Acceptance is Not Surrender

I find that people become a reflection of their environment. If you surround yourself with positive and positively energetic people then it is much easier for you to become that yourself. The opposite is also true.  Some people and situations are energy boosters. Some are energy busters – or vampires. Fortunately, you have the option to decide.

It is very easy to fall into the trap of anxiety and negativity in today’s world. Virtually all of the information coming from the media (social and otherwise) is negative. Sure they’ll put a feel-good story at the end but it hardly cures the message. And the pandemic is top of mind for everyone – as it should be. These are not great times for our society and people are suffering in so many ways.

We all must accept the situation we are in. We do not have to surrender. Acceptance isn’t agreement with the status quo. It is an acknowledgment of what is – of facts – even when we don’t like them and we’re frustrated and angry about them. Denying the facts because we don’t like them, or we’d like a different set of facts is not only ineffective, it is dangerous. Facts are facts. Now what?

Accepting or acknowledging the situation – the facts – provide the foundation for action. It allows us to take some sort of control and begin changing things. Adopting this “Yes, and” approach allows you to mindfully (intentionally) respond to overcome the mindless (instinctual) reaction. It allows you to decide what kind of energy you are going to accept, and what you are going to project. Being positive is not a rejection of facts or reality. It is simply an intentional response about how you choose to move forward.

If you look carefully you’ll see it more and more. There are still ways to do good and to feel good – things that boost your energy. Which allows you to do the same for others. You just have to be that much more intentional to find these opportunities. If you look and listen carefully you’ll see these stories coming up all around you. People are stepping up. Making masks, lending shelter, organizing virtual and distance gatherings. Others are making other choices that may not be as productive.

Our three grown 20-something kids have come back to the family home as a result of the pandemic. This presents some special challenges us, who have been empty nesters for a while. It also is challenging for them who’ve been doing their own thing for a while. Luckily we all get along. We give each other our own spaces to do our thing. And we find opportunities – moments – to be together in ways that won’t be possible in the future. Maybe it’s as simple as a family dinner or watching Jeopardy! Together. Or dust off the old board games. It doesn’t have to be complicated to be valuable and important. Because in the not too distant future they will leave the nest again and life will go back to a new normal – whatever that is. And the opportunity for these moments will be much fewer and farther between.

You can choose to live for the moment we are freed from social distancing. Or you can choose to live in the moments you have now, while you have them – knowing that it will all change soon enough.

You must accept the situation you are in. You don’t have to surrender.

You get to decide the kind of energy you want to accept, and what you want to create. You get to decide what you make of these moments. You get to decide the difference you want to make for yourself and for those in your world.

Choose wisely.

Doug BrownAcceptance is Not Surrender
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The Power of Daily Sprints

Is it hard for you to stay focused and on-task for large blocks of time? Do you wind up distracting yourself and getting off track or just running out of gas? Or maybe you hope for that phone call or drop in to save you.

You are not alone. Research shows that it is normal for people to need a mental break after extended periods of work. It also shows that we are far more effective sprinters than we are marathon runners.

Here’s something you can try right now, today to improve your effectiveness using the “Pomodoro Technique”.

The idea is to set a timer and sprint with intense, hyper-focused work for 25 to 45 minutes at a time. Then you take a break for 5-10 minutes and go back to it. After several sprints, you can take a longer break. During this time you shut out all distractions.

When you are in a sprint and thought pops into your head that isn’t on the task then reach for a pen and your handy notepad jot it down and keep going. Using paper and pen will keep you from distracting yourself further by flipping screens and seeing other shiny objects to distract you.

When you are in a break make it a real break. A break is not surfing the web or checking email or talking to a client. Step away from the computer and let your mind rest.

Start easy so you have some wins. A few times a day for 25 minutes at a time will lead you to the longer 45 minute time. Have the timer running with a bell that goes off. You can find a host of timers online by searching for ‘Pomodoro Timer’.

If you are a competitive person then try making the sprints a game to see how focused you can stay and how much quality work you can accomplish.

This works. Doing it can give you more productivity and more quality time working on the things that are important to build your business, improve your revenue and give you a better sense of control in this out of control world.

Give it a try and let me know how it goes

Doug BrownThe Power of Daily Sprints
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Mastering an Out of Control World | Saying No

If you want to feel more in control of your world then you need to say “no” to the things that no longer serve you. You can do this and still be in service to others. In fact, saying no to what no longer serves you can help you increase your focus, improve your energy and expand your ability to serve others – and yourself.

You can start by being more selective about when and why you choose to say “yes”. And you can take a fresh look at the things you continue to say yes to – and plan an exit to focus your time and energy on other things. Making these choices actually enhances your capacity and ability to serve those you were meant to serve.

Make a ‘stop doing’ list for yourself. Consider including saying no to:

  • Toxic people and energy busters. These are people and situations that are inherently negative or run counter to your values.
  • Negative self-talk from the voice in your head.  You know, that inner critic who finds all the things that are wrong, criticizes the littlest thing in your head and cuts you down.
  • The idea that we can only take care of ourselves after we are doing serving others. 
  • Perfectionism and the need to avoid mistakes
  • Things that used to serve you but no longer do.

Knowing that you should say no to certain things doesn’t mean it is easy to do it. 

Here are 5 ways you can try to let go of what no longer serves you:

  1. Focus on what you are moving toward by saying no to something. What will you be able to feel, see, do or think as a result of freeing up the energy you are putting into something where your heart isn’t in it?  How would it feel to remove yourself from a toxic person or situation? How will your life be better when you spend your energy on what serves you? The answers to these questions will give you power to break the pattern and make change happen.
  2. Start small to give yourself an early win and build momentum. For example, there might be a person who brings your energy down. You could simply decide to spend less time around them or to interact with them differently. If there is a co-worker who likes to complain and gossip and it brings you down then make the decision to not participate in it and focus on your work. 
  3. Find something you would like to say ‘yes’ to. Try out that activity you’ve been trying to get to or plan an activity with someone who gives you positive energy.
  4. Do something to care for yourself, physically, mentally or emotionally. Mindfulness and gratitude practices can help you see things differently and foster positive energy.
  5. Enlist an accountability partner.  Someone who can help you see your blind spots and keep you to the commitments you’ve made. Pick a person you can trust to tell you the truth. When you state your goals to someone they are much more likely to become real.

Do you want to go deeper?  Set up a free strategy conversation

Doug BrownMastering an Out of Control World | Saying No
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