Every day is a new day. Put yesterday behind you and start out fresh. No grudges, no lingering stress, no bad memories – only the positive energy to move forward and seize the day. Ignore the past if you need to – whatever it takes to move forward with confidence and peace of mind. A fresh attitude and perspective can make a big difference in tackling life’s persisting problems. Get a good night sleep, forgive your past and face the day with the determination to make it a good one.
It’s good for you. Don’t take life so seriously. As far as we know, you’ve only got one – so don’t waste it with a straight face. Have fun, make fun and enjoy a great day!
Don’t waste time concerning yourself with the choices of others unless they affect the outcome of your own decisions. If you have no stake in the issue beyond your own opinion, opponents are far less likely to hear you. It’s not your problem, it’s theirs. By interfering, you make it your problem and cause undue stress for you and others. If you feel you do have stake in the issue, make sure your opponents understand what’s on the line for you so that you can increase your relevance in the matter. Don’t go to bat without something to swing or a game to lose. Otherwise, you’re just noise.
You know what’s terrifying? Abandoning work, teammates, income, bills, children, friends, pets, chores and other obligations for a week or more. Even more so terrifying to do all that and go to a place you’ve never been. Leaving town is easier for people with low-stakes employment, structured vacation time and a shorter list of things to abandon. It’s much more difficult for people entangled in their work or community. An executive responsible for hundreds of employees who depend on him or her may never feel comfortable leaving all that behind. It’s a scary thing. To take a vacation takes courage.
To take a true vacation takes even more courage. By ‘true vacation,’ I mean a designated period of time where you can completely let go. For people in control day-to-day, this can be as terrifying or more so than leaving everything behind. My father planned everything his entire life (he plans cities and suburban spaces for a living). Vacations were no different. When things didn’t go to plan, he’d stress out. Stress breaks the true vacation. As my parents upgraded to an empty nest, things got a little easier. The allure of short spontaneous trips popped up all the time. These days, I’d swear that my mom does more vacation planning than my dad. They are becoming notorious for randomly skipping town. Vegas here, New York there. More power to them.
Like defying your fear of heights by climbing a wall, it gets easier time after time. Overcome the first few trips and you start to overcome your hesitations. Before you know it, you’ll be a vacation master. Like anything else, mental health takes conditioning and practice. Vacations are big wins for your mental health.
Most people don’t mention the third part. You need to be vigilant about rest if you’re going to maintain a work hard play hard lifestyle. All three forces need to balance out for you to sustain a productive, fruitful and healthy life. Let me say that again: keep work, play and rest in balance in your life. Bedtime is a magical thing if you observe it regularly. Scheduled playtime and vacations really wake you up. Don’t let work suck you away. Save an equal amount of time and energy to live the good life and recharge your batteries while still getting things done.
You will burn your team out if you expect them to hold a breakneck pace all the time. Demanding consistent, consecutive sprints can only get your group so far. Before you know it, you’ll have a death march on your hands. I know some of the hardest working people alive and even they can’t keep it up forever.
As a manager, you need to pick one or the other: train for sprints or train for a marathon. If you want your team to run faster, make room for breathers in between runs. Expect regular half days or days off. Plan retreats. Schedule time for your people to recover. If you want your team to consistently deliver, you must manage a pace that can sustain itself. Steady days. Reasonable expectations. A full night’s sleep.
Neither is right or wrong. Some groups perform better as sprinters, others as marathon runners. It’s important to study your situation, listen to your team and coach accordingly.
…then say it. You will stress yourself out more by keeping it in. You will stress others out more by being passive aggressive and cryptic. You will waste time prolonging the inevitable, enduring unnecessary hardships or twisting the knot too tight. Before you open your mouth, you should always think about what you’re going to say and how you’re going to say it. But there’s never really a good reason to keep your mouth shut entirely. It’s important and therapeutic to speak your mind. It’s equally important to let others speak their minds as well.
Stress and impatience crescendos when met with more stress or impatience. Two impatient fools in a room don’t make a right. When your friend, spouse, child or boss unleash momentary wrath on you, you can fight back and feed the wrath – or go into monk mode and stay calm. If you enjoy conflict and saying things you don’t mean, go ahead and lift your verbal sword. Otherwise, be the better man or woman. Treat impatience with patience.
Or you will stand up and fight the good fight. Take the punches as they come. Press forward. Move on. Absorb the pain and let it make you stronger. Survive the assault and win. You can outlast pain if you chose to. Outlast heartbreak. Outlast stress. Outlast depression. You can come out on top. And when you do, nothing like it will slow you down ever again.
Time may not heal all wounds; endurance can.