As I walked through the park the other day with a friend, I marveled at the many colors of tan, russet, and yellow of the changing leaves. The end of fall has a palette all its own...subtle, muted, hinting of winter.
My friend seemed oblivious to our surroundings and rambled on about his misadventures in the stock market that week.
I didn't chide him. I felt sad for him. The missing-out-on-life sadness epitomized by
Harry Chapin's "Cat's in the Cradle" in which the father is too busy to have time for his growing son, and years later the son is too busy to have time for his aging father.
It starts with:
"My child arrived just the other day
He came to the world in the usual way
But there were planes to catch, and bills to pay..."
and ends with a sad tug at the heartstrings:
"I've long since retired, and my son's moved away
I called him up just the other day
I said, 'I'd like to see you if you don't mind.'
He said, 'I'd love to, dad, if I could find the time...'"
As a teacher once said to me, "life isn't a rehearsal. It's the event." If you spend it worrying about your portfolio to the exclusion of appreciating your surroundings and the people you love, you'll have squandered un-recoverable moments.
The Urban Dictionary defines "slow down and smell the roses" as an admonition to stop stressing out, overthinking, or complaining. Put your troubles in perspective and try to enjoy the short time you have on earth.
The Wiktionary defines it as taking time out of one's busy schedule to appreciate the beauty of life.
I define it as a mindfulness that lets you step out of your immediate concerns and relish the moment, whether the people or the place or both.
This time of the year places extra stress on many of us. We worry about finding the right gift for everyone on our list, and getting our shopping done in time. Our calendar, which was already full, becomes bulging with office parties and other social events. Our budgets become stretched ...sometimes uncomfortably so...by the cost of all the gift-giving and frivolity. And this is on top of the ongoing workplace stress that's alive and well in our culture. That stress contributes to at least 120,000 deaths each year and accounts for up to $190 billion in health care costs, according to research by two Stanford professors and a former Stanford doctoral student now at Harvard Business School.
"Lots of research shows that your tendency to overeat, overdrink, and take drugs are affected by your workplace," notes Jeffrey Pfeffer, one of the authors of the study. "When people like their lives, and that includes work life, they will do a better job of taking care of themselves. When they don't like their lives, they don't."
Stefanos Zenios, another author, expanded on the health consequences of workplace stress, especially in highly-demanding jobs. "The deaths are comparable to the fourth- and fifth-largest causes of death in the country -- heart disease and accidents. It's more than deaths from diabetes, Alzheimer's, or influenza."
Whether you think of "stopping to smell the roses" as a metaphor, or an actual act, the benefit is the same. Slow down and appreciate your environment is the message. It could add years to your life.
Follow Eric J. Hall on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ericjhall2
Are you feeling stressed out?
If you are an entrepreneur, you may have a hard time taking time off for yourself.
I have a hard time sometimes, when I get so enthusiastic with my work that I forget about the hours passing by! But in order to live in abundance, we need to give a time and a space to each aspect of our lives: health, spirituality, relationships, family, finances.
When we neglect certain areas of our lives, we start feeling out of balance and eventually stressed out!
Does this ring a bell to you?
Do you have a never-ending "to do" list?
When one task gets crossed off of the list, three more show up. It is all part of growing your business, dreaming bigger and getting things done.
We need to understand that there will never be a final line that we will cross before we are done and can take a break.
When you are creating your business, there are always more tasks. You might have the feeling that you need to keep going and keep getting things done in order to succeed.
I've seen people around me getting burned out by this "go-getter" pattern. I am a total Type A personality, who loves to sets goals and move towards them. But at the same time I've come to recognize that there is a time to rest.
For example, if you've been struggling for months to start your coaching practice and finally got your first clients, it is okay to enjoy that for a while before you go on to newer and bigger goals.
We need to learn to stop to smell the roses.
It is important that we acknowledge our business victories, as big or as small as they may be, and that we celebrate and honor them. This is how the Universe works when we manifest abundance.
When we are grateful and enjoy what we have today, then we will receive more tomorrow.
Part of being grateful for your tiny or huge successes, is to allow them to become a part of you before you move into the next great thing.
Sit with them, take a break, enjoy your few clients before you take on the world with a huge new enterprise, at least for a little while.
The carrot will always be there dangling and tempting us to do more. It is important for us to honor what we've accomplished so far, enjoy it and embrace it fully before we move forward in our creation.If you are a go-getter, here's some news:
- You can rest
- You can have some fun (hopefully a lot)
- You can enjoy what you've achieved so far. Even if it's not your ultimate goal, it is a great stepping stone toward it!
And the best part is that if you stop for a second (or for as long as you want) before going on to your next big goal, your business WILL NOT COLLAPSE.
You can set aside that sense of urgency, the little voice that says you have to produce constantly.
The Universe has its way of delivering its abundance into your life. Sometimes we are so worried and busy producing more, that we actually block the gifts that the Universe is trying to give us.
There is a time for everything, a process to be done and lessons to be learned as we manifest our dreams.
Allow it to work its flow by relaxing, letting it be what it is today, and giving it all up in loving gratitude.
If you want to get clarity around your business, and in turn, have more time and space to stop and smell the roses, I'd love to show you how! I'm hosting a Live Mastermind event in Austin, TX on December 12. I hope you can join me!
Mercedes Maidana is a Motivational Speaker and Business and Abundance Life Coach who guides women to launch and improve their businesses, go for their dreams, and take action steps to live life to their highest potential. Continue the conversation with Mercedes and learn more about her work on Facebook and Instagram.
Follow Mercedes Maidana on Twitter: www.twitter.com/MaidanaMercedes