Living versus Existing
Hey, where are the pumpkins?? The red barns?? The mugs of apple cider?? Well…as much as I love all of those things, I decided that you’re probably inundated with pumpkin-this and pumpkin-that from just about everywhere.
So let’s skip the Octoberfest glitz and jump right in…reflection question: are you a product of your choices or outcomes? You may need to grab a second cup of coffee (or pumpkin latte) for this month’s newsletter because we are going DEEP! We’re going to explore whether you are LIVING your life or if you are existing through it. And of course, I’m going to share some tips that you can apply to move toward LIVING if you’re not already there! If you ARE there…these tips will boost your levels of satisfaction, fulfillment and joy
The term “engagement” has a lot of definitions, especially when used in ‘corporate-speak.’ You may hear this term applied to the level of active involvement on the part of employees and leaders with the company’s projects, mission, vision, etc. For our purposes, let’s focus on Mindful Engagement. Simply put, this is the act of being fully attentive in the moment. That moment could be a business meeting, a phone conversation, chatting with your spouse or family over dinner, or even an activity such as driving home. The key to LIVING life is to practice more being and less doing.
Let’s face it, we can all be found guilty of multi-tasking. The problem is that many people have allowed multi-tasking to be their default. There’s a mistaken perception that busy = productive. The result is that some merely EXIST through life, moving quickly and mindlessly from one event to another, from one conversation to another, from one activity to another. This addiction to busy-ness leaves most people drained, joyless, mentally fatigued, and deprived of meaningful relationships. Have you ever pulled into the driveway and realized that you don’t really remember the drive home? Been to your child’s game unable to keep your phone in your pocket? Have you seen parents sitting in the bleachers on their phones, iPAD’s or even laptops?? How about cars veering in and out of their lane because the driver’s texting? Or, have you been in a meeting or conversation but your mind was somewhere else? These are all symptoms of an addiction…to superficial living…to existing.
On the flip side, practicing Mindful Engagement puts you on the path of LIVING life, experiencing it with your five senses, relishing the moments! When you are fully attentive, wholly engaged in each moment, life brings forth an abundance of sensations to take in and enjoy. Even during challenging times, being mindfully engaged enables you to choose how to process what you are experiencing and ultimately, choose how to think, feel and act regarding that experience. Those who embrace this mindset report increased levels of satisfaction in all areas of life.
I asked you earlier to reflect on the question: are you a product of your choices or outcomes. Choices = on the path of Mindful Engagement. Outcomes = on the path of thoughtless existing. Which path are you on? Which path do you want to be on?
Tips to get on, or stay on, the path of Mindful Engagement:
1. Pay attention. On your next routine drive, take a different path without using your GPS. Yes, go old-school! On the route, notice your surroundings. Share your observations with your spouse, significant other, or friend.
2. Awaken your senses. In your next activity, whether it’s a meeting, conversation, exercise, drive, walking the dog, etc., focus on your five senses during the activity. What are you observing? What sounds do you hear? What aromas (or odors) are tickling your nose? What are you savoring? What is your skin sensing?
3. Connect with Others. Pick a conversation to practice acknowledging what the other person is saying. You don’t have to agree or disagree with their point; simply acknowledge that you heard them. “What I hear you saying is” Don’t just repeat their words, use your intuition to play back what you believe they are really saying.
4. Bookend your day. Start your day, as soon as you get out of bed, by clearing your mind and setting your intentions for the day. This is NOT writing a mental to-do list. It IS thinking about one to three ways that you plan to show up to reach your goals for the day. If you find it difficult to avoid the to-do tendency, simply begin your day with some deep breaths and recite an affirmation or gratitude out loud. That evening, before bedtime, take five minutes to reflect on the highlights of the day and identify at least one thing that you learned. The focus for this reflection is growth, learning and improvement.
Trust me, LIVING is so much better than EXISTING! Implement one or ideally all of the above tips every day and you will unleash the amazing joy that has always been waiting for you!
References: iPEC, the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching; The Art of Noticing, by Rob Walker.
Energy Leadership at PMI-KC
Learn the basics of Energy Leadership in the comfort of your home! Register now for the October 10th PMI-KC Virtual Chapter meeting where you’ll hear me talk about the two types of energy that exists within us all, as well as the 7 Levels (or perspectives) of Energy. Gain knowledge and tips that you can immediately apply to boost your leadership influence and effectiveness. Bonus, earn PDU’s to maintain your PMP certification!
Your Body is a Reflection of your Lifestyle
Remember the old saying “you are what you eat?” Turns out, it’s very true! If your body were a billboard that advertises your lifestyle, what would it say? What images would be on it?
Don’t panic, I’m not advocating that you give up hamburgers and beer! I’m talking about your overall level of nutrition and fitness. Is your nutrition mostly on point with an occasional burger, pizza or taco? Or does the latter make up most of your diet? Are you elevating your heart rate at least three times per week or is the most exercise that your body experiences when you lug the groceries in from the car to the kitchen?
The truth is that nutrition comprises 70% of weight loss and weight management. According to www.worldobesity.org, the United States ranks 14th in obesity prevalence world-wide! We are a first world nation and we rank 14th out of 200!! Holy guacamole! Now to be fair, this isn’t just an issue of eating too much fast food. It’s also eating too much processed food; basically anything that comes in a box or bag that was manufactured.
The common complaint that I hear from my wellness clients regarding their nutrition is that they don’t have time to meal prep. I completely understand that! I’ll take it a step further…I personally hate the activity of meal prepping. So what’s a person to do? Back to our first world status, there are plenty of organic and nutritious home delivery businesses that work within most any family’s budget. Remember my earlier point about mindset; you CAN eat more healthfully and do so efficiently. You just have to make that choice!
Well wait, you may be thinking…my labs were fairly good at my last physical so why should I change my lifestyle? Think of it this way…do you wait until the oil light comes on in your car before you change the oil? Do you wait until the check engine light comes on before you have your car serviced? The same approach applies to your health and fitness. If you wait until your labs indicate that you have an issue, you are already in dire straights. Why take that risk?
So before you punt to January because you think that Thanksgiving and Christmas are not good times to eat more healthfully, go back and re-read the section above about LIVING versus EXISTING. There is no better time than right now to start LIVING! This isn’t about dieting or depriving. This is about choosing whole foods, good fuel for your mind and body!
One simple action you can take TODAY
Read the label of the food you are about to purchase. Avoid foods that have chemicals in them, HFCS, or are high in sodium or have added sugars. Connect with me to learn more beyond this first simple action by clicking the button at the bottom of this newsletter.
The health and fitness journey is easier when you are in a group of like-minded folks; especially when the group is focused on positive support and having fun along the way! Click on the image to join my (free) Fierce, Fit & Fun Bod Group which I lead on the Beachbody App. It is a private group, no fear of trolls or random strangers attacking your posts.
Choose to LIVE, embrace life, and thrive every day, including every holiday! Rise above the masses that merely EXIST. You got this!
BE the Change You want to SEE!