4 Excellent life lessons every high achiever should know!
Goal setting is something many people do usually at the end of every year.
I don’t know about you but maybe you are a bit like me. Nearing the end of the year, every year, I spend some time looking back on the year and reflecting on what have I learned, what was my contribution to this world and how can I improve next year. This is how I decide what goals are important to me going forward.
Four lessons I have learned over the past year:
One big lesson was:
How to become more grateful.
This was not always easy for me, especially when life got tough this year. 2016 was a challenging year for me in many areas of my life. Professionally I took on one of the biggest projects of my entire career and I’m so thankful to have had a team of people who helped me through this. Personally, I struggled with family issues that have proven to test my resilience, faith and patience but have been all worth the effort. Spiritually I have grown in ways I never thought I would, learning from my coach and other mentors.
For me, being grateful is easy when things are going well, but what about when things are not going my way? Practicing things I’m grateful for, helps me to think about good things.
I make a point of practicing being grateful first thing in the morning and just before I fall asleep at night.
Really, before I even leap out of bed. I take just a couple of minutes to think of 5-10 things I am grateful for.
When I began this my mind would often begin to race in a negative direction. Thoughts would come up immediately like I’m still tired, I did not get enough sleep, I have so much work to do, I need a vacation, there is so much to learn everyday and on and on these negative thoughts would begin…. BUT I AM LEARNING TO SHUT THEM DOWN FAST! (NOTE: I’m still in the learning phase)
We are all in control of our own thoughts and man, I was not about to allow my brain to just keep doing whatever it felt like doing, taking me down a dark and deep rabbit hole with no light at the end of this tunnel.
What I have learned is the more I spend time practicing being grateful for what I have now, the more I find it easier to find things I’m grateful for.
To be honest, when I started doing this in the morning all I could think of was the warm bed, cozy blankets, peaceful feeling I was having. I then started to add my husband and his support, my children(grandchildren) and their smiles and love, my job and the laughter and fulfillment I always feel when helping someone else feel better….and now, with practice, this 5 minutes’ in the morning, flies by and it’s full of great things I am grateful for.
Each night before I go to bed I also try (I’m not perfect, I don’t always remember when I’m tired because I can fall asleep in two minutes) to do this again based on the day’s activities. It’s a great way to go into sleep at night.
Try it and see if it helps you to start to temper down those negative thoughts. It really helps me to see and feel lighter and more joyful about the world in general.
Another big lesson for me was to:
Practice living in the moment, NOW!
One of my biggest challenges is staying in the moment. A few years back I started to learn the value of living from one moment to the next, and this year I intentionally tried to live moment by moment, more often.
In my job, I’m often planning education programs that are going to take place in the future for students. I project my thoughts and ideas off into a future time and spend time envisioning what that looks like and then write down all the details so it can happen in the future for students.
Planning these programs and event means I spend a lot of time thinking about the future and not a lot of time living in the present moment.
What about you? How often in one day are you working on something that is not happening now? Something that may or may not happen in the future or what about thinking about the past?
When I am planning these programs I also do a lot of reflecting on past projects, what worked, what did not, how can this one take in all that worked, etc. I’m reliving the past. That’s a lot of time in the future and or in the past…. what about NOW?
For me, I found just learning to practice being present in the moment, is refreshing and wonderful.
Last nights Christmas concert for my Grandson was so awesome and I found myself spending time in the present, listening to all the singing the children practiced, for our entertainment, it was awesome. They were all so great!
Living in the moment, takes practice.
For me, one way I purposely practice living in the present moment is by using a technique I learned called mindfulness training or simply being aware of what I am thinking.
Learning how to become aware of your present state of mind is now being taught in school to preschoolers and has been proven to help them learn to manage their stress levels better from a very young age. Where was all of this when I was growing up?
Living in the present moment is one way to stay in a mindful state. Not thinking about what you are going to do in 5 minutes even, just what you are doing RIGHT NOW.
Maybe, try this simple exercise:
Simply, stop what you are doing, and breath.
Close your eyes, take a deep breath in (inhale right down into your belly), then let it out (blow out your breath hard if you like, it feels great). Take another deep breath in…and let it out. Take one more deep breath in….and let it out.
