We are living in a 24/7 world and work is becoming home and home is becoming work. As the boundary that separates these two worlds quickly disappears, we are losing sight of who we are, what really matters and what is important to us. If we are to keep the human spirit alive, then we must change the way we are living and we must achieve some sense of balance. Our self-image and ultimately, the quality of the life we lead, depends on it.
So what exactly do I mean by balance? Balance as we define it, is simply about living your life in alignment with your values, integrating your priorities and making time for the people and things, that matter most to you. In this respect, balance is uniquely defined by each and every person. However you define it, it is about self-leadership - something we all must strive for if we are to know what peace of mind is all about.
The following ten steps may help you along the way:
1. Clarify your values.
Take the time to ask yourself, two very key questions: Who am I? and What do I stand for? Your responses should define and reflect your core values and those core values should be integrated within every area of your life. If for example, respect and compassion are two of your core values, you have to ensure that those values are shared with your family, your colleagues and your clients. Failure to do so, will diminish your self-respect and that in turn, will diminish your ability to focus in the workplace.
2. Identify your priorities.
What is important to you - is it your health, family, friends, creativity, alone time, spirituality, personal development, community or your work? Write down everything that really matters to you in your life and schedule your time accordingly. Setting priorities will help you establish manageable boundaries that will allow you to achieve more balance in your life, overall.
3. Be committed to a healthy lifestyle.
Recognize that your health is your most valuable possession. We often take our health for granted until we receive a wake-up call. Invest in yourself by exercising a minimum of three to four times a week. Eat a healthy, balanced diet and drink plenty of water. A healthy lifestyle will reduce stress and provides you with more energy and an enhanced sense of well-being. In turn, you project your self-respect to the outside world and this translates into a positive attitude, stronger communication skills and better results, for you.
4. Make time to create wonderful memories with your family and friends.
When your personal life is rich, you create synergy in every area of your life. When we are in balance with our primary relationships, it spills into every other relationship in our lives. Most importantly, you will have the peace of mind that will allow you to be happier and more effective in the workplace.
5. Identify any unresolved conflicts that you may have in your life.
Though you may not realize it, unresolved conflicts will impact how you communicate with others and as well, hold you back from reaching your full potential. By taking responsibility for the role that you play in the conflict and by doing everything you can do to resolve it, peace of mind will not elude you. Recognize too, that the person you have the conflict with, may not be willing to look at it in which case, "the responsibility lies with the person who understands." You must be willing to forgive and move on.
6) Give back.
Take the time to make a difference in someone else's life. By reaching beyond ourselves to help others, we ignite the human spirit and in turn, add a greater sense of meaning and purpose to our daily lives. Think about how you may be able to help a colleague by sharing your experience and knowledge. Your giving will come back to you, tenfold.
7) Be committed to reaching your full potential.
Ask yourself what skills you need to enhance your credibility at work. What courses do you need to take? Are you presenting yourself in a way that commands respect? Do you treat everyone you meet with the same level of respect that you have for yourself? These are very important questions that when addressed, will have a profound impact on your personal and professional success.
8) Create a vision for your life.
Michelangelo was once asked how it was that he created a magnificent angel from a huge slab of marble and he replied, "It's really quite easy, I simply have a vision and I just chip away at everything that isn't angel." Having a vision for your life is about creating a mental picture of everything you would like to achieve in the future. When coaching our clients, we suggest that they project their lives ten years out, but that they write their vision, in the present tense. A written vision, though not cast in stone, engages the entire nervous system and inspires you to do the things and to set the goals that will make it a reality.
9) Set realistic and meaningful goals.
Your goals are the stepping stones toward your vision - they are your navigational tools that will take you to a specific destination in the future. In order to be inspired, your goals should begin with a verb and be specific and measurable. If one of your goals is to get fit and healthy, "get fit", is not a goal because it is not specific and it is not measurable. Instead, begin with "exercise three times a week, beginning July1, 2015." And just watch what happens.
10) Treat everyone, including yourself, with respect. Respect as we see it, is the glue that holds people, relationships, families and companies, together. When we respect ourselves and others, we influence the trust that we have for one another. When people feel respected, which is a basic human need, they are able to respond to one another in the same way. Take the initiative and lead by example - you'll be amazed at the results and you will inspire others to emulate you.
In closing, remember that we all deserve to bear the fruit and reap the rewards of our hard earned efforts. What makes it all worthwhile, however, is the knowledge of knowing that we have taken the time to integrate our priorities into our daily life. After all most people don't regret what they did do, they regret what they didn't do.
