Sustainability, Hamster Wheels, and Eating Cake

by Carl Massy.

As usual I like to write about the things that are most relevant or most common with the different clients I have been working with over the last few weeks.
The theme that has been most common is how to have a work / life balance, but more importantly, how they can sustain a joyful life over the long term.

It seems that everyone is in a rush. Sound familiar?

And it seems that the rushing thing is not sustainable if you actually want to enjoy your life at the same time as creating something great, or doing great or becoming great; and not fall over in a heap of fatigue, illness or burn out.

Hands up if you would actually like to enjoy this life thing more?

If you are in a rush, I am guessing that the enJOYment factor is not even close to the 10 out of 10 possibility. You are probably barely even getting a pass at 5 out of 10 on a daily basis. That sort of sucks a bit.

What I have been recommending in general:

1. Stop.
2. Step back.
3. Look at the big picture.
4. Get clear about what you want in the end.
5. Come up with a ‘sustainable’ plan to get there in a way that feels ok.

And to be even more specific and practical let me share my 3 tips of the day.

Tip 1: Make a choice

The choice I would encourage you to make, if you want to experience more ease, grace and more powerful results in life is to play a longer term game.

Does it really matter if you take 6-months longer to finish that project you are working on?
Will life end, as you know it, if you take a little bit longer?

Don’t get me wrong; I realise there is ‘some’ stuff that needs to get done ASAP. The common error I see in many clients is that EVERYTHING gets labelled with the ‘it needs to be done right friggin now’ sticker. Some stuff does need to be completed now, but some stuff can just wait.

So the second part of this choice Tip is really getting clear about what absolutely positively has to be done NOW, and what absolutely positively can be done next week, or next month, or next year.

My go-to tool for my clients, my business, and me now, is the very simple question…

It it ESSENTIAL or DESIRABLE for this to be completed NOW (or in the short-term)?

Put your energy into stuff that is essential for now.

For the stuff that does not need to be completed now, come up with an intelligent, strategic, sustainable, and manageable plan to achieve it. And if you are not great or capable of that, invest in some help.

Tip 2: Getting creative plus not trying to shovel in the whole cake at once

If you have read my tips, you have probably heard me talk about taking time out. Well let me say it again…

You do not come up with your most creative solutions while you are pumping out 120 rpm on the hamster wheel. Your brain is in survival mode on the hamster wheel. You are focused on sucking enough oxygen into your lungs. Not really the ideal situation for creative insights or good ideas.

You need to stop spinning on the hamster wheel. Then remove yourself from the hamster wheel. Then find a nice quiet space to allow your heartbeat to come back to a comfortable resting heart rate (and allow more oxygen into your upper brain).

Then, in this restive undistracted place, ask yourself a powerful question like:

How can I achieve (X), while not going bananas and having an enjoyable time along the way?

You also need to look at how you can break up the big goal into bite-sized pieces. If you try to take too big a bite, or shove the whole cake in your mouth at once, you are likely to choke, or suffer massive indigestion.

I spoke with a client recently who had a project set-up and ready to go for the last three years, but had not stepped over the line. The reason: she was trying to take too big a step right from the get-go. So she was freaking out and never got started. My solution was to show her how taking small steps would actually lead her to her desired end-goal, and would be sustainable and probably pretty fun on the way. In a year she would be where she wants to be – and not in the 4th year of paralysis before the starting line.

Get creative. Then take smaller consistent steps.

Tip 3: Chisel in downtime on your calendar

I know you know this.
But here is a question for you.

Do you have you marked out on a calendar (or a similar planning device) specific days and weeks for the next 6-12 months, where you will be having designated downtime?

The reality is that if you don’t carve time out for yourself you are likely to lose it. If you don’t SCHEDULE it or block it out, then something else will take up the space. And you end up back on the hamster wheel. And less likely to sustain a fulfilling, joyful and rewarding life.

And if you are in business, or own your own business, or are an entrepreneur, don’t think that taking time off from work is taking you backwards. Sometimes it is taking time out, and accessing a bit more creative thinking, that will leap-frog you to a much higher place then if you were doing the grind. It is like someone racing up the stairs in a high-rise parking lot, when all along there was a lift on the other side of the lot that would get them there faster and with less sweat marks under their arms. In their rush they missed it.

Take a holiday if you feel a little frayed around the edges.

The holiday could be a long-weekend (in the short-term), or several weeks in the long term.

Do yourself a favour. Take a break. Think SUSTAINABILITY.

Summary

Think SUSTAINABILITY.

Think about enjoying life. Get perspective on what is most important and make some smart choices. Or invest in some help.

Take a break from the hamster wheel and stop trying to stuff all the cake into your mouth at once.
Go on. Book that getaway. I hear Bali is a great place to visit.

Bon voyage.

Want help with getting clear about you path, priorities and a sustainable plan? Then get in contact. Just reply to this email or connect with me on Facebook or at The Practice. And for more in-depth training videos on coaching and traditional yoga, check out The Practice Online, which you can access a free 30-Day Trial, by clicking here

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