Don’t know where this month’s coaching letter is finding you, but I hope that you are looking forward to making the rest of the year something beautiful. A useful perspective is remembering that us humans are usually overestimating what we can get done in a week while at the same time underestimating what we can do in a year.
So, my intention this time is to give you something more than you just 5 minutes of inspirational reading. Maybe even something that gives you freedom where you have been stuck and a crucial step in the right direction for the rest of the year and beyond….
Your Life is a Masterpiece, discover it!
Quote of the month
" There is more to life than increasing its speed. "
- Mahatma Gandhi
Breaking free of stress?
Have you ever had one of those days where there just wasn’t enough time to get everything done? Might feel like somewhat of a redundant question in this day and age, when time wise, just about everyone feel like they wake up ”behind the eight ball” (if you don’t shoot pool it’s simply a metaphor for a less than desirable place to be).
Because if you set your mind to it you can pretty much every day come up with more things needed to be done than anyone can possibly do, right? So my next question is whether you think this is a source of stress? Now, that question probably seems equally redundant since most of us has connected a busy schedule to our stress level. If you have too much to do you are stressed – period.
Considering that very few of us ever question the validity of that connection this everyday story might be worth reflecting on. A while ago I came rushing in the door at our usual salad place. Had to catch my breath a little as I picked up our take-away lunch salad. Getting the kids to school, personal coaching sessions running over time, computers refusing to work etc. left precious little time for having any lunch at all.
As the girl at the cashier put our salads on the counter she put on a concerned face and said: – Stressful day today? When I answered: – Not really, you don’t have to be stressed just because you have to do things fast… her concerned face shifted to being genuinely puzzled instead. Since she couldn’t quite make sense of my statement she just answered: – That answer is sooooo you… and then she shouted to my back, as I was already on my way out the door: – … but try and calm down before you eat because stress is bad for your digestion.
Well, I am no more of a mind reader than you are, but to me her answer implied that she thought that it was mostly a chipper comment from the ”positive thinking coach” that eats here every week. To say something quotable with a wink in the eye doesn’t change the fact that you are stressed when you are in such ”I want it done yesterday”-hurry that you are running to get your lunch.
On my way back to the office that unspoken ”truth” sat there gnawing on my mind. Most people do have an unassailable causation between ”too much” and stress. Same as athletes seem to have a connection between pressure and how ”big” the competition is. Or quality of vacation time and amount of sunlight. Money and how secure you feel. If only we could tweak our circumstances the feeling would be so different.
There are so many examples of this view of the world that we take them for granted. In an old interview with George Clooney floated up from the back of my mind as I was contemplating this at a red light. Durin an interview to promote the movie Gravity he was asked what was the hardest part of the filming. His answer felt important in this context: To realistically portray weightlessness. Turns out that to do this in a believable way you have to move very slowly and deliberately, but still talk at a normal rate. George said it was harder than you might think as it took him a couple of weeks to get a feel for it…
In other words, even a seasoned actor like Mr. Clooney had trouble separating the speed of his body from the speed of his speech. He finally got it, and, as those of you who have seen the movie can attest to the result is quite convincing. I hope you can be equally convinced that there is something to be won by separating the speed of our lives from our level of stress. Understanding that the feeling is coming from the speed and quality of your thinking rather than from speed at which you are moving through life is helpful, no matter what part you are playing. Naturally, that isn’t to say that slowing down and taking things easy is a bad thing. But not to reduce stress, but because it is generally a good idea.
As soon as you realize that the bond that seemed to be there between your circumstances and your feelings isn’t there, the need to cut it disappears. Nothing left to manage or fix. If it lands in that kind of insight for you then this coaching letter is far from the tips and advice that you need to work on, think about and apply. All of a sudden you start seeing where you have been connecting things that really aren’t connected.
No need to avoid ”stressful projects” or using tools to calm down. You can compete equally well at the club championship and during the World Championships. Have fun even during the ”bad weather” days of your vacation, enjoying a warm feeling inside even when your kids are screaming and misbehaving, ask someone to hurry up without irritation even when your late and other previously unthinkable possibilities. Fact is, you might discover that you are living in completely different world even though nothing on the outside has changed…
I had no idea that there were someone else coaching athletes in the much the same way as I until I read this book. I had it recommended to me and you will see why when you read it. Insights into bringing out your best self is jumping out from every page. So, it doesn’t matter if you’re an athlete, a parent, a CEO – if you’re looking for a book that really gives you insights that can change both your performance and your entire outlook on life, then this is it.
You can find more books under Suggested Reading
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As an integral part of living my vision "to inspire, educate and make a difference in enough peoples private and professional lives to make a positive difference in the world", I write and distribute a free monthly coaching letter. In these I share various ideas, thoughts and insights that I think can be of value for all of you who are interested in getting the absolute best out of life.Read more