The Connection – Clock Watching and Procrastination

clock watching www. maryhumphreycoaching.com8:00 a.m., my office phone sprang to life. It was the CPA. The pressure was on. Not only was I required to reconcile the bank account, which should have been finished weeks ago, he asked me to “snug up the cash” and balance the statement that I had just received.

That early in the day I wanted to rush to the coffee pot (guzzle the whole thing?), turn down the air conditioning in anticipation of sweat production, and I pondered what else I might do to make the day seem less daunting. Pamper me, baby. As I looked at the mountains of work growing by the day on my desk I felt little hope. How was I to do this? What would be the outcome if I didn’t complete what I needed to do today?

After hours of putting out spot fires, I clocked in early from lunch with heavy dread rolling in the pit of my stomach. I fell into silent prayer, “Father, I know this is not the most important thing to pray for, but I practically need a miracle. Please help me stay calm so I can finish this today.”

My co-worker made faces through the glass, “Don’t look so serious. You’ll wrinkle your forehead.” Was that meant as humor? Yes. He was right. Relax those facial muscles, woman. You know how to do it, start at the forehead, feel the tension loosen in your eyebrows and next work on your eyes. That’s the ticket, keep on going. Slacken the jaw. There, you have it.

I got the first statement completed. I was in awe when I glanced through my office window into the lobby. The hands of the serious-looking industrial wall clock had barely moved. A rush of encouragement filled my veins. I can do this!

I dived into the second statement knowing that I had enough time to complete it if I held a positive frame of mind. I never looked at the clock again. Not only did I finish that long-dreaded task, but I also sorted through plans for the next day. It was then that I heard the excited voices of people gathering in the hall outside my door. What in the world was going on in the middle of the afternoon? Then, they left the building, every one of them!

I squinted through the glass and broke out in laughter at what I saw, the old clock was standing still. It had quit working three hours earlier! It was time to go home.

Pure joy filled my heart, and then the lesson came to light.

  1. Trust myself.
  2. Notice where and when procrastination begins (and make it end).
  3. Prayer is always key.
  4. Relaxing is smart and necessary.

The biggest lesson of all — the clock means little.

What have we lost in our lives by clock watching? We watch the hours and minutes rush by, and we push for deadlines, but we shove forward in the opposite direction. We make terrible choices when we feel stress. Instead of feeling motivated, we select the road of procrastination, the fastest way to get the most done, which leaves us ignoring what we view as particularly time-consuming or difficult. Where does this get us? Tired bones that want to drop in a chair and do nothing, leaving a cluttered mess of what remains, and crumbled pieces that fall through the cracks.

I challenge you to try setting an alarm or reminder and stop watching time move by. Slow down. Have faith. Do not set the outcome of your life by the clock.

The biggest benefit — a positive enjoyment of life and work, and real accomplishment.

Are you feeling overwhelmed with life’s changes? Break it down into 5 steps.

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Feeling overwhelmed by the little transitions in life is one thing, these types of bumps in the road tend to pass quickly. Sometimes, though, all of the moving parts drag out and become feelings of overwhelm.

Seeking the Truth

If you find yourself in a period of challenge filled with life changes, ask yourself, “What is the truth?”

Is the truth that you have too much to do, and can you cut some of your responsibilities out? Can someone else help during your time of transition?

Is the truth that you are experiencing normal ‘small things’ or transitions in life, and that each piece will pass? Or, are you dealing with one or two larger issues that you must address in order to move forward? Is there nothing that you can do to make these one or two larger issues go away? If there is nothing that you can do, then your truth is that you need to let it go – release it mentally.

Is the truth that you are doing too much for others, and possibly ignoring what you need (or must) do for yourself? Is the truth that you need to learn to say no to others in order to take care of your own self? It is okay to take care of yourself. It is okay to say no to others in order to engage in self-care. It is more than okay…and in fact, it is necessary!

