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Go Ahead, Have Some Breathing Space

When you carve out a few moments of breathing space for yourself, the world is a different place

Go Ahead, Have Some Breathing Space

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Thank goodness, it’s Saturday. 2021 is in progress with more challenges than we each anticipated, but what would it be like to be beamed back to 1821 with your battery-powered tablet or cell phone? No one would know anything about these devices. You might be deemed a sorcerer or a witch. Today, we know that much of what we do not understand or cannot see exists, i.e., ultrasonic waves, TV remote controls, smartphones, SONAR, RADAR, and CAT scans to name a few of 1000s of examples.

Suppose you were beamed to the year 2031 and told that you could handle all of the information confronting you, never need to feel behind, and feel the clock slowing down. What’s more, suppose you were told there was no reason to have headaches, or that you could approach nearly everything in your career with grace. Would this be sorcery? Not really, because each of these capabilities are possible today.

Future Capabilities

What would your life be like if you had the ability to drop back when you wanted or needed to do so? To have time for true rest and relaxation? To have time for quiet reflection? While no one lives a life with constant breathing space, there are some among us who recognize the limits of our days, weeks, years, careers, and lives, versus the infinity of that which competes for our time and attention.

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Even in tough situations, if you have a vivid portrayal of what you face, you can map out an approach that will bring you to higher ground.

During the darkest days of World War II, London endured the fire-bombing Blitzkrieg and many citizens feared they would become slaves to the brutal Third Reich. Winston Churchill assessed this ultimate challenge, and concluded what he had to do to be triumphant: Drag the Americans into the war, at least via means of wartime production of armaments. He then proceeded to do precisely that.

Likewise, most of the concerns that you face in your career or your life are not insurmountable, although they might be annoying and relentless. To have breathing space, in requires continual effort. You wouldn’t take a bath once a week whether you needed it or not; you clean yourself often. So it is with having breathing space.

Creating a Little Heaven on Earth

Despite the pace of change and the constant development of technology, all the info that confronts you on a daily basis, and everything that competes for your time and attention, you have the opportunity to remain resilient.

When you carve out a few moments of breathing space for yourself, the world is a different place; it’s not so hectic. Often, things work out for the best. You have a sense of being in charge, independent of your surroundings.

The feeling of being in control of your life, while acknowledging that you’re a small factor in the overall scheme of life, enhances your daily experience of the world around you.

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Jeff Davidson is the world's only holder of the title "The Work-Life Balance Expert®" as awarded by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. He is the premier thought leader on work-life balance, integration, and harmony. Jeff speaks to organizations that seek to enhance their overall productivity by improving the effectiveness of their people. He is the author of Breathing Space, Simpler Living, Dial it Down, and Everyday Project Management. Visit www.BreathingSpace.com for more information on Jeff's keynote speeches and seminars, including: Managing the Pace with Grace® * Achieving Work-Life Balance™ * Managing Information and Communication Overload®



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Life

Opportune Times for Self-Renewal

Certain circumstances present themselves as chances to renew your life

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With the last ten weeks of the year often comes reflections on the year that has passed as well as new insights and perspectives. On the professional front, you might encounter career milestones, such as a big pay increase, appointment to a special/high office, or election as an officer in your professional association or group.

You might be interviewed by a national publication, have your biographical information published in a “Who’s Who” type listing. At such times, you might find yourself naturally inclined to entertain self-renewal: a rethinking of who you are, where you are, and where you want to be.

Milestones for the Taking

Non-career-related milestones that encourage self-renewal include an invitation to be on a special committee supporting your town council, a request for your written opinion from your local newspaper about a community issue, or a decision by a literary magazine to publish your poem. Whenever any of these kinds of events occur, given the new situation, you might find it fitting and appropriate to re-examine your life.

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Also evaluate personal milestones in your life. For example, a four-year scholarship could mean that, instead of your son or daughter working the summer before entering college, the whole family can go on an extended vacation.

Before and After a Mate Change

If you’re in a relationship, particularly a long-term one, and it ends, whether your heart is slightly broken or seemingly crushed beyond repair, life moves on. Having your significant other leave you is a difficult change to endure. Even if you initiated the breakup, the loss of a significant other can profoundly impact you.

