Aviation pioneer, Amelia Earhart, had it right when she said, “The most effective way to do it, is to do it.” Yep, there’s no better advice when it comes to embracing the tips and tricks that will help you live a more peaceful, calm, and centered life. You just gotta get started.
As a personal coach, it has now been a full year of coaching women through the pandemic and all the other aspects of 2020. What a true learning for me! In coaching sessions, I noticed common themes and simple lessons that really resonated with my clients. So, I compiled those important life learning lessons here and packaged them together, in hopes of helping you navigate life’s uncertainty.
Have you seen Part One of this post? If not, be sure to check it out first with tips 1-5!
6. Adopt a Positive Mindset
There are plenty of things out in the world to get you down. Especially now, as we’re living through a historic pandemic and constantly surrounded by tough stuff. But energy flows where your attention goes, so it’s imperative to try to keep your focus on the good things in life. Thinking about – and feeling grateful for – the good stuff actually begets more of the good stuff. Having a positive mindset is key and can literally be life-changing. I love the idea that “what you thank about and think about, you bring about”!
During the initial quarantine stretch, one thing that served as a lifeline for my husband Bill and me was to create a “Pandemic Positives” list. We were feeling so much sadness and stress, but talking about (and writing down) the good things was incredibly helpful. Our list included: “Calendars are wide open”, “Embracing our introversion”, and “We get to hang together 24/7” (we really do like each other). To our surprise, we ended up writing two full pages of positives! This also gave us good material for the life stories we would be telling.
7. Practice the Pause
If I had to pick the most popular coaching topic of 2020, it would be the power of “the pause”. Stephen Covey, the author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, starts off with Habit One: Be Proactive. Even though we’re bombarded all day long with stimulus (the phone ringing, emails coming in, someone needing our attention, etc.), we always have the power to pause before responding. What happens if we don’t? We end up being reactive and jumping to try and handle every little thing that shows up in front of us. Covey discusses that when we pause before responding, we are more in control of our experience, more on top of our game, and more effective.
One client who works at a busy financial company has made it her mission to stay proactive by practicing the “pause” throughout her day. Instead of immediately responding to the myriad of emails individually as they come in, she stays focused on her task-at-hand and handles the emails all together when she feels more centered. Instead of saying ‘yes’ to an exciting volunteer opportunity, she takes a breath and knows that it will only derail her sense of wellbeing at work, so she declines.
Where in your life can you stay proactive and try out the pause button?
8. Focus On the End in Mind
Recently, I wrote about the importance of staying focused on the end in mind, where I was referring to the upcoming year. Here, I want to break it down into even smaller bits. Have you ever thought of your end in mind for the day? Or for a meeting? Or for the weekend? So much of life gets blurry now with work and home and all kinds of things melding together. If we approach life one day at a time, one meeting at a time, or even one moment at a time – things become much clearer.
A client talked about being nervous to have a serious conversation with a co-worker. Instead of staying in that nervous-state, she focused on the end in mind – the feeling she wanted to have when the conversation was over. She took a few deep breaths and envisioned herself feeling relieved, calm, and confident. Next, she approached the conversation with her co-worker from that new perspective in mind and it ended up guiding their exchange beautifully. The situation turned out better than she imagined, all due to her focusing on the end in mind and allowing that vision to guide her.
Don’t get lost in the periphery; keep your focus on where you want to go and how you want to show up.
9. Reduce Your Stress
Stress is running rampant right now. And for so many, life has been turned upside down. Lately, I’ve found such solace and comfort in the teachings of my friend, Dr. Terry Wu, who’s a neuroscientist. He says that to reduce your stress, you must have a sense of control, predictability, and progress.
For my client who builds in 20 minutes each morning to walk on the treadmill, she hits all three of these. She feels a sense of control because she is in charge of her mornings vs. checking emails and allowing other peoples’ needs to set the tone for her day. Walking on the treadmill each morning instills a sense of predictability for her. Once she wakes up in the morning, she doesn’t even have to think about what to do – her routine is to simply pull on her sweats and head downstairs for her walk; it’s not negotiable, it’s just what she does. It’s predictable. Lastly, she feels a sense of progress because she’s building up her cardiovascular endurance and keeping her body moving. As a result, she feels healthier and less stressed just by taking this simple action each day.
Stress can sneak up on you. But when you build activities or moments into your life that offer you a sense of control, predictability, and progress… you are well on your way to managing and decreasing those stress levels.
10. The Essential Final Step: Give Yourself Grace
So many of my clients talk about an innate need and desire to solve a problem, finish a project, and get things done. They get down on themselves when they’re unable to do this as effectively as they have in the past. During the pandemic, we don’t necessarily have an end date in sight. None of us really know where this is headed or what the timeframe is until we emerge on the other side. This is a brand-new gig, and business-as-usual won’t cut it. It’s a great time to redefine “success” and what that means to you. Since there’s no blueprint for how to move through this unprecedented time in our lives, it’s essential to cut yourself some slack; to go easy on yourself. To give yourself grace.
I used to shudder at the thought of taking a nap during the day when the sun was shining bright. But now? Sometimes that’s just what my body needs, and I have to surrender to that and be gentle with myself. Because I’ve learned that these days “success”, for me, is occasionally defined as taking a nap in the middle of the day.
Your Life Is Waiting for You
So, there ya have it! The 10 biggest life learning lessons that have shown up over a full year of coaching professional women during the pandemic. It has been, and is, a true honor for me to stand side-by-side with these women who are intentionally and mindfully working toward moving through life with purpose.
We all have blind spots and sometimes need a little objective guidance and support along the way. If you’re feeling stuck or overwhelmed, lacking clarity or direction, or disconnected from your purpose or passion, LifeShine can help. Contact me to learn more!
In the meantime, take some time to digest these 10 tips and decide which ones you will take action on. Focus on the things you can control. Struggling to get started? In the words of Nike: “Just Do It”! Your life is waiting for you.