I am happy to share I have really been enjoying my new found empowerment and freedom.
And it has been reaping rewards: the checklist is looking great:
- completely overhauled my diet and eating habits
- established healthy sleeping patterns
- developed powerful morning and evening routines
- fighting back against my chronic fatigue Syndrome and getting more exercise while maintaining new push/crash boundaries
- and of course the big one; leaving my 30-year corporate IT career to start my own coaching business.
That’s nuts, right?
I Have Arrived
Have you guys noticed this? It seems like every time I start thinking “I have arrived” I am soon after humbled by the realization that there is ALWAYS a “next thing”?
Allow me to explain
Part of my morning routine is to set balanced and reasonable expectations for the day, and my evening routine looks back over the day to make sure I stayed true to that plan.
However, over the last several days, I have been solely focused on my new business, from early morning into the late-night hours. I’ve been “in the zone” cranking out tons of content on The Life Mastery Series program.
So much so, that my morning and evening routines have been truncated or even skipped completely. Each morning I moved straight to the keyboard, painting my thoughts onto blank white canvas, turning them into grand masterpieces (in my mind anyway) and being so tired each night that I would hit the pillow completely spent.
A younger man could likely maintain that level of… commitment?… obsession?… drive?… not sure what the right word is there… but being in my 50’s and still working towards undoing the physical damage that decades of poor self-care manifested; I can’t.
But I have learned that a key component to Life Mastery is Self Mastery.
And a key component of Self Mastery is Self Awareness.
And a key component to Self Awareness is Self Acceptance.
Gone are the days of Self Condemnation, when I would look at some mistake or lack of action and spend the nightly recap being Self Critical over falling into old patterns or “wasting the day”.
Instead, I now choose to frame everything in life as “knowledge gained” and with that, the sense of wholeness, contentment, self-worth, and inner-peace has had fertile soil to flourish.
We are always only discovering what works and what doesn’t.
Heck, other people are human and will make mistakes and let us down; and so am I… and so do I… welcome to the human condition.
That is easy to say, but I had that play out in an unexpected way.
I sat down two nights ago and looked over my Life Balance Checklist and this is what I found.
Clearly, not much balance there, and I found myself starting to get self-critical.
But here is where the magic happened. and why I had to share this with you guys.
Because of my difficult childhood and gaining the false belief that no matter what I do it is never enough; I realized early on that my ultimate priority is NO SELF CRITICISM.
But yet, here I was, living out of balance. Clearly, I lost vision right, I’m obsessing in one area and the other areas are suffering, I’m blowin’ it, right?
Rebalanced Living Begins With A Rebalanced Focus
I had to get off the self-criticism train before I could recognize that the last several days have been HUGELY successful. I was experiencing a season of massive productivity on the new program that I’m working on.
I was writing more than 5000 words a day, I converted each lesson into a podcast, laid down intro and outro music tracks on each and then uploaded into the program database and wrote page content for each lesson.
What the heck, that is Superman status in a writer/podcast world. I did 4 complete entries in 4 days, from initial concept to editing and posting. That is nearly a full month of publishable content productivity in a span of only 4 days…
… and I’m being self-critical because I’m “out of balance”??!?!?!
It wasn’t until I got my weekly Grammarly update which stated I was more productive than 99% of other Grammarly users, that I realized my expectations were what’s out of balance, not my productivity focus!
That Life Balance Checklist should have looked more like
Under my original perspective, all I saw was a sea of red boxes, a 75% failure rate; what I failed to see was that the green checkmarks were HUGE.
I was devaluing my progress. I was intentionally sabotaging my wellness by searching for some criteria to criticize myself.
Another aspect of growing in our Self Mastery in pursuit of Life Mastery is to make sure we are trying to solve the correct problems.
I believed that not only was a balanced life one of the keys to a successful life, flipping that meant if I wasn’t living a balanced life then I’m not being successful.
The problem was, my view was too narrow and my precepts were wrong
Having properly identified the areas of life that are important to me, I felt I needed a green checkmark next to them all, every day, with few exceptions.
I have disagreed with the huge philosophical movement that says having a balanced life is a myth.
I maintain that life balance is absolutely critical if we want to experience a deep sense of wholeness and fulfillment.
Many times the problems are not that we are missing out on success, it is that we define success improperly.
Being that I made huge progress on my business in such a short amount of time now means I can focus on recreation and relationships for a couple days.
This is an entrepreneurial mindset that I never realized existed; that time management when working in corporate America is very different from time management when you are your own boss.
If you are working 60+ hours a week for someone else then you are forced to cram in the rest of your life in the margins, evenings and weekends. And with such little time left it is critical to ensure that in the few hours you have you need to hit on all cylinders of your balance worksheet.
That does make balance a misnomer because working for someone else makes time a mostly non-negotiable commodity… they own you.
The Good News – I Am Still Balanced
So sure, it was 4 days of manic OCD type behavior, but that is wonderful. To be “in-state” or “in-flow” for 4 days in a row and knock out so many needle-moving activities is spectacular!
I will now take the needed time to re-incorporate the other areas, no harm, no foul.
So what does this have to do with exposing weakness? Great question!!
Without an intentional and honest assessment of what isn’t working, we simply can’t develop an effective growth plan, either personally or in business.
My growth this time came in the form of humility. I had to admit that my weakness was not life imbalance and just trying harder.
My issue was my old nemesis self-condemnation and perfectionism; it was listening to the voice that says “you may be doing a lot, but you aren’t doing enough” or “you aren’t doing the right stuff”
The bottom line is, the verify definition of growth or pursuing success is that “we make progress”. That’s it!
If perfectionism is still a struggle for you, know this: the only outcomes can be giving up because you can never achieve it, or burning out and dying miserably.
Pride, fear, ego, control, expectations, limiting beliefs, unhelpful thinking patterns like living-in-the-extremes… these are all character defects that try to re-define success by setting the bar juuuuuuust outside of our reach; therefore making us feel defeated when we are actually being successful.
Recognizing those faulty beliefs or reframing unreasonable expectations and getting back to loving ourselves and staying the course is what facilitates growth, and it is an indispensable ingredient of success.
Success is not something we are chasing, it is something we live out daily
My success came in recognizing that my OCD served me great when channeled into business or health or relationships, but it serves me poorly in the area of self-critique because it feeds my disease of perfectionism.
So, instead of believing my growth was temporarily derailed by living imbalanced and dropping the ball, I now believe I grew personally through gaining greater self-awareness and I’m thrilled about my business progress.
It’s a win-win. I didn’t have to change my gameplan, I just needed to change my perspective.
Can you relate to this topic?
How do you leverage your weaknesses into next-level strengths?
Join the conversation, add your voice to the comments section below.
My desire for LMP (The Life Mastery Project) is to create a fully-engaged community of overcomers who share their experience, strength, and victories with each other
Let’s Do This!
Certified Life Coach & NLP Practitioner
Founder of Nikaos Strategic Coaching
Developer of The Life Mastery Project