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The Power of Living in the Present

Seek to embody the message that you wish to impart to others

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I ballooned up to 202 pounds years back and couldn’t stand it. I had been 182 for most of my adult life and felt comfortable at that weight. As a professional speaker, travelling the country speaking to groups, it was important for me to “walk my talk,” every minute of the day.

To optimally influence others, I decided to embody the message that I was verbally disseminating. If people were to believe me, that they could in fact win back their time, I needed to show up in the present as someone who looked like he had won his time back.

Embodying the Message

Here is what embodying the message I wished to impart specifically meant for me:

* Maintaining my ideal weight of 182 pounds.
* Wear no watch. If I have appointments I simply make sure I’m near a timepiece.
* Staying off most mailing lists, except for the few that matter.
* Supplying business reply envelopes to others to ensure their ability of interacting with me.
* Pausing for at least ten minutes each day to stop, collect my thoughts, and take a deep breath.
* Avoiding television and electronic addiction; recognizing that a walk outdoors, talking to a good friend, reading, and other activities are more rewarding.
* Keeping letters and correspondence to one page or, at worst, both sides of the same sheet of paper.
* Doing one thing at a time. I don’t eat while I read, doodle while I talk on the phone, or give divided attention while in conversation.

Rationalizing = Ineffectiveness

As I began speaking to more groups, it became easy for me to rationalize that my normal exercise routine would be disrupted when traveling, and that it was okay for me to wait until I got back home.

The groups to whom I spoke covered my meals on the road, and often had huge luncheons or dinner banquets. It was easy to tank-up on great food, and rationalize that eating was part of the job.

While becoming more successful as a speaker, I had to devise a plan for staying fit both on the road and in between. I had to do so as to not experience hunger cravings, resort to diet pills, or make extreme sacrifices. In the present, in real time, I would honor my weigh and fitness related goals

Action Steps

Here’s a brief description of the six key action steps that enabled me to stay in shape and have more energy day in and day out:

1. Exercise a Little, Every Day. I learned a tip from a friend who is trim and toned. He makes it a rule to exercise for at least some portion of each day, even if it’s only a 15 minute walk around the block.

Some exercising each day is not just a good idea, it becomes a challenge for you to find ways to work out in confined areas. Suppose you’re stuck in a small city, in a hotel without athletic facilities, and there’s a thundering rainstorm outside. The test becomes using the hotel’s hallways, or even your own hotel room as your gym.

2. Use my Hotel Room as a Health Club. When you check into your hotel, ask for a non-smoking room on a non-smoking floor. You get your best exercise in rooms where nicotine does not infiltrate the carpets and curtains. You also want to ask if the hotel has a health club, pool, or other type of exercise facility. If they do, great. If not, it’s easy to use your hotel room for your workout.

When I check into hotels I often ask if a third-floor room is available (If there’s ever a fire I could jump or climb down). Staying on lower floors prompts me to take the stairs more often than usual – I feel guilty taking the elevator to go up a floor or two.

Walking up and down stairs is excellent exercise that gives a good workout to muscles in your back, derriere, and legs. Don’t use the stairs when you’re toting luggage, but once you put the luggage down, use the stairs as often as you can.

When it comes to TV, workout while you watch. Run in place, do arm circles, or squats. If you’ve ever taken an aerobics class, you know a variety of exercises that you can do in a four-foot square space.

3. Patronize the Hotel Health Club. If the hotel has a health club, then you have more tools at your convenience. The treadmills and bike machines are great for warm-ups; in each case you can start at slow speed. While exercising on the road, keep any health club workout light. This is not the time to try to break endurance records.

4. Walk the Halls. When the hotel has no health club facility, walk the halls or, if the weather is favorable, the grounds of the hotel facility. In many cases, a couple times around the block will give you 15 minutes of solid walking.

If you’re near a supermarket or neighborhood shopping center, or better yet, a large shopping mall, you can easily spend an hour walking up and down the aisles and hallways. Don’t stop to linger too much to look at the goods; your goal is to stay in motion.

