INSIGHTS (on leadership/self-leadership)
Do you tend to overschedule? Pack every work day with back to back meetings and activity? Probably – most of us do. Deborah Vinall, a licensed mental health therapist and doctor of psychology, says there are many reasons we do this:
• We struggle to set boundaries
• We want to please others, or keep up with others
• We want to feel busy, worthy, and important
• We have a sense of obligation and/or guilt
• We don’t want to miss out on anything
Whatever the reason, it leads to burnout and anxiety, not the success we think it does when we do it. I can tell you from personal experience, I’ve learned to hold some “downtime” on my calendar each week so that I can react to new opportunities that arise in my business or so I have capacity to adapt to something in my workflow that needs to change. In fact, productivity expert and author, Donna McGeorge, says leaders should focus much more on what she calls adaptive capacity, setting aside 15% of their time as “flex” time each week.
Pick how much of a buffer you want to plan into your calendar – but do pick up the habit. It’s time to replace FOMO with WOTTA (Windows Of Time To Adjust).
IMPERFECTIONS (a mistake many make)
I recently saw the brilliant Sean Hayes giving one of his Tony Award winning performances of Goodnight Oscar. He closes the play with the line, “Every man’s gotta play his own music.” It’s a reminder to us all of the importance of not making an all-too-common mistake in life – pursuing someone else’s definition of success, versus your own. It’s a soul-sucking journey if you’re traveling a path that’s not your own; if it isn’t filled with meaning and fulfillment along the way. “But,” you say, “I’ve gone too far down this path. Even if it’s not the path I truly want, I’ve taken too many steps – I can’t go back.”
I respectfully disagree.
Just ask (former) professional basketball player, Tyrell Terry, who finally reached the pinnacle of his profession, the NBA, then quit after playing 11 games because he realized it wasn’t his dream, it was someone else’s.
It’s not too late. If you’re not on the path you truly want to be on, redirect. After all, as I’m fond of saying, meaning starts with “me” for a reason.
IMPLEMENTATION (one research-backed strategy, tip, or tool)
Want to make lasting change in yourself? Remember this:
First, you form the habits. Then the habits form you.
This is a push to never underestimate the importance of creating habits if you want to create change. Habit-building guru James Clear says there are 4 Laws of Habit Change if you want to change behavior and create new habits. I’ll use my own habit of exercising regularly to illustrate.
1) Make it obvious. You need cues for when it’s time to practice that new behavior. For example, I want to exercise 6 days/week, so I identified a cue. Every afternoon, between 3 or 4, when my energy starts to wane from the day’s activities, I know it’s time to exercise. That’s my cue.
2) Make it attractive. Pair the new behavior you’re trying to ingrain with something you want/need to do. While I’m exercising on my recumbent bike, I stream something I’ve been wanting to watch.
3) Make it easy. This is about reducing friction, or obstacles in the way of habit building. The minute the cue kicks in that my energy is waning and it’s time for exercise, I immediately go into my home gym. I start doing weight work without even having my sneakers on yet, or water bottle filled. That way, I don’t think about how much I don’t want to exercise, I just start doing it. By the time I’m “ready” for exercising (sneaks on, water bottle filled, room fan turned on, etc.), I’m already well under way.
4) Make it satisfying. There should be some immediate reward for the new behavior, so you’re more likely to repeat it. After exercising, I shower and revel in how good I feel in those first few post exercise moments.