5 Steps to Help Sort Out Overwhelm

When the many cause(s) to your overwhelm seem larger than life and affect your daily successes try these 5 steps:

  1. List the issues or items that you are leading your stress.
  2. Assign a life transition title, such as, financial, relationship, home, work, business, to each item.
  3. Determine the outcome you want for each item.
  4. List one step that you can take today towards reaching that outcome.
  5. Make the choice to take that action!

When we are caught up in frustration and stress, we fail to realize that many of life’s changes are natural and common shifts. By breaking them down, and assigning a title, we see each transition with objective eyes.

By taking one small action step today, you can claim progress!

Reach Out to a Listening Ear

Sometimes, it takes an extra pair of eyes or ears to help us sort through overwhelming transition periods in our lives. When you seek a support person, you should reach out to someone who will be honest with you, and someone who cares. This can be a life coach, a counselor, or a close friend or family member (depending upon your emotional and mental needs). Remember this one thing, it is okay to seek help!

Summing this up: Life will always be in some form of transition. Learn to handle each change objectively from the start. Develop a mindset that recognizes the feelings of stress and nip them in the bud with “What is the truth?” questions. Avoid the self-limiting thought pattern, “I will be happy/stress free once (this) happens/changes.” Instead, determine what you can do (small steps) as soon as you notice lingering stress, and determine what you cannot do (and let it go). It is a process!

Every Moment of Life Involves a Choice: What are you doing with it?

As long as we are breathing, we are making choices. We choose to sit, lay choice www.maryhumphreycoaching.comdown, eat, drink, study, read, write, and the list goes on from there.

We also make larger choices, such as, when to start a project, when to end a project, when to do something for ourselves, or when to devote our time to someone else.

We often get hung up on excuses, and we have a difficult time blaming ourselves — and we are quick to blame others (it takes the pressure off of ourselves). “I cannot do this because he (she) did/did not ____________,” “If it had not been for _________________ I would have gotten that done,” or, “I cannot do this today because________________, but I can do it another day. ”

I want you to do an exercise. Look at life through a difference lens. Start today. Be aware of your choices. When you make toast for breakfast, think about the choice that you are making. Which setting is the toaster on? What are you topping the bread with? Are you having coffee or water with your breakfast? This sounds mundane, but all of these actions are choices. As your day progresses, continue this exercise, and pay extra attention to the things that you could be doing that you make excuses for. Write down all of the choices that affect your life, your future, and do this for several days (up to a week).

After several days, or a week of recording your choices, let’s take a look at what you have.

  • What decisions did you take charge of?
  • What choices did you allow others to make for you?
  • Were you a decision maker, or did you make excuses (which is also a decision)?
  • What did you choose not to do?

How have theses choices affected you today?

I believe, when we become acutely aware of our daily lives as a series of decisions, it gives us the reality to become the captain and navigate our ship. We no longer say we are too busy, or that someone else is in our way, or that we will face that decision tomorrow. We gain the clarity are in the ocean (of life) and we have to do something other than float!

What series of choices will you make today? Which direction will these lead  you?

Signature Mary L Humphrey

Life Breakthrough Coach

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Women Returning to Work at Mid-Life

I am journeying back into the work-force as I see the approach of my 60’s. I will be giving you glimpses into this journey through this blog. So, those of you considering a mid-life return to the career world, follow along with me.

A few initial pointers from a recent job-seeker (me):

A simple resume’ involves deep thought. What experience do you have? Be honest, of course, but do not be afraid to be creative. I have been self-employed for 14 years, so I included all of the “hats” that I have worn in my resume’. Also, use an up-to-date resume’ template as your guide.

Go into the interview with confidence. Ignore the horror stories about employers that only want to hire young adults. Remember, you are settled in life…meaning, your children are raised, and you know what you want, and you know where you want to go with it. You also have a strong work ethic. This is exactly what a potential employer needs to hear!

To be point blank with you, going back to work feels liberating. We still “have what it takes,” right? Yes! We can step right back in and pull that weight, right? Yes! We are more than capable!

