Bringing Balance to a Chaotic Life By Chris Widener

“Time is free, but it’s priceless. You can’t own it, but you can use it. You can’t keep it, but you can spend it. Once you’ve lost it you can never get it back.” I love this quote by Harvey MacKay, one of my contemporaries in the author and motivational speaker space. It shows the value of time; the one thing we ALL have. What we do with it, now that makes the difference. How do we achieve balance and make the most of our time? Read on …..

Time is yours…Use It!
Chris Widener


 

If I had to make a composite question that gets at the heart of the question that I am asked most frequently, it would be this:

How can I manage my time more effectively and bring balance to my life in regard to work, family, friends, and social obligations?

With this in mind, I want to give us some thoughts to focus us in on the answer to that question.

I am convinced that the most important thing we must do is to be acutely aware of the reasons I should manage my time and bring balance to my life. In fact, most of us really know “how” to do it, don’t we? Then why don’t we? I think it comes to the issue of having a powerful motivating factor or reason. Below are two of mine that keep me motivated:

A life of accomplishment. When I am old and unable to get out with the young folks anymore, I want to be able to look back on my life and say that I accomplished much and that my life benefited others. That is why I do what I do now. It is what drives me to pursue what I pursue with a passion and vigor. It is why I bring my life into balance is many areas so I can achieve much in many areas.

A legacy. Here is a powerful motivating image that I picture with regularity: Picture a family gathering five years after your death. What will it look like? What will the people be talking about? How will they remember you? What will be the quality of their lives and how will you have been instrumental in that? These are questions that we can for the most part, answer now by how we live our lives (for better or for worse). Our lives make a difference in the lives of others! This is a tremendous reason to bring my life into balance!

Once we answer the “Why” question, and root it firmly in our minds and hearts, we come to the “hows.”

First, we sit down and prioritize. Have you ever taken a couple of hours and listed everything that you are involved in or could be involved in and then prioritized it by importance? You may come up with a hundred items but that is okay. You will want to separate them into some categories as well, such as Work, Family, Health, Friends, Hobbies, Spiritual, Financial, Intellectual, Emotional, etc.

Now you have something to look at and see what is important. This will help you in the process of eliminating areas from your life that you are spending time on that you shouldn’t be. And that is an important part: Frustration comes when we get involved in something that isn’t a priority and we kick ourselves the whole time we do it. If we stick to priorities, we eliminate much of that.

The next step is to learn the most powerful word in the human language: No. Just look in the mirror and practice saying that word with a smile on your face. This may be the most important part – learning to decline opportunity. It all depends on whether or not it fits in with our priorities.

Here is the principle that drives this:

Good is the enemy of the best.

There are lots of good things we can spend our time on. But because they replace those things that would be the best things we could spend our time on, they become our enemy. They become counter-productive to a successful and balanced life.

So ask yourself: Is this good? Or is it the best? Do the best you can to stick to the best!

Schedule your time. The more we fly by the seat of our pants, the more apt we are to lose control of our time. If we schedule out our time, we can become a bit more objective and bring our lives into balance. For example, you may make it your goal to be home by six o’clock every night. In your schedule book, you write in that you have an appointment at six. You schedule to leave the office at five-thirty. Now when a co-worker comes in with an “opportunity” for you to work on, you say, “Sorry, I have an appointment at six that I can’t break. Let’s get together on it first thing in the morning.” Scheduling your time, coupled with saying “no,” will do wonders for bringing your life into balance!

Another aspect for us to look at is the area of external pressure that causes us to be out of balance. For example, financial obligations may be what keep us working too much. So we should look at those obligations and see if we can eliminate or reduce them.

The last thing I would challenge you with is to give some thought as to what the secret pleasures of being out of balance may be. For example, sometimes we let ourselves over commit because we don’t like conflict. Peace is our secret pleasure.

Sometimes we allow ourselves to become out of balance because we like it when people say, “Boy, she sure is a dynamo. Look how busy she is.” Admiration from others is our secret pleasure.

In review:

  • Find the right reasons
  • Set priorities
  • Learn to say “no”
  • Understand that the good is the enemy of the best
  • Schedule your time
  • Manage External pressures
  • Be aware of internal “secret pleasures”

From Gold Medal Winner to Biggest Loser by John Maxwell

In 2000, Rulon Gardner experienced the thrill of his life when he stepped onto an Olympic podium to receive his gold medal. These days, the most thrilling moments for Gardner happen when he steps onto a scale to weigh himself. As a contestant on Biggest Loser, the former wrestler is grappling with the toughest foe he’s ever faced—obesity.