Many psychologists believe that we need to learn certain lessons, so we attract partners that will help us learn such lessons. Some people believe we are attracted to others who seemingly have what we lack, so in our quest to be complete, we want relationships with these people to complete us.

Whether or not you’ve recently found someone new or you’re in a long-term relationship, you have the opportunity to view your mate in a new light. Perhaps it’s time to talk about how your relationship will be in the coming month, year, or five years.

If you’re in that in-between time, looking for somebody and not sure when and where he or she will appear, then think about what you’re seeking in your next relationship.

Age Milestones

Another useful factor in terms of self-renewal is age. The mere fact that you turn 30 or 40 might be enough of an incentive for you to buckle down and try something new. A birthday ending in zero is a huge event. When you turn 30, 40, 50, or 60, you’ve passed a stage in life you’ll never pass again. It is a great time to clear out the old and bring in the new things in your life.

Age 40 has traditionally been a milestone, as in the expression “life begins at 40.” Age 65 is a traditional retirement age. Age 80, becoming an octogenarian, is, in recent decades, held as a rite of passage. Age 90 is even more exclusive.

Wedding anniversaries are also milestones in your life. Each anniversary represents the opportunity for self-renewal. A 25th anniversary is certainly notable, and every five-year interval after that is admirable. Fiftieth anniversaries are rare, but you may be among the lucky few.

Opportunities Abound

Take the opportunity to renew yourself during passages through your own life cycle. Consider the opportunities for self-renewal before and after moving, when changing a job, or when changing a mate. Also, identify and acknowledge career and personal milestones that you can use to establish new ideas for your life.

Circumstances consistently present themselves as chances to renew your life. It is up to you to take advantage of them.

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Business

The People Who Size You up Instantly

Beware of people who conveniently assess what you need, while missing the boat about their own needs

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I went to a social gathering and, arriving early, few others had arrived. So I took out my notepad and pen, and leisurely started making notes. A lady who saw me, asked what I was writing, which, of course, could be either a friendly way to start a conversation, or intrusive, depending on your point of view. I took it as the former, and shared with her my predisposition to take notes outside of my office where I generate ideas that don’t readily emerge at my desk.

Apparently my explanation was not satisfactory for her. In rapid succession she told me, ‘You need to get a drink. (Actually, I don’t drink.) You should to stop making notes. You ought to relax. (Making notes is relaxing to me.) You need to get a life.’

Paradoxically, I am the author of the books, Breathing Space and Simpler Living, and the audiobook, Get a Life. I also own the registered trademarks for the programs, Relaxing at High Speed and Managing the Pace With Grace. I have delivered 1,060 lectures on these topics for three decades.

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Quick and Wrong

It’s beyond strange when someone at a social gathering, in such short order, will assess what I need to do, with one pronouncement after another. When told that I needed to relax, I said, “If I was any more relaxed, I’d fall asleep.”

I came away from that experience recognizing that people who will readily tell you what you need are the ones who need what they’re telling you. You might have noticed a somewhat similar phenomenon in the workplace.

Suppose you work in a company that is crowded, noisy, and busy almost all the time. However, in your own office or cubicle, whichever the case might be, you’re able to maintain order.

Perhaps you have installed some sound barriers, if that is appropriate, and have crafted a workspace where you can get things done. People who walk by notice that your office equipment, resources, and possessions are organized. Guess what? Some office mates won’t tell you this, but they are uncomfortable with your organizing skills.

If they could find a simple way to articulate it, they would tell you, “Loosen up.” You don’t need to be so neat and orderly.” Why are they itching to tell you this? Because your level of organization makes them feel inadequate.

Be Like Me, I’ll Feel Better

Much like the lady at the social gathering, who told me ‘what I needed,’ some people in your immediate environment, in observing your capacity for taking charge of your space, and perhaps noting your higher-than-average level of productivity, would rather that you acted and proceeded in a different way. You might not hear that from them, but that is some might be thinking.

Beware of those people who so conveniently assess what you need, while completely missing the boat about their own needs. They fail to realize that what they’re telling you, is probably what they need to address for themselves.

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