shoelaces and wonder what else you can do while you’re down there.”

—George Burns, 20th Century comedian and actor

Image from New York Daily News

George Burns the actor, writer, singer, and perhaps most notably, comedian, was a bit of an expert on aging. He lived to be 100. His career spanned over 75 year in vaudeville, radio, and even film, where at the age of 79, he won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in the 1975 film, The Sunshine Boys.

Along with his comedic wit, George must have been an efficiency expert, looking to squeeze all the value out of his efforts, even along the short journey down to tie his shoes.

EXERCISE:

Where would a “work smarter, not harder” approach to your daily efforts make the biggest difference in the days, weeks, months, and years to come?

In The Long Run a Shortcut Never Is

“In the long run, a short cut seldom is.”

—Malcolm Forbes, Founder of Forbes Magazine

Image of a "shortcut" sign

Image from wordher

In the never-ending battle between efficiency and effectiveness, the shorter “Road to Hell” may be paved with good intentions, but often results in unexpected problems.

I’m not referring to organizational initiatives such as Six Sigma or Lean, but to more common, daily occurrences, such as handling e-mail.

How often do you overlook or delete emails with the intent of greater speed, efficiency, and overall productivity, then have them come back to haunt you?

How often have you sent an important message to a client, colleague, or your boss, with one or more significant spelling or grammatical errors, and wish you could have a “do-over”?

EXERCISE:

Where and on what issues is it the wise call to slow down and not take a short cut, to assure the result you desire?

“You are no bigger than…”

“You are no bigger than the things that annoy you.”

—Jerry Bunden

Photo from addconsults.com

Photo from addconsults.com

How big and expansive do you feel in your life at this moment?

How easy is it to breathe deeply and stand tall?

How much freedom, independence, self-expression, and self-determination is present in your personal and professional life?

During a typical coaching session, clients often reveal aspects of their current reality that annoy and upset them. When I observe them sharing their thoughts and feelings on these matters, they almost always demonstrate some form of physical constriction or limitation in stature and personal power.

It is not uncommon to have these people describe how much better they feel and actually look when they have worked through these matters in our coaching discussions.

EXERCISE:

Create a list of your top professional and personal annoyances. Examine their impact. How, through your own efforts or with the assistance of a friend, family member, mentor, or coach, could you gain greater freedom and effectiveness in these areas, to lead a more fulfilling life?

“It wasn’t raining when…”

“It wasn’t raining when Noah built the ark.”

—Howard Ruff, financial adviser and writer

Photo from Boy Scouts of America

Photo from Boy Scouts of America

We tend to live our lives at a mad pace, with only a few moments each day to catch our breath.

When we do this consistently, our level of stress goes up, and our effectiveness and productivity go down. Another consequence of this rush-around world is that we rarely get to the big and important projects that we most desire.

Taking time to plan and build our own “ark of life” prepares us for the critical life events that come our way and make life worthwhile.

EXERCISE:

Examine some of the most important and urgent life issues that are just around the corner or over the horizon. How can you work backwards from these events, to be as prepared as possible and get ahead of the rainstorms of life that are coming?