Take care of yourself

A little lesson with big implications.

Setting Goals, Intentions and Defining a Life’s Purpose

I belong to an accountability group and we set up morning calls to go over our victories, our challenges, our gratitude and to state our “big why.”  It’s taken me a while to formulate exactly what it is that motivates me, but I became pretty settled on this statement as being my purpose.

The group is comprised of mostly entrepreneurs but there are several professionals in the groups and a few top earners who are playing a really big game in life.

It’s heartening to hear that folks who are managing 7,  8 and 9 figure projects have the same difficulties and share the same lessons about aging parents, teenage daughters as the rest of us. Humans are human and there really is no huge difference between top earners and the rest of us except for the bandwidth of their belief system. That’s as far as I can tell.

Recently, I learned something about myself. The chickens came home to roost so to speak. Without giving away any personal details, I’ve been tested on my big why which revealed that there was something critical missing in my purpose.

I’ve been visiting a sick loved one in the hospital daily for the last 29 days. It’s been worrisome. There’s a travel time commitment on both ends of the one-hour visit. Then there is prep to make the daily trip and there is a weariness on return from the hospital. Treatments have been difficult and even controversial. My siblings are on the west coast. So I am the man on the ground having to advise and run the errands, have the meetings with the social workers and doctors.

On day 28, I hit the wall. I lose it. I get mad about the situation. I felt let down by other family members. Shamefaced, I started feeling sorry for myself. That whole, “it’s not fair” thing came to the fore.

I started sharing this with my accountability buddy and he set me straight: “Your big why is great. But there is something missing from your list of commitments. Where are you on the list?”  Like how do you nurture and take care of yourself? For a person to give, he or she has to have something to give. In order to have something to give, you have to fill up the tank.

For some reason about every 3 or 4 days I have to go to the gas pump and fill up the car. Otherwise, it won’t run anymore. Beautiful, powerful machine (Okay it’s a 2014 Kia Soul, let’s say it’s a mini big powerful machine) but with no fuel in the tank ain’t going anywhere.

I realized, even though I have continued to walk 5 miles every day, I haven’t been really taking time to care for myself. Very little down time and a lot of fatigue and exhaustion setting in. So I went down to the local gym and joined because they have a swimming pool. By swimming every morning, I can nurture myself, meditate on my breath and center myself. Fill up the tank, so to speak.

In order to give to others, we need to have something to give. So now my revised purpose reads:

It is a critical piece to the puzzle of life’s purpose and even to one’s health. I succumbed to thinking I had the strength to accomplish my earlier purpose when things were not strained. When times get tough, it’s mission critical to ensure one’s own mental and physical health before trying to care for another.

  • My health formula has been for a long time:
  • Mind state
  • Exercise
  • Diet
  • Sleep

The Critical Missing Piece

The critical piece I was missing in my mind state and sleep category was the meditation, the rest and relaxation, the refilling of my tank. Making sure my inner world matched my outer world.

Imagine a surgeon going into the operation theater without a good night’s sleep? Imagine a police officer somewhere between fatigue and exhaustion being called back into duty because of riots.  How can those who are called to serve able to perform if not well cared for?

To deal with the feeling sorry for myself, I found this video on Youtube. I offer you this video of Admiral William McRaven, giving a commencement speech on how to change the world, given to the class of 2014 at UT:

Watch Admiral William McRaven

The way I entitle his talk is “If you want to change the world, make your bed.” I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

First thing I did after watching this video was to remake my bed! Take care of yourself, it’s more important than you think.

Coupon: McRaven

GAREY HAPPYTake care of yourself Labor Day Discount: Use coupon code: MCRAVEN

(Takes off $10 for any order of $50 or more.)

expires: 9/5/2016 Midnight (Monday)

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