Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Living with Intention

As a coach I have the privilege of seeing incredible changes in the lives of my clients as they begin to live with more intention. It is quite fun for me to see each person set and accomplish more goals, live with more enthusiasm and ultimately have a deeper sense that life is good. But what really stands out the most for me is how the level of courage and the size of the goals for each client continue to increase. In every case these individuals dream bigger and bite off larger chunks of life as the months pass. I've recently considered documenting this because of the impact I think it would have on others.

If parts of your life feel out of control it may because you lack intention in those areas. Just pick an area and decide what you could do to live more intentionally. Then set some short-term goals and find someone to be accountable to for those goals. Like my clients, I think you'll find that the results can be quite exciting.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Sleepless Teens and Hypertension

In a recent health study on teens, a lack of sleep continues to be one of our society's major health concerns. This latest study, according to the Case School of Medicine, links a lack of sleep in teens ages 13-16 to a greater risk of hypertension. Teens who slept fewer than 6 1/2 hours a night had more than twice the risk of high blood pressure and those with troubled sleep had more than triple the risk. High blood pressure can damage arteries and kidneys, causing stroke, kidney disease and other illnesses. Dr. Susan Redline stated, "Part of the problem is the technological invasion of the bedroom with computers, cell phones and music,". This study recommends a minimum of 9 hours of sleep each night for teens of this age, which is right in line with the other studies I've seen.

How long are we going to ignore this problem? What could our motive possibly be for allowing our children to suffer like this? Personally, I'm amazed at the number of families I know who's children are up until 10:30 or 11:00 at night during the school year. And we wonder why our test scores are down in our country. We must take steps to reverse this and other unhealthy trends in America.

Here are a few ideas to help you provide optimum sleep care for your teens.
-Don't let your kids eat late at night. Their bodies won't rest as well when they're spending energy digesting food.
-Don't let your kids use the telephone, mp3 player, hand-held video game system, or do homework right before bed. This stimulation only postpones going to sleep it doesn't promote it.
-Do spend time conversing with your children after school or at the dinner table. This provides them with the opportunity to express and process their stresses and fears so they won't take them to bed at night.
-Do establish a consistent bedtime. The human body can be trained by repeating patterned behavior.
-Do encourage your children to wind-down with meditation or prayer before bed. These behaviors will help clear their minds of clutter.

Our job as a parent isn't about being our kids best friend. Our focus should be on equipping them physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually for their future. Sending our children into adulthood stressed out, obese, and socially inept is like sending a 6th grader to college. They would have little to no chance of success because they haven’t completed their foundational training.

Children need and like boundaries even though they are constantly challenging them. It provides the stability they need.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Multitasking and Mediocrity

In our world of excess we are often made to believe that the ability to multitask somehow makes us more valuable. I’d like to challenge you to examine that more closely.

As a coach who helps people get the most out of life, most of my clients say they want more quality in life. I can’t recall even one instance of someone wanting to add more quantity. What I hear most often is, “I feel mediocre in every part of my life” or “I’m stretched so thin that I don’t feel like anything in my life is excellent."

The solution to this problem is simple in concept but will certainly challenge us in application. The principle of doing less to achieve more seems counterintuitive. But, that is exactly what turns my clients around. When they create their to-do lists through the filter of their core values, and don't let the tyranny of the urgent dictate their behaviors, they quickly realize a greater sense of excellence in their lives.

I’m not saying that we won’t ever have to multitask. But, if you want more quality in your life at home and at work, and especially in your relationships, moderate your multitasking. (I don’t know anyone who feels valued when the person their talking with isn’t giving them their full attention) Be intentional about aligning your behavior with your values, and do less to achieve more.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

5 Steps to Better Life Balance

I recently gave a Life Balance presentation for a group of teachers in our school district. In that short presentation I offered 5 key points to better life balance-

1. Have an attitude of excellence. In all that you do, from simple mundane tasks to your greatest goals, have an attitude of excellence. Without focused effort to improve your life you'll never achieve excellence. The "just get by" attitude is too prevalent in our society. People spend too much effort hiding their weaknesses instead of being authentic and acknowledging them. Everyone has weaknesses, so get over it. Build on your strengths and tackle your key shortcomings with an attitude of excellence.

That brings me to the second point-
2. Learn to say no. Excellence is found by filtering your decision making through your core values and establishing priorities. Too many committees, too many volunteer groups, too much multitasking leads to mediocrity. The "jack of all, master of none" life doesn't lead to excellence and fulfillment. Ask anyone who excels in what they do and they'll all answer "it takes focus". Do less to accomplish more.

3. Find a vocation that you are passionate about. One of the areas I spend the most time coaching around is work/vocation. More than 50% of our society dislike what they do for work. Yet they are typically not the ones that come to me for coaching. The people I career coach with are the individuals who have made up their mind to pursue what they love. They want to figure out the best way to continue moving in the right direction. Look at it this way, a life of loving your work is worth the pain and difficulty of achieving it.

4. Make time to play. This is so simple yet it gets left out more than anything else. You can't expect to perform at your peak if you never schedule time to recharge your batteries. And I'm not talking about a vacation once a year. I'm talking about finding time to play every day. Make a list of the activities that feed you and find ways to fit them in daily. Example- I really enjoy reading and learning, so I schedule time to read, and I schedule it right before I'm going to do something that sucks energy from me. That way it doesn't seem so bad because I've just fed my person.

This takes us to the last point.
5. Find scheduling that works for you. I have a wife and children so I understand the need to sacrifice and know I can't have everything my way. However, it is still vital that I exercise point 2 and come up with a creative schedule that works balance into my life. After all, I'm no good to anyone if I'm tired and lacking focus and enthusiasm. People in my life know that I am going to disappoint them sometimes by not being at their beckon call. But they also know that when I'm with them I won't be multitasking. I will be fully present.

A life in balance impacts many.