Honestly, this has been a tough year. Amidst some personal struggles, the last kid flying the coop, an illness with someone close to me and a much expanded role in my professional life – my world has been somewhat off the rails for some time. In reflection, I am kind of surprised I have held it together.
For the bulk of my life, I have found myself in the position of counselor and confidant to most of my friends and family. I suppose this is probably because I am a good listener, I don’t judge and my advice, when asked for, is pretty common sense. While gentle, sugar coating is not my style. In addition, I am the planner and organizer for everything. Busy is my middle name. On the flip side of that coin, I rarely share or discuss my problems with anyone else and I have a difficult time relaxing and taking care of myself.
I recently took a much needed vacation to visit my son in Hawaii. While I have done my fair share of traveling in the last couple years, almost all of it has been work related and rewarding but not really down time.
It surprised me, when I separated myself from day-to-day life, just how much I needed this time to disconnect, relax, reflect and refocus for the journey going forward. In the process, I learned a few lessons and realized I just may need to take some of the advice that I often give to others.
In this crazy busy world with all of the expectations that are heaped upon us, we are forgetting to take care of ourselves. We are forgetting to live a life that serves us and makes us happy. We are forgetting to feed our souls and pursue our dreams because we are always trying to please others or fit into somebody else’s box. We are not doing anyone any good in the process.
There is something truly magical about the beauty of a white sandy beach, palm trees and the sounds of the ocean. A few realizations came to me during my time in paradise:
- Nobody around me is going to be happy until I am happy, even if that means not meeting others expectations.
- I don’t have to say yes to everything. While it is flattering for people to want your help, it is important to realize that you can’t do everything.
- People are not always who you thought they were and they will let you down.
- Time for fun is absolutely and completely crucial.
- Your true friends are golden and those friendships must be a priority. They will likely be your lifesavers when you need them.
- Real alone time is imperative for any kind of sanity. You cannot gain any good perspective on anything without taking the time to evaluate and deal with issues in your own head.
- Good communication is critical. Assumptions and misunderstandings are a road to disaster.
- Living a life of purpose and passion is the only thing you should be doing. If you have that and serve it unconditionally, the rest will fall into place.
- Be yourself. The people who gel with the authentic you will be the people you need and want in your life.
- Let go and love. All the way.
Even though this has been rather difficult to write, I realize that this is good advice for anyone so I am choosing to share it anyway.
I recently posted this motto on Twitter: Big Life, Big Work, Big Love!
Am I living it?
I am on my way and you should be too!