No doubt this year has been a great teacher of all sorts of things for us. I know I was pushed to limits that I have not experienced before, and it created quite a challenge. But, as you are all getting to know me after years as a contributing writer for SupportWorld, you know I am up for a good challenge. As are you, my wonderful reader.
I am going to concentrate on our agility, our ability to be nimble and move quickly through the issues of the day at work and at home, our adaptability and flexibility, which are Emotional Intelligence competencies! So, let’s build those EQ muscles.
What happens to us humans after we have been torn asunder all year long from being overworked…when we have been made to change directions on a dime, told to stuff 10 pounds of potatoes in a 5-pound bag (4.53kg into a 2.26kg-bag for the rest of the HDI world’s readers)? Together, having limited sleep all year long, probably not made it the gym as intended or eaten all kinds of obnoxiously dangerous food all that time? Oh, and then there are the stressors of our actual life like the house or apartment, commute, health, children relationships, watching the fear monger news or simple car issues…I could go on! This is something that we all have in common.
When these things happen, we lose our agility or our ability to be nimble and flexible if we don't learn from the experience. The idea here is to learn; learn about how to establish borders and boundaries; learn how to say NO without feeling guilty; and learn that putting yourself first is not selfish, but a survival tactic that will establish strength, confidence, and fortitude for the times in life that become overwhelming.
Putting yourself first is not selfish, but a survival tactic that will establish strength, confidence, and fortitude.
Why is this topic so important to me right now? Well, this year I came face to face with death twice with a surprising health scare (appendix if you want to know). One minute I was participating in my life to the fullest, and within two days life was in a thousand pieces on the floor and I was looking at them from a hospital bed all doped up. It is true what they say; life gets put into perspective when the chance of it being taken away is presented to you.
With all the wisdom that has been endowed, with all the tests in life I have passed or failed then passed, this is what I encourage us all to do in order to increase and keep our agile lives. Consider adding these as we move into the new year with a fresh perspective and the hope of simply controlling some of the chaos:
Body. If you don’t have your health, you have nothing.
- Eat whole foods. You should be able to pronounce and know what each ingredient is in your food. If you can’t, don’t buy it!
- Go to the doctor at least once a year and get all the parts checked, including your hormones, mineral, and vitamin levels.
- Drink half your weight in ounces water every day—good quality water, please (e.g, 160 pounds = 80 ounces = a little over a half-gallon, 2 liters).
- Sugar is BAD…really; do I need to tell you this? Yes, because we are still addicted.
- Sleep more than 6.5 hours a night. Only 5% of the earth’s population can survive healthfully on 6 hours and that is because of a genetic mutation. The rest of us are simply hurting ourselves and aging quicker if we don’t get that precious commodity.
- Move your body…it doesn't matter how or where. Just move it. Then start lifting gallon jugs of something over your head. Strong people stay young.
Mind. The only person you can change is you.
- People don’t do things to you; they do things for themselves. Stop blaming them for what they do “to” you.
- One “No” is more powerful than 100 Yes. Figure out how to appropriate the “no” in your social and family life, as well as at work. A No can also be a “Wait, let me check with my calendar before I commit.”
- Give yourself 1.5 hours a day of uninterrupted focus time to complete projects and tasks. You will need to manage everyone’s expectations about that by telling them, “Hey, from 9:00 to 10:30, I will be focusing on this project Please don’t interrupt me unless it’s an emergency.” BTW, every time you are heavily focused on something and someone interrupts you, it takes 25 minutes and 15 seconds to resume the depth of focus you had before the interruption. Now, that is a waste of your precious time.
- If you become overwhelmed and stressed, use an "Appreciation Anchor." Find something that makes you happy or thankful and concentrate on that for five minutes. Gratefulness is the most positive chemical changing emotion we have, and you will find that your mind will become very quiet and peaceful after that. Use your emotion for your own good!
Spirit. In-between stimulus and response is a space (Viktor Frankl). Use the space to be a better you.
- Practice meditation/prayer every day. Be in touch with something bigger than yourself. God/Universe, whatever you want to call it, we all need as much help as we can get…even if you don’t believe in anything, you should believe in powerful great people that have proven to do wonderful things in the world. Study them.
- Practice being present and in the moment. This is so difficult because we are constantly in regret of the past or fear of the future. During my illness and recovery this summer, I found myself in a great depression, full of sadness and anxiety thinking about what I could have done differently with my appendix so as not to have had a serious infection and after-effects. Then, I was panic attacked about the future…was I going to be able to work ever again, was I going to be bed or house ridden for the rest of my life? How was I going to make money? How was I going to pay medical bills? Basically, I was my own worst enemy and freaked myself out. Until I put it all into perspective and focused on the present, which was about getting better and healing.
- Trust, if not in yourself, then in the intentions of others to help you, to listen to you, to hold you, to let you emote over the strains of life. When you open yourself up to that, the people you can trust will show up in your life.
- We don’t always have to share our opinions or rants about what happened in the day or with a specific person that made us angry. But, also don’t swallow it like a victim. This is precisely what exercise sweat is for!
With that new year upon us, we have the opportunity to challenge ourselves to be our best selves. I never want to sound like a poster gal for common phrases, yet this one seems apt:
“We are not promised tomorrow.”
My encouragement is make the changes, live in the present and fully, and do what makes you content and fills your purpose. Once you get everything done that you need to, should do, and have to, step into what you love to do and want to do. In doing so, you and I will certainly find ourselves more flexible, more adaptable, and, obviously, more agile! Here’s to the best you in the new year!
Deborah Monroe is one of eighteen Master EQ practitioners in the world, through the Global EQ Community of 6 Seconds. She's also an associate with the Institute for Organizational Performance and an HDI business associate. Working with all levels of executive leadership, management, and individual contributors, Deborah concentrates on integrating humans and process to create a balanced working environment. Her aim is to build understanding and empathy, creating a positive bottom line through employee and customer retention.