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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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Life

Provocative Questions to Get You Moving

What would make you pause and think about what’s really important?

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Suppose I asked you four questions to make you pause, think about what’s really important, perhaps take some action steps, and get you moving in a positive direction. What might I ask?

Here are four such questions:

* What would you do if you truly only had six months to live?

* What would you read if you could only pick six books for the rest of your life?

* If you could return to any age what would it be?

* If you could live anywhere other than here, where would it be?

 

By way of example, here is each question with my own answers to help stimulate your thinking:

What would I do if I truly only had six months to live? I would visit everyone who ever mattered to me one more time; visit all my childhood haunts; visit three or four tourist destinations in the world that I’ve wanted to see; eat like an incredible pig; parcel out my assets carefully and accordingly, safeguard my daughter’s financial future and well-being to the best of my abilities; and donate many items to charity.

If I could only read six books for the rest of my life, they would probably be The Timetables of History, Childhood’s End, The Call of the Wild, The One Hundred, From Dawn to Decadence, and The Culture of Celebrity. Runners-up would be The Demon-Haunted World, Crime and Punishment, Moby Dick, MacBeth, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, and The World of Our Fathers

If I could be any age what would I be: 38, because at that age I had the optimal mix of capabilities and faculties, unbounded potential, and unbridled enthusiasm. My career as an author was beginning to bloom and amazingly I hadn’t yet been on my first of 45 cruises.

If I could live anywhere other than here, where would it be and why aren’t I there? The places I could settle include Asheville, NC; Austin, TX; Monterrey, CA; Sausalito, CA; Tucson, AZ; Las Vegas, NV; Vancouver, British Columbia; London, England; Paris, France; Vevey, Switzerland; Montreux, Switzerland; Bruges, Belgium; Helsinki, Finland; Gothenburg, Sweden; Stockholm, Sweden, and any place where it is spring, birds are chirping, and large lakes invite you to swim.

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Life

21 Ways That People with Work-life Balance Are Different from Others (Part 3)

Even in our fast-paced society, slowing down is continually attainable

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Here is the final set of seven ways the people who have attained work-life balance set themselves apart from the rest:

15) The typical person is easily distracted by daily noise and interruptions. Those with work-life balance monitor and manage their personal space to minimize distractions.
* carry ear plugs
* sound proof your workspace
* find alternative work locations and spaces, such as a picnic table or park bench * visit www.yogasleep.com

16) The typical person focuses on finishing the workday in order to drop back and relax. Those with work-life balance are productive at work and have a life for the rest of the day after work.
* leave work at a reasonable hour
* reduce TV watching and web surfing
* employ your den as a mini-gym
* engage in invigorating leisure

17) The typical person engages in inactive leisure, i.e. watching TV, web surfing. Those with work-life balance employ leisure for novel experiences, learning, and physical activity.
* live closer, not farther from work
* rediscover hobbies
* join group activities
* peruse local event notices and attend

18) The typical person intermittently invests in his or her own well-being. Those with work-life balance strategically purchase goods and services that support their well-being.
* buy in multiples when all supplies will eventually be used up
* make strategic purchases…
* if it saves one hour a week
* if it takes up little space, is portable, expandable, flexible, can be traded in

19) The typical person longs for the good old days when the pace of life was slower. Those with work-life balance recognize that even in our fast-paced society, slowing down is continually attainable.
* acknowledge and accept the world as it is
* seek to change aspects of your personal environment over which you have control
* consider the 80-20 rule and ignore low-payoff tasks and activities
* emulate the role models in your industry, organization, or profession

20) The typical person over-collects work-life balance tips hoping that such information will rub off on them. Those who have work-life balance ingest the insights of others, and ultimately follow the beat of their own drum.
* put what you learn into motion
* adopt new behaviors until they become habits
* establish new personal systems
* develop rewarding rituals

21) The typical parent passes their hectic lifestyle on to their children. Those who have it teach their children what is needed to continually experience work-life balance
* remember: children learn most from observation
* exhibit behaviors that you want them to emulate
* include them in activities, ask for their opinion
* act accordingly: actions speak louder than words

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