So with that thought in mind, recognize that balance is not simply something that you squeeze in when you have some downtime. Instead, it is a way of living that expresses your values and reflects your true identity and that is what gives meaning and purpose to your life. So why not take a leap of faith and consider incorporating these ten strategies into your life? If you do, you may not only reach your full potential, happiness, fulfillment and peace of mind, will not elude you. I wish you well on your journey.
©2015.Kimberley Richardson All rights reserved.
 Frank Raso - Co-founder Imagemakers International
The Gift of Forgiveness
"I'm not sitting across from her", I can remember her saying quietly, as she stood at the Christmas Dinner table. Recognizing the need to be comfortable, she quickly shifted her position so she wasn't forced to "look her in the eye", throughout the meal. Breathing a sigh of relief, she relaxed as did everyone else.
Aaah the family Christmas Dinner. We can laugh at this scenario because - let's be real - we've all been there. It's the place we not only gather for a great meal, it's the place that unresolved conflicts seem to rear their lovely and not-so-pretty heads. Tension and stress often builds, well in advance, as we do our best to be "civil" to one another. How sad I often think, that the very relationships that are meant to support and elevate us, often bring us down. Holding our spirits captive and deprived of joy, not only at Christmas, but throughout our lives.
Knowing this is something we have all faced and will face, what if we were to create a new tradition by giving the gift of forgiveness to ourselves and others?
Is Accountability the Key to Success?
"Accountability is about taking responsibility for our thoughts, feelings and actions and in turn, igniting our potential."
~ Imagemakers International
Over the past 18 years, the one question we've been often been asked is: "How do I get my people to be more accountable?" To answer that question, we would have to begin by asking their leaders how they actually define accountability. Having done so, the definition varies considerably from one person and one organization, to the next.
So what does accountability really mean and is it the key to success?
From our perspective, accountability is about taking responsibility for one's thoughts, feelings, actions and outcomes. It's about discovering who you are, building trust and cultivating respect and in turn, taking yourself and your life to a whole new level.
Here are a few more insights, that may help you achieve those goals:
1. Recognize what being unaccountable vs accountable looks and sounds like
People must appreciate that being accountable is not about fault or blame. Those who makes excuses or blame the past and/or other people for who they are and what they can and can not do, often see themselves as victims of circumstance. If you're someone who finds themselves asking questions like, "why do these things always happen to me?" or "who's to blame for this" or making a statement like, "it's not my fault that...", you may be living an unaccountable life . And if you are, you are holding yourself back from reaching your full potential.
By contrast, when you do take responsibility for your life and your actions and become accountable, you take yourself to a much higher level. When adversity happens, begin instead to ask questions like, "what can I learn from this", "what can I do differently next time" or "what internal resources do I have to overcome this?" When you do, you become a victor rather than a victim and this is key to reaching your full potential, building self-respect and earning the respect of others.
2. Do your part to inspire a learning culture.
The old school of leadership presented accountability from a fear-based perspective. ie. admitting a mistake meant "you're in trouble, you're wrong or worse case, you're next." How can anyone be inspired to learn from their mistakes when shame, embarrassment and a diminished human spirit is the outcome? Genuine leaders inspire a learning culture by approaching accountability from a much more human perspective. They help their people understand that making a mistake is not the end of the world, but rather an opportunity to learn and grow. The result: the individual's dignity is left intact, role models are created and innovation and creativity are unleashed. It only takes one person to set this example and when nurtured, it will begin to transform both the individual and the entire organization.
3. Bring out the best in others and reap the rewards.
One of our seminar participants recently told us that he'd had ten executive assistants in as many years. What does that say about him? Well, it's not what you think. When a mistake was made, he encouraged them to acknowledge it and said, "Let's fix it, learn and move on." As a result of his actions, he brought out the best in others and helped his people shine and guess what? Each of them did move on - they were all promoted and in very short order.
4. Demonstrate personal accountability so that others can follow your lead.
"Show me, don't tell me", was always one of my father's favourite expressions. Genuine leaders are wise to follow this advice and must lead by example. To be effective, they must ask themselves three important questions:
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©2014 Kimberley Richardson - Imagemakers International. All rights reserved.
Kimberley is an inspirational speaker, seminar leader and executive coach. She inspires people to become genuine leaders and in turn, the kind of person others are inspired to emulate.