Pause Gem #43 – You Matter: A Pep Talk

Pause Gems-wReflection & Action: Attention over-extended, over-achievers.

Yeah, you! If you’re the one with the endless list of things to do. The one who always volunteers for that last minute job, chairs the committees, works the extra shifts, hauls the kids, hosts the socials, and generally goes the extra mile!

Yeah, you! If you’re the one who puts yourself at the bottom of those lists in invisible ink. The one who makes sure everybody else leaves on time, remembers their vitamins, books their vacations, and gets those pats on the back.

Might you be feeling just a tad overwhelmed by all you’ve undertaken or a tad under-valued from being taken for granted?

Well, stop right there! It’s time for a glance in the mirror and a heart to heart chat!

Whether you realize it or not, you matter! And not just because of all you do in support of those around you. You matter simply because you are who you are and you’re here. And, by the way, in case you missed the memo – you are enough!

Whether you hear it from others or not – you do make a difference in the lives of those around you. Just don’t be making that contribution from a feeling of lack, an overactive sense of duty, nor at the expense of your own wellbeing! Take care of you, too! Take time to be with you, too.

What to do with this reminder? Read More…

Posted under Appreciation, Life Balance, Life in General, Overload & Overwhelm, Pause E-zines, Wellness

Pause Gem #42 – Less Really Can Mean More

Pause Gems-wReflection & Action: Several times over the years, I’ve created lists of things I might like to Do, Be and Have. The current lingo would label it a Vision Board (thank you, Oprah) or a Bucket List (thank you, Jack Nicholson). No matter what you call it, the exercise creates a set of intentions and desires for the future.

What was of interest to me on a recent round of inquiry was what showed up in the ‘What I’d Like To Have’ column. In my earlier days, I found it easy to come up with a lengthy list of possessions that I imagined might somehow make my life better.

However, on this particular day, the very first entry – top of the list – popped out without hesitation. What would I most like to have? Less stuff!

The idea of more stuff has less and less appeal. I’ve taken that insight to heart and I’m sifting stuff, ditching junk, and clearing space.

Old magazines. Gone! Outdated software disks and manuals. Gone! Home decorations that have lost their appeal. Gone! That mountain of cardboard boxes saved just in case they might be needed. Gone!

The garbage bin is brimming and the recycling bin is bursting. The Salvation Army Thrift Shop folks were beaming with my first delivery of six boxes and a suitcase full of stuff.

Are you looking to lighten up? Read More…

Posted under Life Balance, Life in General, Overload & Overwhelm, Pause E-zines

Pause Gem #41 – Al Desko or Al Fresko?

Pause Gems-wReflection & Action If you’re reading this on Wednesday morning, you still have time to make a date for lunch. Why do I mention it? Because it turns out that an astounding number of folks are eating Al Desko and not Al Fresko.

A recent poll found that 60 percent of workers eat lunch at their desks every day, while two thirds take less than half their entitled lunch hour. A quick math check shows those people are working (or at least sitting in front of their computers) an extra 128 hours (or 16 eight hour days) a year.

We’re discovering more all the time about the physical risks of too much sitting and too much desk time. When we closet ourselves away – brain glued to screen and bum to chair – we end up numb on both ends.

Move around mid-day and you clear out the mental cobwebs and top the energy tank. You’ll return to your afternoon tasks with a fresh mind and body.

What’s keeping us glued to our chairs? Read More…

Posted under Life Balance, Overload & Overwhelm, Pause E-zines, Wellness

Pause Gem #40 – So, Are You Happy?

Pause Gems-wReflection & Action: There’s nothing like a good question to draw attention to what makes life worthwhile. And, for the record, that question is NOT: “So, are you busy?”

Far too many conversations in our stressed out, revved up world start just that way. We connect with a colleague at work, bump into an old friend at the grocery store, or meet a neighbor on the street. Before we even think about it, we’re automatically asking, “So, are you busy?”

It’s a question that usually generates a lengthy recounting of activities done and undone. Recounting the proverbial to do list seems to be a common way to establish our value and justify our existence on the planet.

