A brain dump may be just what the doctor ordered

A brain dump may be just what the doctor ordered.

—Barry Demp

Image from Unsplash by XPS

How we carry our load of responsibilities when we are overwhelmed is very important to keeping our balance and not being crushed by the weight of things.

Breaking things down into smaller bites can help us to tackle even big challenges.

Steps I’ve found helpful include:

  1. Write down everything on your personal and professional To Do lists. This may take many sheets of paper. Keep asking “what else?” until you get it all.
  2. Estimate how many minutes each activity will take to complete.
  3. Prioritize the items that are both highly important and highly urgent. Be rigorous here, and consider discussing this list with others.
  4. Using your calendar, insert enough priority items to offer you a doable level of challenge, based on the time available.
  5. Share your intentions and plans with key individuals to establish agreed upon expectations, and to avoid upsets.

EXERCISE:

Schedule 15-60 minutes today to dump your brain and go through the steps above.
Be prepared to have this process take a number of days until you make this exercise a habit.
Share this exercise with a colleague, friend, family member, or a coach, to help you regain you momentum and the traction you desire.

“Be your own compass.”

“Be your own compass.”

—Author Unknown

Image from Unsplash by AbsolutVision

To what degree have you felt lost over the past several months?

Where did you once have clarity in your life, and to what extent do things now seem to be foggy?

Now is the time to be your own compass, to verify your “True North” and set forth with more confidence and commitment.

What are the values, beliefs, and priorities that generate the magnetic field within you, keeping you on course regardless of small or mountainous issues along the way?

EXERCISE:

How do you know when you are on the right path?

What personal or professional adjustments will you make today to better follow your own inner compass?

“Hope is like the sun, which, as we journey toward it, casts the shadow of our burden behind us.”

“Hope is like the sun, which, as we journey toward it, casts the shadow of our burden behind us.”

—Samuel Smiles, 19th Century Scottish government reformer

Image from Unsplash by Martino Pietropoli

Given our turbulent times, it is clearer than ever that hope is not a good strategy to right our world.

Wishful thinking and turning a blind eye to the objective truth has delayed the full mobilization of our world to come together as one.

Hope is, however, very powerful in that it can and will inspire our individual and collective efforts to cast the shadows of our challenges behind us.

EXERCISE:

How and in what ways can and will you mobilize your most hopeful energies and committed actions as we journey together to better our world?

“What is the cost of not doing what you say?”

“What is the cost of not doing what you say?”

—Author Unknown

What is your relationship to the character trait of integrity?

How do you relate to others who are more talk and less action?

To what degree can you be counted on in both good and challenging times?

What oaths, vows, promises, and other commitments have you made over the years in which your integrity was impeccable?

What has it cost you and those around you when your ratio of saying to doing exceeds the number one?

One place to look is in the area of trust and its impact on the important relationships in your life.

EXERCISE:

Please check out my Trust-o-Meter Assessment to explore potential ways you may wish to bolster your integrity and strengthen the trusting relationships you desire.

“Leave no stone unturned.”

“Leave no stone unturned.”

—Euripides, Ancient Greek Tragedian

Image from Unsplash by Priscilla Du Preez

In many areas of life, “Good Enough” is good enough.

Perhaps you, like many people these days, have pivoted more mindfully, professionally and personally, to dramatically reduce or eliminate certain life commitments, duties, or obligations.

In some cases, leaving these stones unturned makes sense.

On the other hand, there are those high-value priorities and commitments that warrant our fullest attention. What personal or professional areas of life deserve all you’ve got, and anything short of excellence won’t do?

EXERCISE:

Select one top priority project or area of your life in which you will leave no stone unturned until you realize your goal.

“How can you have a much lighter approach to life?”

“How can you have a much lighter approach to life?”

—Author Unknown

Image from Unsplash by Christian Erfurt

Who are the people in your professional or personal worlds that seem to carry a very heavy load throughout their days?

How burdened do you feel given your own backpack of commitments, priorities, and responsibilities?

What are the costs to your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being?

When eustress—the positive and productive form of stress—exceeds its limits, it cascades over the threshold into distress, which can significantly impact our immune systems and can even lead to disease.

EXERCISE:

Take 5 to 10 minutes to lift your foot off the gas pedal of life and do a Google search on “Stress Management” or “Self-Care Strategies” to help you lighten your approach to life.

Feel free to reply to this post with the strategies or approaches you commit to taking.

When we do what we have to do we are compliant

“When we do what we have to do we are compliant. When we do what we choose to do we are committed.”

—Marshall Goldsmith, American Leadership Coach

Image from a3carpetcleaning.com

To what degree are you an “extra credit” type of person? Recall your early educational experiences, in which a special teacher or a special subject motivated you well beyond just meeting expectations and passing the course. They motivated you to experience new levels of excellence, achievement, and of course, greater personal growth.

What about today in your vocational and avocational efforts? Where do you choose to go the extra mile and exceed expectations versus simply doing just enough to maintain your employment (for the moment) and get by?

EXERCISE:

To help you make the shift from compliant to committed, consider exploring the work of Dan Pink in his book, Drive, to see how greater autonomy, mastery, and purpose will help you choose and eventually realize a far more fulfilling and rewarding life.

It doesn’t make any sense

“It doesn’t make any sense to make a key and then run around looking for a lock to open.”

—Seth Godin, American Author

Image of a hand holding a single key

Image from Unsplash by CMDR Shane

The Giving Pledge is a commitment by the world’s wealthiest individuals and families to dedicate the majority of their wealth to giving back. You can learn more about this remarkable commitment to philanthropy and the causes they support by visiting givingpledge.org.

If you happen to not currently be on the list of the ultra-wealthy, I suggest you consider the Impact Pledge. There, we can all participate in a highly specific project by publicly committing our resources – especially time and energy – to a worthy mission to better our world. In such a way we can all participate in the design of a “key” solution that opens the doors of our most daunting local and world issues.

EXERCISE:

Consider visiting the Impact Pledge site to see how you might become a critical key to bettering our world.

I have gone ahead despite the pounding in the heart

“I have gone ahead despite the pounding in the heart that says: Turn Back!”

—Erica Jong, American Novelist and Poet

Image of a skier doing an aerial jump

Image from Unsplash by Jörg Angeli

The majority of people I know don’t normally consider themselves as particularly brave and courageous. Many might look at the amazing firefighters in California and say, “That’s not me” or “I could never do that.”

I’d like you to consider that you might be at least a bit more courageous than you give yourself credit for. Examine times in your personal or professional life in which you stepped up to a particular challenging, heart-pounding situation and moved forward through the fear. Your commitment was far bigger than your comfort.

EXERCISE:

Where and how can and will you use the signal of a pounding heart to step forward rather than back to more fully realize your most important and valued commitments?

Never too Late to Learn

“It is never too late to learn to be on time.”

—Author Unknown

Image of a swirling clock

Image from Flickr by cea+

Time seems to fly these days, whether or not you are having fun. The pace of life has quickened, jamming our calendars, and stretching our schedules to the limit.

Unfortunately, these challenges come with some negative consequences in the form of emotional, physical, and social stressors.

How do you feel when you expect to be late, or miss an important commitment or deadline? How do you feel when family, friends, or work colleagues keep you waiting or don’t fulfill their promises? What does it cost you, and is it worth the price?

EXERCISE:

How and in what ways can you simplify your personal and professional worlds by reducing or eliminating the commitments that are simply not a priority? How can these changes provide you the added buffer to not only be on time, but fulfill virtually all of your personal and professional commitments?