Dr Bill Price shows how important it is to connect and listen to maintain a balanced life that fulfils your purpose and destiny.
Most of us do life on the run and the result is simply living oblivious to the nuances and subtle changes that take place around us. It shouldn’t surprise us then, if we also discover that we are changed through crises.
We need to plan ahead if we are to live life to the full and to finish that which we start. This should serve as a reality check since too many of us live so fast and disconnected that we find ourselves living by mistake, rather than on purpose.
We need to live a life full of purpose. However we mustn’t allow ourselves to be driven. Our focus on the future must be powerfully interconnected in the life we lived. Let us be focused but also aware of life’s nuances. Try out this practical exercise to see how well you can connect and listen.
Practical exercise to connect and listen
Sit on a chair (actually feel the chair). Focus on your breathing and move it to a slower tempo. Centre each breath on your belly button and simply breathe in and out for a while. Once you are relaxed, start thinking about your life and your achievements.
Take some time and focus on the spaces where life seems to be a blur in your memory; those times where you lived so intensely past the moment and simply stored it as an achievement rather than a moment to refer to, to enjoy and draw intense satisfaction from.
Afraid that if you get off the treadmill that your career will suffer? Actually, slowing down to lead a quality life can actually enhance your productivity. One study found that business executives, homemakers and community leaders who set aside adequate time for family actually grew their businesses, family and community.
It was also found that their lives had new meaning and connectedness as opposed to those who spent minimal time with their families, spouses and children. You don’t need to sacrifice a great family life for your career or ministry – in fact, taking good care of your family is taking good care of your ministry / career and your being.
Researchers compared individuals who worked a 40-hour work week with those who worked an extra 10 hours per week overtime. Those who worked seven, 50-hour weeks consecutively didn’t accomplish any more than those who worked 40-hour weeks. There seems to come a point where putting in more time no longer makes any difference at all. Finding your personal limits and consistently staying within them is the path to a productive life that really works.
So how do you know if you are pushing beyond your sustainable limits? I’ve discovered that usually all we need is the courage to stop, connect and listen. Tony Stoltzfus is a professional coach who suggests that we look at the following areas in our lives and ask the following questions. Take out a piece of paper and do the following exercise.
5 essential ways you can connect and listen
1. Hear what others are saying
- What are the people around you saying? Do people expect you to be too busy to take on anything else? Are they always commenting, “I know you are really busy…?”
- What do your kids really think of your job? Do they feel like you’re working all the time?
- What is your spouse saying? (If you already know what he or she would say but you’ve stopped listening, that’s a real danger sign.)
2. Listen to your body
- Are you getting enough sleep to wake up refreshed? Or do cares and worries keep you up at night?
- Is it tough to motivate yourself to keep working in the afternoon? Is every day a grind?
- What is Monday morning (or the first day of your week) like? Do you have to drag yourself out of bed to get started?
- Are you finding it hard to maintain basic disciplines? For instance, are you more abrupt with people than you’d like, or do you find yourself wasting time on social media, the Internet or with gaming or TV? (When we don’t allow ourselves enough down-time, we end up taking it anyway, just in unhealthy ways.)
3. What is your heart telling you?
- When you look at the future, do you just think about surviving the next few weeks or months “until things ease up?”
- Do you sometimes have strong feelings of just wanting out of your current life? Do you resent the demands on you?
- Do you have a life outside of work? If your job ended tomorrow, what would be left in your life?
- How many days in the last week did you really laugh out loud? How many days in the last week were “good days”?
4. Listen to Your Diary
- When was the last time you regularly took a weekly break (A day of rest and recharging where you do no work at all)
- When was the last time you got together with a friend for an afternoon or evening just to have fun?
- If you decided take a whole afternoon off, how far ahead would you have to look in your diary before you would find time without rescheduling something else?
5. Listen to Your Legacy
- In life we tend to shape followers who are just like us. If your legacy to those who follow you is the same schedule, friendships, family life, physical exercise regime, and the same stress levels, how would you feel about that?
Once you have the answers to these questions take a moment to look at the overall impact this is having on your life:
- Consider what you are missing out on?
- Which relationships are shallow and not meaningfully connected?
- Where are the blurs and fuzziness appearing?
- What is the impact on your life and do you really want to continue like this for the next five years or so? If not, then you may have to make a courageous decision to change it.
- What do you need to be focusing on for a good and successful life that is in touch with reality and truth?
The first step out of the trap is to find an experienced example in a friend, mentor or a coach you trust. You will feel the shifts as you are working through the coaching questions and process. This will be one of the best investments ever in your life obtaining the quality that you are longing for. The trap is that we can’t see a way out with our own resources, but through the support, encouragement and resources of others we often find a way of escape.
Live life fully, completely and wholly focused on being the best person you can be – satisfied, whole, completely connected and fulfilled.
Also read: Conscious Living vs Unconscious Living