Oddly enough, when you ask people to consider what really matters in life, the things that show up most frequently tend not to be the things that populate their to do lists.

What’s most meaningful and energizing relates more to the big picture issues: relationships and adventures, or a deep sense of connectedness and purpose.

If that is where more meaning lives, why not change the focus of our conversations? Why not start asking each other these questions instead: Read More…

Posted under Appreciation, Life Balance, Overload & Overwhelm, Pause E-zines, Wellness

Pause Gem #39 – Who Needs A Mental Wealth Break?

Pause Gems-wReflection & Action: I’d had a busy couple of weeks with projects, commitments and deadlines on every front. When the calendar cleared one day last week, I decided to pause and step away for a mental wealth day. That’s the kind of day when you focus on making a few sizable deposits in the sanity bank account.

I spent ten minutes in the office, cleared a few urgent messages, put an away message on my phone, and settled in to enjoy the open space.

As the day unfolded, I puttered in the garden, visited on the street with several of the neighbors, lunched in the sun on the back deck, napped in the hammock, chatted by phone with several family members, and enjoyed the fish in the pond and the birds in the trees.

A greeting card from my sister arrived in the mail that morning and set the tone for the day. The front cover featured a figure reclining in a hammock under a palm tree with these words: “Nowhere to go and all day to get there….” That became my mantra for the day!

I love that sentiment, it’s such a contrast to what we are more likely to experience in our everyday lives: “Everywhere to go and no time to get there!”

One of the most popular delusions in today’s world is the belief that we cannot step away from our responsibilities – that without our constant vigilance the world will come to a grinding halt. It just ain’t so! Read More…

Posted under Appreciation, Life Balance, Life in General, Overload & Overwhelm, Pause E-zines, Wellness

Pause Gem #38 – Could It Be Your Lucky Day?

Pause Gems-wReflection & Action:  It was bright and early Sunday morning, and our then four year old grandson was on the other end of the phone – brimming with enthusiasm and bubbling over with news.

“Guess what I’m having for breakfast? Toast with jam and TWO slices of cheese. Orange and white cheese – marble cheese. Marble, that’s funny! And, Mommy made me a Smoothie, too. It is SO good. And, you know what she bought me yesterday at the grocery store? Cheese strings. THOSE are my favorite. And, I’m watching the Cat In The Hat video. And he’s bouncing on the bed. I like to do that, too. AND, I get to go swimming today! I am having a VERY Lucky Day!”

That nonstop monologue turned MY groggy morning into a very Lucky Day. How can you NOT smile in the face of that kind of exuberance?

Enthusiasm is infectious. And if you have to come down with something, enthusiasm beats other viruses, hands down!

There’s no doubt, as adults, we have serious things to deal with. Yet, there are times when I know I complicate my life more than is necessary. Maybe you do, too. Read More…

Posted under Appreciation, Life in General, Pause E-zines

Pause Gem #37 – Small Steps Matter

Pause Gems-wEditor’s Note: For the remainder of the summer, your weekly Pause blog postings will feature the ‘Best of Pause’. These are readers’ favorite messages from the earlier years of the Pause e-zine.

Whether you are a long time subscriber, or new to our list, I sincerely hope you enjoy these messages. Come September, your messages will once again feature all new info and resources.

 

Reflection & Action: It’s in a backward glance that the patterns often appear. As I think about many things that have unfolded in my own life, I can usually pinpoint one action or one choice that steered me in certain directions.

Saying yes to a summer job my first year of University introduced me to a line of work that ended up changing my college major in the near term, and my career direction over the long haul.

Agreeing to a coffee date with a classmate at University led me to meet and later marry the love of my life.

Writing a letter to the editor of our daily newspaper led to an invitation to write a column, which in turn launched a weekly writing habit that led to publishing the first of five books.

First steps can point us in many directions. Some lead to an uphill climb and others to a downhill slide. Much of life’s progress or regress boils down to our moment by moment choices and actions.

