It’s easy to continue stretching yourself thin. After all, there’s plenty of jobs to do and less labor to do those jobs.
But measuring your own success can be difficult. At LANDSCAPES 2019, motivational speaker Janelle Bruland told attendees about a list of lies we tell ourselves that often define success. Things like, “work harder and longer,” “sacrifice everything,” “take care of everyone else’s needs first,” and “busy-ness is a value.”
“We buy into this lie that we need to have this perfect life,” she said, “but this is not the life we’re supposed to have.”
But Bruland said that the truth is the choice is yours and yours alone to live your best life. “Once you make this discovery,” Bruland said, “you can move forward… and eliminate everything else.”
Bruland presented three basic strategies to overcome being overwhelmed:
- Win your mind: Our minds are so powerful that we have somewhere between 60,000 and 80,000 thoughts a day. Why not use your brain to maintain a positive outlook? The neural pathways in your brain can physically get hardened over time with negativity, but the brain is malleable, so it's not too late to change. And as a leader, emotions are catchy, and your employees will resonate with you, too, even if your company is going through a difficult economic time.
- Live with intention: Sometimes we don’t even know we have a problem because we’re so busy at putting out fires, Bruland said. She told a story about sitting in a kayak with her husband – they sat out on the sea one evening and lost track of time because they were so relaxed. However, they drifted so far away that they actually faced some danger of getting in the way of a cruise ship before they paddled away just in time. They had lost track of their surroundings and it nearly cost them dearly. Likewise, this can happen in business. “Sometimes it can happen quite quickly and sometimes it can be several years where we’re cruising in life and end up somewhere we didn’t expect to be,” Bruland said. “We need to wake up and it starts by thinking about what we want our legacy to be. Begin living that legacy now.”
- Focus on the important: Once you’ve decided what those most important things are, you narrow your focus. An exercise for your company is to line up your top-level team members is to ask them what’s most important to them, and see how the answers compare. Is your team on the same page with its priorities? Learning how to say no also helps, too. “It’s so easy to say yes and keep stacking on,” Bruland said. “We think we can do this one more thing… but if we’re not good to ourselves, we can’t lead anyone else.”