In 2004, Rulon Gardner weighed in at 265 pounds prior to capturing his second Olympic medal, a bronze, in Greco-Roman wrestling. However, after the conclusion of his wrestling career, the powerful athlete rapidly put on the pounds. In the course of launching his own business, a fitness center, Gardner neglected his personal fitness and ballooned to almost 500 pounds.

One evening, hours after being inducted into the national wrestling hall of fame, Gardner watched footage of the ceremony while chowing down on fast food in his hotel room. He hardly recognized himself on the television screen. Disgusted by the grossly obese man he saw, Gardner contacted Biggest Loser in an effort to get help.

To date, Gardner has made incredible strides on the show, shedding 132 pounds since his first weigh-in. What lessons can be learned from Gardner’s weight loss journey? First, we must have a purpose inspiring us to make a change. Second, to transform our lives, we must submit to an ongoing process of change. Finally, we must enlist other people to support us along the pathway of change.

Purpose

Unless you can see how making a change will improve the future, it’s difficult to find the motivation to adjust. A sense of purpose helps you to make the decision to change and gives you the energy to follow through on it. Once you have the big picture in mind, you’re able to endure the short-term pains of discipline.

For Rulon Gardner, the desire to have a family spurred his efforts to lose weight. He realized his love affair with food was preventing him from having the kind of relationship he wanted with his wife. In envisioning a contented household with children, Gardner found the purpose to motivate him to get in shape.

Process

Change involves more than desire; it requires commitment to a process. We cannot transform ourselves through sporadic effort. Life change happens strategically, by following a concrete plan.

Each week on Biggest Loser Rulon Gardner takes part in a training regimen designed to help him regain his health. His rigorous workout schedule is structured and tailored to his specific needs. When he enters the gym, there’s no question of what to do. Every minute of activity has been determined beforehand so that he can stay on track in his quest to lose weight.

People

As leaders, we can be stubbornly self-reliant. Nothing feels worse to us than being needy and helpless. Yet, our individual willpower eventually proves powerless to bring about the changes we hope to achieve. We have to realize our dependence on other people and lean on them for support in order to experience change.

Having been an Olympian, Rulon Gardner was well acquainted with fitness routines prior to appearing on Biggest Loser. Certainly, he also had a clear purpose for losing weight before joining the show. Yet, having a reason for change and knowing how to change were not enough to bring about change. The missing piece for Rulon Gardner was surrounding himself with people committed to helping him succeed. He needed trainers urging him to press on and teammates inspiring him not to give up. Only after he enlisted people to help him did Gardner begin to win the battle against obesity.

 

 

*Copyright 2011 The John Maxwell Company.  May not be reprinted or reproduced without written permission from The John Maxwell Company, except for brief quotations in critical reviews or articles.

Vitamins for the Mind by Jim Rohn

Discipline

Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.

We must all suffer from one of two pains: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. The difference is discipline weighs ounces while regret weighs tons.

All disciplines affect each other. Mistakenly the man says, “This is the only area where I let down.” Not true. Every let down affects the rest. Not to think so is naive.

Discipline is the foundation upon which all success is built. Lack of discipline inevitably leads to failure.

Discipline has within it the potential for creating future miracles.

The best time to set up a new discipline is when the idea is strong.

One discipline always leads to another discipline.

Affirmation without discipline is the beginning of delusion.

You don’t have to change that much for it to make a great deal of difference. A few simple disciplines can have a major impact on how your life works out in the next 90 days, let alone in the next 12 months or the next 3 years.

The least lack of discipline starts to erode our self-esteem.

Thinking Like a Farmer by Jim Rohn

One of the difficulties we face in our industrialized age is the fact we’ve lost our sense of seasons. Unlike the farmer whose priorities change with the seasons, we have become impervious to the natural rhythm of life. As a result, we have our priorities out of balance. Let me illustrate what I mean:

For a farmer, springtime is his most active time. It’s then when he must work around the clock, up before the sun and still toiling at the stroke of midnight. He must keep his equipment running at full capacity because he has but a small window of time for the planting of his crop. Eventually winter comes when there is less for him to do to keep him busy.

There is a lesson here. Learn to use the seasons of life. Decide when to pour it on and when to ease back, when to take advantage and when to let things ride. It’s easy to keep going from nine to five year in and year out and lose a natural sense of priorities and cycles. Don’t let one year blend into another in a seemingly endless parade of tasks and responsibilities. Keep your eye on your own seasons, lest you lose sight of value and substance.

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