How can you focus on others when at times
it can be so hard to focus on yourself?
Whether you’re currently at home or at the office – how do you manage others when you are struggling to manage yourself?
At a time when there are no lines of differentiation between the various roles in life, what are your coping strategies?
As a very proud mother of an emerging artist who was getting ready for her first ever exhibition, I watched my daughter struggle over the last few weeks and almost give up the most important time in her life, in service of others.
The stress kicked in when the state of Victoria went into lock down and her art exhibition was relegated to an online opening. She couldn’t use her studio and was home schooling her 7-year-old daughter. Competing for space at home and having the busyness of the family around while trying to paint and get her exhibition pieces finished in time was nothing short of exhausting. She’d find herself painting till the small hours of the morning when the house was still and quiet, crawling into bed knowing that in a few hours she would have to show up for her family, start home schooling and maintain equilibrium just for her family to function.
When we get into a stressed state, it is difficult to think clearly. Routine tasks can be too hard to deal with, fear kicks in and we become immobilised. Taking action becomes difficult and what we would normally do to deal with a particular situation goes out the window.
Fortunately my daughter was open to support from family and friends – asking for what she needed and just talking it through – which got her through.
In the end, the exhibition was a great success and my daughter sold almost all her work.
This story is just one of the many out there of people being full time mothers, fathers, teachers, nurtures, carers, managers and team leaders – all of whom have little time to self-care.
American Author Bruce Barton wrote – “Sometimes when I consider what tremendous consequences come from little things … I am tempted to think, there are no little things”.
How do I do it? I don’t have children at home and have an independent husband who is able to take care of his own needs. Yet like many – I still struggle.
I have to remind myself every day, that the only thing that I can control is me. I do the things that I know will influence my health and my thinking, focusing on moving forward and doing something each day that makes me feel good. I feel blessed working with my clients and being part of their progress.
I have been running the Leadership Principles Program based on The 7th Habit of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey for the last three years. Each time I run this program, I embody the principles more and more. Covey wrote the quote “To know and not to do – is not to know”. Applying these principles is a habit like any other. The idea is to start and practice consistently, no matter how little the steps are.
The 7th Habit is about self-care.
SHARPEN THE SAW – The Principles of Balanced Self-Renewal. Here – Covey talks about the Four Dimensions of Renewal.
Taking some simple steps towards renewal will give you the feeling of being in control of your body, mind and spirit.
I have shared a few examples of what I do to renew:
I do between 20 to 30 minutes of yoga in the morning and if I don’t have time for yoga, I do a 7-minute workout from an app on my phone. I limit my caffeine, drink more water and eat clean. I try and get out in nature each day for a walk or just get some sun on my face. And I aim for 8 hours sleep a night
I read to improve my skills as a coach and listen to something inspiring while I’m getting ready for work. I plan my day and promise myself I won’t get distracted (not easy for me).
It is important for me to connect with people each day, be it friends, family, clients or my community. This does take extra effort when you are feeling isolated and we are so lucky that there are many different ways now to connect.
Currently I am doing a 21-day meditation with Deepak Chopra – it is about 10 mins a day, sometimes in the morning or during the day or even before I go to sleep.
I journal my thoughts; to be grateful for my day, or set an intention or just note down my aspirations. It keeps me focused
Stephen Covey died in 2012, at the time of his death, he was named one of the most influential people in the world. In his final interview, he had this to say:
“Change itself has changed. It’s accelerated beyond anything any of us ever imagined. Technology revolutions seem to occur hourly. We grapple with economic uncertainty. Global power relations can shift dramatically and overnight. And much of the world is terror stricken, both psychologically and literally”
2020 has changed us all in some way – that is certain…… and