When I'm working with my clients, often times they'll speak about something that "always happens" to them. Something that seems to come out of the blue, and yet, when we drill down, we discover that it's usually rooted in a lack of awareness about the cause of that "something".
In The PEACE System, I illustrate how many "emergencies" are a result of neglecting a must-do activity for too long. Like when failing to perform the routine preventative maintenance on your car often leads to a flat tire or another car "emergency". Or when neglecting to take care of your health leads to a stay in the hospital.
My clients are smart cookies. They've got a lot goin' on upstairs... they've also usually got a few too many things going on in other areas of their life and/or biz. Thus, the lack of awareness around work and life balance issues.
So today, I'm giving you, dear reader, a piece of advice that isn't really mine to give. I've seen it in various forms from different voices both online and off. This is just the version I share with my clients.
Make two running lists. Mark one "More of This, Please!" the other "Less of THIS, please!" Post them someplace where you'll be able to refer to them regularly. Like your fridge, bedroom mirror, a notepad in your carry-all. I encourage you to write, because it's tactile, and "body memory" connects you to the emotional state better than typing on a keypad. But if you must, by all means grab your phone and EverNote it. The most important thing is to document the lists.
This is the list for all the goodness and enjoyable stuff that crops up in your life. That way-cool feeling of specialness that you get when hubby brings you flowers by surprise? It's the feeling you want more of, right? Okay, maybe you want more flowers, too, but I think you get the point. Add it to the list. "To feel special - whether or not my husband brings me flowers."
Same idea, except for those things that you'd really rather never experience again in your lifetime. The bruised ego you felt when you stayed out late the night before a big performance, and got caught? Yeah. Jot that down. Crying babies? Yep. That too. Anything you'd like less of in your life (or business), mark it down.
Just keep a running list. And as things recur, either write them down again, or put a star (or an X for the "less of this" list) next to them. I write them again, because then I can also track the frequency of occurrence. If I just put a mark on the paper, I have no idea how long it's been since that "something" happened the last time.
Here's where it gets interesting. At first, the list will seem kind of all over the map. Groovy. But after about 30 days, you'll start to see patterns, trends will emerge, and you'll start to develop an awareness of when/how this stuff is happening.
You've just cracked your own behavioral code. You may notice, for example, a few days after you have that "really down, got caught staying out late" feeling, that you're incredibly tired, and can't focus. Hmmm... there might just be a connection (not that I speak from experience or anything). You might also notice that when Hubby brings you surprises, that great feeling lasts for a couple of days, and you're more focused and positive for days after (hint, hint, Hubby!).
The point of these two lists isn't to eliminate one or completely fill your life with the other. As an entrepreneur, your business is often an extension of who you are, so it's not always easy to peel your business away from your personal energy. I guess it's kind of like biorhythms, only more helpful, more accurate, and easier to understand. By developing an awareness around what's really happening in your life, you have the ability to make changes that will improve your life.
If you don't know something's in need of change, you won't change it. Period. You have to have an awareness before the change can occur. These two lists help you develop an awareness.
Then, when you're feeling cranky for the 33rd time in two months because of something that seems to "just happen", you'll have a list to which you can refer that very clearly shows you the patterns - and that if you'd just stop eating wheat after 9pm, you'd sleep a whole lot better (okay, maybe that's an over simplification, but you get the idea). Once you have the awareness, then you can investigate ways to change the situation to your advantage... so that ultimately you're seeing more of what you want, and less of what you don't.
Bonus: This also works exceptionally well when trying to pair down your client list and get clear on who your Perfect-Fit Customers are: More of THIS kind of client, please... less of THAT kind of client, please! Developing an awareness of who is a great fit for you, and who is not, is a crucial bit of info for any growing business.
If you're ready to get your priorities in order - to build a Noble Empire and live an inspired life focused on what matters most to you - consider The PEACE System: The Sanity-Saving, Priority Management System For Entrepreneurs.