Every choice we make has consequences. When work takes over, it has significant consequences across the whole of your life.
Some consequences will be positive and others negative. It is the balance between the activity and what it costs you which determines whether you should continue with it.
The trouble is we so rarely take the time to take stock of what we are doing and the impact it has on ourselves and those around us. We are often too busy so we do things on automatic pilot and life carries on until there is a crisis which forces us to recognise that something needs to change dramatically.
On May 31st 2009 I received a phone call from my sister telling me that my 49 your old brother had dropped dead whilst doing a final training session for the London to Brighton Cycle race. The paradox was his chosen charity was The British Heart Foundation.
The Post mortem revealed a congenital heart condition which had it been found was entirely treatable. It is the most common cause of sudden death in seemingly fit and active adults in the UK.
We were devastated by his death. However there has been a significant gift in amongst the sense of loss. It has given the whole family the opportunity to consider what is really important in life.
Why wait for the crisis. Wouldn’t it be worth taking a little time to consider if you are living the life you really want, whether life could be better for us physically, emotionally and spiritually for you and your loved ones.
To do this you need to allow yourself a little time to step back and to take stock.
You may find it helpful to do this exercise: Pause this recording and grab some paper and a pen before moving on with the podcast or you can find a printed copy of this on the website
Take a blank piece of paper and create two vertical columns.
In the left hand column consider the things which cause you stress, anxiety or a sense of disappointment.
In the left hand column create a list of everything you feel is positive in your life.
Think about each are in turn. My questions are there to get you thinking. Don’t feel restricted by them but please be honest with yourself.
Don’t agonise about the question – go with your first gut reaction.
- Think about your health-are you fit and healthy?
- Are you at an ideal weight?
- Do you eat a healthy diet or are there too many unhealthy lunches with clients?
- Do you comfort eat when things get difficult?
- Do you drink alcohol?– we often say in moderation, but define your moderation.
- Do you drink alcohol every day?
- Do you drink to wind down and distress?
- Do you take any recreational drugs or prescribed medication to manage your stress levels?
- Do you suffer from high blood pressure or anxiety?
- Do you make time for exercise on a regular basis?
- How do you feel about body image?
Love and Relationships
What about your intimate relationship?
If you have one –
- Does work get in the way of your existing relationship –
- Never/occasionally/all the time
- Are you late home often?
- Do you cancel things because of work?
- Are you preoccupied with work when you should be spending quality time with your partner?
- How do you express affection to your partner? How often?
- Could your life together be better/more passionate/more fulfilling if you had more time and energy to focus on it?
If you are not in a relationship –
- Would you like to be?
- Do you feel more confident socially than at work or is it the other way around?
- Do you make time regularly to do something about it?
- Do you use work as an excuse not to get on with finding your soul mate?
If you are a you a parent –?
- How much time do you actively spend with your children?
- Do you see them before they go to bed during the week?
- Do you enjoy playing with them or are you too tired or feel awkward trying to talk to or play with them?
- When was the last time you heard them read or they saw you reading for pleasure?
- Would you rate your relationship with them as?
- Do you feel guilty about your relationship with them?
- What is the legacy you would like to leave them with?
What is you financial status? Financially free / financially secure/ Just coping / in debt
Do you spend more than you have coming in: Never / occasionally / regularly
What relationship do you have with money – is it a healthy one?
How do you feel about yourself?
Do you treat yourself the same as you treat others?
Are you harder on yourself than you are on others or do you make excuses for yourself?
Do you take responsibility for your emotional wellbeing?
Which are the 5 emotions you feel most commonly? Are they positive or negative?
Do you love your life?
Do you feel as if you are on a tread mill?
Do you feel driven to succeed?
Are you fulfilled?
What are you really passionate about?
What would make you leap out of bed in the morning looking forward with great energy and enthusiasm?
Think your life and begin to count the real cost of living your life as you do.
Now think about the quality of life you would like to live.
Close your eyes and dream of your perfect life.
What does it look like?
How does it feel?
Does it sound different to your current life?
How does it differ to what you have now?
What is getting in the way? The likelihood is it is you.
If you want a different quality of life the solution is in your hands.
Whatever the economic situation, however limited you believe your choices are are, doing nothing will change nothing.
Even small changes done consistently can make an enormous difference to your life. Working with a coach can help enormously too.
If you learnt tomorrow that you only had 3 months to live, how would you choose to spend those ninety days?
What is really important to you? What would you want to do?
What would you want to say to loves ones or do with them or for them?
The great news is that you have the chance to savour the rest of your life with out the death sentence.
Life is so precious, why not live every day fully, savouring the things that you truly value.
Think about the epitaph you would choose to represent your life.
Create a living epitaph and work towards creating the life which would make that epitaph true.