My desire to return to my career began with an urge to help others, to be a part of the team, and to help a woman that needed to retire. Then, my own desire to bolster the income (and health insurance) of my family kicked in.

You never know where God and life will lead you, and I believe we should all remain flexible, to the point we do not look at change as something of a burden, instead, look at it with shear wonderment. Go forward and do what you need to do in t(His) world! Then, tell your story.

Mary Humphrey

Mid-life coaching partner, women with purpose and mission-filled lives.

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The Damaging Excuses We Use

motion www.maryhumphreycoaching.comMaking a choice to pursue a new avenue in life involves several actions: doing it, doing it later, or choosing to not do it at all.

Doing it now is the best choice, as long as we have a solid plan in place. A plan that includes specific and measurable goals to keep us on track. With this in place we remain focused on the outcome, and we do not walk down paths that lead us astray from our vision — picture a straight road versus a narrow one with sharp curves and branches that leave us wondering which way to go.

The decisions that we make in life that are “on a whim” are usually things that we have always wanted to do, but fear had always stood in our way. Think about that!

Not doing it at all is a good choice when we know our goal is not meant to be. These are dreams that make no sense at all, not even to ourselves, and they always lead to bad outcomes.

Doing it later can be a very dangerous choice if filled with procrastination. A decision to move ahead later, accompanied with a measurable and dated plan is smart, but we often allow excuses to follow close behind.

Major delay excuses

  • I am afraid of change.
  • What if it does not work out?
  • What would people say?
  • I will do this after I feel less stress.
  • I will do this when I have more time.
  • I need to feel (physically) better first.
  • I have never done this before.

If you recognize yourself in any of these major excuses, ask yourself these questions:  When will I not fear change? What is the worst thing that can happen if it does not work out? Does it matter what other people say? What would have to happen to make me feel less stress? When will I have more time? When will I feel better physically, and what can I do now to feel better/take a small step even though I do not feel 100%? How do I do it?

Minor delay excuses

  • I’ll do this after my kids leave home.
  • I do not have the money.
  • My house is not big enough/too small.
  • I live in the wrong area.
  • I need training/education.

We make mountains of minor excuses. I call these types of excuses minor because they usually depend on some action in our life that is currently out of our immediate control (but are do-able or fixable). If you see yourself in any of these, or similar excuses, ask yourself: What can I do today to move one small step closer to making this happen? Is this a valid excuse, or can I move towards my goal today even though I am in these circumstances? Can I take a class next week (even a free one to just get started)? Can I rent a space or a room? Can I rent a room out? Can I commute several times a week? How can I fund this today? How can I save a small amount of money beginning today? Can my children, or spouse, help me in large and small ways, and how do we/I implement that change?

Be Careful with Your Verbiage 

Be mindful of your verbiage. Notice if you are using wording that is non-committal. What you say may end up being what you think, followed by what you do not do!

Look at the differences in these statements:

“I think I can do it.” versus “I know I can do it”, or, “I will do it.”

“I may try it.” versus “I am trying it,” and better yet, “I have scheduled a date and time to do it.”

Motion is Movement

The day you take the first step, the day you take action, you are making the choice to move forward. You are in motion. Motion is measured by movement — and not at all by speed!