5. Using Airports as Your Playground. Suppose you have a layover in an airport for an hour and 45 minutes. Check your largest bag, or all your bags, so you’re unencumbered. One of the great advantages of airports is that there are lots of people to see and shops to pass by.

6. Break the Cycle. When you work out vigorously for hours on end like many people in health clubs do, you might fall into a cycle that is somewhat hard to undo:

* Dehydration, so you fill up on water
* Hunger, so you fill up on food
* Weariness, so you get a lot of rest

You wake up the next day hungry and thirsty again, and can end up overeating as a result of your vigorous workouts. When you simply walk, do calisthenics in front of the TV, and pursue other methods of light exercising, you never face the dehydration, hunger, and tiredness cycle.

I was able to drop 21 pounds with no hunger cravings whatsoever, and without tiredness. It felt natural, it was relatively easy, and now I don’t know how I ever let myself balloon up to 202.

A New Beginning

With my new-found energy, I began playing basketball with 18 to 24 year-olds, and walking the historic parts of cities where I speak. All my clothes fit, people routinely mistook me for someone several years younger, and I felt great.

Your goal now is to pick something you wish to master and create measures for proceeding now, as you day and life unfold. Based on the measures that you choose, and the particular circumstances of your life, your plan will be different from someone else’s.

The plan will work best if you can initiate a part of it everyday. Here are reinforcement techniques:

* Seek others with goals similar to yours.
* Post reinforcing statements and reminders in view.
* Record affirming statements on cassette.
* Determine any cash outlays in advance.
* Take bite-size action steps.
* Have someone waiting to hear of your progress.
* Envision yourself succeeding.
* Plot your plan on the calendar starting from the end date.
* Build in some flexibility.

There are people who live in the present. These people can open the mail and deal with it when it arrives, respond to phone calls as they occur, and depart from the office each evening at a reasonable hour.

People who live in the present have a life after work, and take vacations. There’s no reason you can’t be one of these people.

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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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Education

Putting North Carolina Public Education Back on Track  

With Michelle Morrow’s leadership, North Carolina public schools can be better equipped to educate and inspire today’s students.

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It’s no secret to conservatives that the nation’s children, every single one of them, are at risk. In the main, not for reasons malnutrition, growing up in a tough neighborhood, or having toxic parents. The risk that all kids face today is the potential to be indoctrinated in public schools by their own teachers, teacher’s aides, and administrators.

America’s Children Are under Siege

Some school districts in America, are populated by boards of education, principals, and school administrators who think it is their sacred duty to indoctrinate children, exposing them to all manner of adult and sex-related topics long before any child should be. As such, they usurp the rights of parents and guardians.

Nowhere is this more evident than in North Carolina where 23% of all kindergarten through 12th-grade students are enrolled in either a charter school or private school, or study at home, and the percentage increase in these three options is 84% over the last 11 years. Why? Parents want to determine the best educational options for their own children and they don’t believe that North Carolina public schools are doing an adequate job.

Fortunately, one candidate running for NC superintendent of public instruction means to the state’s education programs back on track. Her name is Michelle Morrow, and she is a personal dynamo whose grasp on the issues is outstanding.

First and foremost, Morrow advocates having safe schools with a culture of academic achievement and civility. If it takes having a security guard in every single school throughout the state to ensure the safety of children attending class as well as teachers and school staff, Morrow is all for it.

She believes that schools should be the safest buildings in the state. Alas, they are not. In North Carolina, school crime and violence increased a whopping 84% in just the past five years. The top three crimes being reported include drug use, weapons possession, and assault – even assault of teachers.

An Advocate for What Counts

As the NC superintendent of public instruction, Morrow will support fair and effective policies that both deter crime and promote classroom civility. She’ll be a strong advocate for teachers’ rights to employ fair and reasonable measures to manage their classrooms as they see fit.

Morrow will insist on parent-friendly schools, recognizing that a child’s academic performance often hinges on the vital partnership between teachers and parents. In too many schools throughout the state, parents are kept completely in the dark about medical treatments and, surprisingly, even academic performance.