Now, YAWN (Yes, I said yawn). If you don’t feel like yawning fake it. Yawn again. One more time, take a deep yawn (you may find after three times you will start to want to yawn). Yawn one more time and now as you yawn, slowly move your head around. Very slowly, either in a circle or anyway that feels right for you. But do it slowly and continue to yawn. Keep yawning and moving your head and shoulders, and if you feel like it slowly move your whole body, one area at a time. Do it with our eyes closed it helps to keep your mind focused on the moment you are in.
Continue this exercise if you want, to help you begin to relax, how long you do this is up to you.
I like to do it once every hour for just 5 minutes or so, just to get centred and bring myself back into the present moment.
As you do this simple exercise you will find you will probably not be thinking of anything else beside yawning and moving your body slowly. This mindfulness exercise has been proven to help your brain to calm down. It has helped me when I am suffering with anxiety or feeling overwhelmed. The more anxious I feel the more often practicing mindful techniques help me.
Another way to get into the moment is to go for a walk and simply breath in the fresh air.
Breathing in and smelling what you are breathing, like home cooked food, baking, fresh grass that was just cut, ocean sea salt water, your favorite perfume, other smells you love, smells will help you stay living in the moment.
Even better yet taste some of that great food you are smelling. Take your time. Saviour every bite. Try even letting out a sigh and a big wow this is so…. delicious.
While you are walking or even just sitting, just listen. Make a point of listening to the sounds around you. If you have a bell of some kind, practice ringing the bell and then just listening to the sound of the bell if you possibly can.
These simple techniques help you to appreciate your surrounding, the moments you are in and the joy the world brings. (Hint: it will also help you to think of what else to be grateful for).
My Third Lesson was:
Learning how to become more socially mindful
I wanted to become more socially mindful of others. Being grateful more often was a great start.
Doing random acts of kindness. Paying the bill for the person behind me in the drive thru at the coffee shop.
Calling students out of the blue just to see how I could help them with what they were working on in their program.
Emailing ideas and sharing new things I have learned to my friends and family.
Posting more positive and up lifting things on social media.
Sharing more job postings and career opportunities daily with as many people as I could.
Stopping to help people living on the street. Striking up conversations with strangers who just seemed to need to have someone to listen to them.
I even started Lifeskills4employment community. This community is open for sharing not only from me but from others. By sharing with others what we have learned and reflecting on what works, slowly, we will all learn from each other. My dream is if we learn to share, we can all learn how to be more socially mindful to each other.
Giving my time for Indigenous women in need. Women struggling with violence, domestic abuse, the sex trade, poor self-esteem, working on projects for the future of Indigenous women and mothers…it seems be turning into a social cause. for me
By purposely spending time working on being more socially mindful I found myself feeling more empathy for others, more patient, easier on myself, wanting to help others at a deeper level, and even searching for more ways to be more socially aware and mindful. This will continue as a lesson I want to get better at going forward.
My fourth big lesson was:
Keep on giving, failing forward if that’s what happens, but stay living on purpose.
I worked on some very difficult projects and had some challenging teamwork this year. Some projects have worked out and have been very successful and others I have not seen a lot of results from yet.
The one lesson I have learned from all of this is to learn from every project I work on and keep living my life on purpose. My purpose. What I believe in my heart I’m meant to do.
To live on purpose, I find I ask myself a lot of questions: What did I give? What did I do well? How could I have improved? Did I give it my all? Do I still love what I am doing daily?
Often, I find myself failing, sometime it seems more often than I succeed, but as I look back over 2016, I have been extremely fortunate. Big thanks go out to my husband, family, friends and clients.
I live my life doing what I love to do everyday, working with some great teams (too many to mention personally but you know who you are, thanks), learning along the way (even through the tough lessons), and realizing that the more I give the more I get.
The opposite is also true as well.
GIVE GOOD THINGS AND YOU WILL RECEIVE BACK GOOD THINGS IN RETURN (maybe not exactly when you want them to happen but they will happen, just keep your mind positive.)
What is something you have done for others that you are proud of? Please leave a comment below or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
"Judy Michaud is the author of Planning To Get Anything You Want, a FREE eBook you can download instantly to learn how to achieve amazing results both in your work and your personal life. Not only will you get more of what you want in your life you will have more time enjoy it. Check out our home page for access to this great resource.