God speed to you!

~~~~~~

Mary L Humphrey, LBC

Paint your life masterpiece today!

 

Questions for Discovering Your Life Mission (Reaching the Pinnacle)

self discovery, life missionWhen we are not familiar with our own life mission we never quite reach the pinnacle where we feel complete, and if we come close to that highest point, we aren’t aware that we have arrived unless we have striven for it with purpose.

There are several steps that help to identify your life purpose, and I have some easy questions that will get you started in that direction.

Find a  private place, free of interruptions, and take out a pen and paper. Answer each of these questions truthfully. Write down the first thoughts that come to your mind, and allow yourself no more than 30-60 seconds for each response. Do not change your answers. Feel free to gear your responses towards relationships, work, hobbies, events, and projects, whatever comes first to your mind.

  • What are you doing when you are at your happiest self?
  • What are you doing when you forget your problems, when you are so engrossed that you do not notice the minutes and hours passing by?
  • What are you doing when your work does not feel like a burden?
  • What gives you the most energy (do not answer with coffee, stimulants, or sleep)?
  • What accomplishments have you made that became positive markers in your life?
  • What do people typically ask you for help with?
  • What do you want to learn (class, experience, skill, etc.)?
  • If you were given the chance to teach, what topic would you choose?
  • Who do you admire, and what are the overall values and qualities that draw you to them?
  • The setting — you are in a tranquil and peaceful place, near the end of your full life, describe what your life achievement look like. List them out.Take your time on this one.

Now, notice how you feel. Notice the patterns in your answers. Circle the key action and value words that you have listed (6-10 in total). Mine key words were: encouraging, writing, coaching/teaching, family and friends, beauty (nature), spiritual, fearless business. From this, I see a passion for encouraging others through writing, which is a form of coaching and teaching, through a spiritual base (mine is Christ-centered), and in a fearless manner of business (to help others).

This is the start to writing a mission statement, which will be continued as I teach it in my upcoming class.

I would love to hear what you have discovered today! Commenting is urged and open now…

Share – Encourage – Grow

Mary Humphrey, LBC

 

Clutter Haunts – Free Your Mind

unclutter www.maryhumphreycoaching.comMy husband, Bob, recently took over a work space after a co-worker retired. The day Bob transitioned to this new position his boss said, “This belongs to you now, clean out what you need to make it work for you.”

Along each wall, on top of each work table and bench, and in every nook and cranny were old pieces of equipment, parts, and unorganized containers of nuts and bolts. Much of it was so outdated that the only worth was a trip to the scrap metal yard.

Soon, Bob’s boss was noticing the uncovering of the workspace, as well as an income from the “scrap.” There was also a semblance of efficiency, and work that was being completed.

What happens in situations like this, where we get buried under the clutter?

Truly, I believe in this, (un)clutter the space = (un)clutter the mind.

Much happens when physical clutter is removed. Problems get solved. Renewal of the mind happens. Energy flows like a river of new hope.

Our minds work much like a cramped and cluttered work space. When we gloss over circumstances that do not meet our value system, or when we ignore situations that we do not feel like repairing, it gets added to a stack. It piles up. It does not go away, it gets buried, and it’s shear existence haunts us.

There is only one thing that clears clutter — action.

Add one small step to each day to clear the disorder – whether it be a closet, the trunk of your car, an apology that was needed 6 months ago, a step towards finding a new job, or an evening taken off from work to be with your family (instead of overtime in the office).

Clear the stuff that buries and smothers your life.  Action adds up…it restores your air, one tiny space at a time.

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Daily Goal Setting

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Daily goal setting does not need to be complicated.

Ask yourself, “What are three things that I must complete today that I cannot/must not push off to tomorrow?”

Applying too much pressure to yourself – by giving yourself more than three important priority tasks to complete in one day – can result in a plan that is too difficult to accomplish.

When setting daily goals:

  • be specific (A vague goal is seldom achievable!)
  • leave room for the unplanned (Interruptions and day to day life always happen!)
  • leave time for yourself (reading, exercising, hobbies, quiet time, etc.)
  • break large goals down into smaller steps that can be accomplished in one day

Breaking your tasks down to a 3-item priority list sets you up for achievement! Today, you did it! Tomorrow, you wake up with a fresh slate, and you are free to set new goals! In fact, I recommend setting your three goals the day before. You’ll set your goals while they are hot on your mind, and you’ll avoid waking up wondering, “What do I need to do today?”

Make at least one of your daily goals a small (or large step) that helps you reach a much bigger long-term goal. Remember – it is better to take one tiny step towards success, than it is to do nothing at all. Small steps add up.

Decide what you want, decide what you are willing to exchange for it. Establish your priorities and go to work. – H.L.Hunt