Some children are forced to take surveys requiring them to reveal details of their sexual habits and mental state, and schools employ such data to monitor, diagnose, and treat psychological issues. Parents alone, however, have the right to make medical decisions in relation to their children’s health and well-being. Government sponsored data collection needs to end. Morrow will enforce a Parents’ Bill of Rights to ensure that families are protected and that parents have dominion over their own children.

Back to the Basics

Academic achievement has suffered for years on end in North Carolina’s kindergarten through 12th grade classrooms. A staggering one-quarter of eighth graders cannot meet national math, science, or reading standards. Test scores throughout North Carolina reveal that more than 800 schools are under-performing.

As superintendent, Morrow will be focused on ensuring that all the money earmarked for education actually makes its way to the classroom. She will ensure that schools focus on teaching science, math, reading, and real history. She will advocate for small group tutoring when needed by students who are not performing well, and touting for those who are doing exceedingly well and can do even better.

Morrow recognizes that the government in Washington, D.C., has no business in the education of North Carolina students. Parents are not co-parenting with the federal government. The programs and policies that politicians and special interest groups attempt to impose on North Carolina schools must come to an end, and any interference in teaching core academics must cease immediately.

As such, Morrow will sever the ties with public interest groups while helping to strengthen local school districts’ ability to employ proven teaching methods, with the goal of enhancing core academic achievement.

The Big Picture

Morrow will seek to enhance national unity and patriotism. Too many students throughout North Carolina are subjected to one-sided history lessons that portray America as an oppressive, racist, unredeemable nation. Some schools go so far as to stereotype their students and inform them that, as a result of their ethnicity, sexuality, or religion, they are oppressors.

This one-sided, warped view of humanity and method of education must end. Instead of dividing students, Morrow will seek to foster unity and understanding. America is an exceptional country. While every country faces challenges, ours in particular has been fair, compassionate, and forward thinking in recent years.

With Morrow’s leadership, North Carolina schools can be better equipped to educate and inspire the next generation who will become the leaders of our great nation.

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Business

Bite-Sized Motivation

The insights or wisdom we need to get us going often don’t have to be more than a few words

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* * *

I’ve spoken to 1075 audiences at conventions, conferences, and meetings, and have had the opportunity to hear probably 800 other speakers as well.

The insights, perspectives, or wisdom we need, to get us going often don’t have to be more than a few words. Here are 52 of my own six word “speeches,” drawn from my keynotes and breakout session on the topic of work-life balance. Some of these likely will resonate with you:

Choose from what you already have.
Everyone needs breathing space, especially you.
Information overload obscures meaning and relevance.
Deep breathes are essential for well-being.

Make every day an organized day.
Allow your natural rhythms to rule.
Stay confident and in control daily.
Manage your time, manage your life.

Slow down to plot your course.
Look for the best in others.
Make yourself indispensable on the job.
Compete with yourself, not with others.

Learn to take control of today.
Manage your time to make time.
Take control of your desk clutter.
You’re the best when you’re fresh.

Do something to take control now.
Major projects often require a jumpstart.
Methodically pare down your paper piles.
Don’t attempt too much at once.

Evaluate your situation and what’s important.
Narrow your priorities to stay focused.
Avoid making promises you can’t keep.
Learn to embrace your many talents.

Take the time to become organized.
Become aware of how you react.
Arrange your space; help isn’t coming.
Manage the flat surfaces in life.

Periodically challenge yourself to perform better.
Take long, deep breaths as needed.
Reclaim your places, spaces, and graces.
Start big projects well in advance.

Don’t rush the truly important things.
Make the best use of today.
Schedule accordingly: plan for your future.
Be kind, cut yourself some slack.

Opportunity knocks, but are you answering?
Conventional wisdom has diminishing value.
When practical, substitute time for money.
The market for top talent lives.

The self-reliant survive and thrive.
Leadership requires forethought and super-vision.
Learn from and capitalize on mistakes.
Firmly face the future with confidence.

“Now” holds a lot of opportunity.
Control but don’t curb your enthusiasm.
Treading water won’t propel you forward.
Have you ever really tested yourself?

Life goes on; do your best.
Continually seek out the higher ground.
Luck is distributed evenly, but disguised.
You must be doing something right.

 


 

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