So, here’s the thing. Read More…

Posted under Life in General, Pause E-zines

PAUSE – 16.21 – The Powerful Impact Of Powering Down

RenewalReflection:  Better focus? Greater health and well-being? More creative thoughts? Could you use more of these?

According to recent research by the Energy Project and Harvard Business Review, they’re easier to access than you might think. Just step away from the work.

The study showed that employees who break every 90 minutes to pulse between work and renewal report:

  • 28% better focus
  • 30% greater health and well-being, and a
  • 40% increase in creative thinking

This is just one more in a long series of research findings that confirm this fact: time out delivers a significant return on investment!

 

Action: Adopting this practice and reaping the rewards takes shifting from intention to action.

It’s easy to get caught up in the flow and frenzy of the work, and overlook the breaks. Use a timer reminder on your calendar. Set it to ring at 90 minute intervals. Add software to your computer that will interrupt you on a schedule of your choice to invite you to stretch and move.

Then choose a renewing pause – one that honors what you need at the time:

  • If you’re sitting, movement and stretching are good.
  • If you’re stuck indoors, a little fresh air will help.
  • If you’re holed up working solo, a bit of social interaction may help.
  • If you’re wrangling with serious issues, humor can lighten the mood.
  • If you’re surrounded by people, solo time can reset your equilibrium.

Build in the breaks. Choose a contrasting experience. And, you’ll be well on your way to experiencing the powerful impact of powering down. Read More…

Posted under Life Balance, Overload & Overwhelm, Pause E-zines, Wellness

PAUSE – 16.20 – Are You Standing Up & Stepping Out?

Abstract - Time To Start Something New-w

 

My Thoughts:

As I grow older, I seem to become less concerned about knowing how things will end before I commit to a start.

Maybe I’m more confident in my ability to handle whatever comes up.

Or maybe I’ve realized that imagining I control the outcomes is mostly an illusion anyway.

I do know that I’ve been around the block enough times to realize that the sheer act of beginning something new opens doors and invites possibilities that are never apparent when you’re hunkered down on the sidelines wondering, ‘Should I…?’

 

Your Thoughts:

Are you toying with trying something new? Why not find a low risk way to stand up, step out, and test the waters?

Let yourself be surprised and amazed. And, let me know how it goes!

 

 

News Notes:

It’s just over a year since I stood up and stepped out to explore the challenges of mid life malaise. Some of you will remember responding to a survey on that topic in early 2015.

Since then, I’ve used the results of that research to craft a variety of programs on Rekindling Spark – Navigating Mid Life Malaise. Over the last six months, I’ve designed and delivered a Ted Talk, a conference keynote, a follow up breakout session, and a half day seminar.

There’s nothing like stepping out and testing new material to see if it makes a contribution and a difference. And, this most certainly does. Read More…

Posted under Appreciation, Life Balance, Life in General, Pause Poster Message, Spark/Malaise, Wellness

PAUSE – 16.19 – Might You Need to Recalibrate Success?

Step to Success-wReflection: Funny creatures we are – us human beings! Sometimes me thinks we thinks too much! Cogitating on this! Judging that! Setting implausible expectations!

A speaker colleague of mine, Ron Culberson, recently observed in his blog post on significance that he feared his Success Meter was not calibrated properly. (Read more about his observations in today’s Resource of the Week link).

By way of example, he reports feeling like he’s failed if, by end of day, he hasn’t done something that registers somewhere between noteworthy and stupendous. I’ve been there myself. Have you?

Last week I spoke for the Spiritual Care Association of Saskatchewan. This is a group of people who face really tough situations every single day.

They provide support for individuals and their families when the prospects for a long life or a speedy recovery are just not there. It’s emotionally demanding work – often with no practical, tangible way to ‘solve the problem’ or ‘make things right’.

In many of those tough, end-of-life moments, it’s simply their presence that they can offer. There’s nothing to be done except be there and be available. And, you know what? That counts a lot.

 

Action: Are there days when your expectations take a crazymaking tilt? Are there days when you stomp on yourself for falling short of your aspirations? Read More…

Posted under Appreciation, Life Balance, Life in General, Overload & Overwhelm, Pause E-zines, Wellness