Stop trying to impress everyone around you.
When you live your life for other people, you lose who you are. The term “mid-life” crisis is around for a reason. So many people spend years trying to please and impress everyone around them, but when they finally get to a place in their life when they don’t have to anymore, they discover that they don’t know who they really are.
The most impressive people I know are the ones humble enough to never flaunt the resume that would leave most of us in the dust. Their quiet confidence sets others at peace and brings out the best in everyone around them. Doug Herald, the CEO and President of Time and Eternity often says, “When you know who you are, the where you are and what you are no longer really matter.” Knowing who you are, and living who you are, releases you from the burden of keeping up the face that is not yours. It’s freeing.
“When you know who you are, the where you are and what you are no longer really matter.”
Stop trying to find your identity in your work.
Approximately two years ago, my father retired from the job he had been starting soon after high school. He worked hard at his job and provided the best he could for his family. He was eager to retire and had great plans. Unfortunately, my father did not anticipate the emptiness he would feel once he left his job. What he didn’t realize was that it was only him that was retiring.
The rest of the world that he had confined himself in still had to work. His entire being was wrapped up in his work. His affirmation was there, his community of friends were there, and his feeling of worth was there. When he left, he no longer knew what to do and still struggles with it.
There must be a balance in life so that one’s identity is formed in wholeness and not in merely segments of life. It is far too common for people’s worlds to come crashing down on them when they are laid off. They lose not only a job, but a large piece of who they are because they allowed their identity to be wrapped in their work and not in their person.
Stop trying to be better than everyone else around you.
There will always be someone better than you or a fear of someone who could be better than you. Office competition against each other causes unnecessary conflict that negatively impacts the environment.
Instead of striving to be better than others, try striving to be a better you tomorrow than you are today. This shift allows you to invest in yourself through personal development in order to truly bring out the best in you. This mindset also gives you the freedom to help others in their own journey of growth by encouraging them instead of seeing them as a threat.
Instead of striving to be better than others, try striving to be a better you tomorrow than you are today.
It breeds a growing quiet confidence in knowing that you are progressing, growing, learning, and gaining tools that will not only help you in life, but help others as well. The greatest leaders have learned to lead themselves first, which then allows them to lead others by example. Focus on improving yourself with continuing education. The internet is filled with knowledge on just about anything you can think of. Find a place that will help you grow in your field and start learning. Develop yourself emotionally, mentally, relationally, spiritually, and physically in order to stay balanced in life. When you focus on making yourself better instead of trying to be better than others, you allow yourself to grow.
Stop trying to do it all and rest in what you are doing.
I confess that this has often been an area of struggle for me. Oh, I can justify it and make it sound really nice. I can even express it in such a way that others feel guilty for not doing more, but it doesn’t change the fact that if tasks were spread out among a few others then they would have all be completed much faster.
As a business owner, an employee at a Time and Eternity, an author, a parent figure for my niece who lives with me, and a few other hats that I wear at times, I can easily feel the need to “do it all.” At times, it seems easier just to do things myself instead of seeking out help or taking the time to think through things clearly enough to divide tasks among people willing to help.
Sometimes, the best thing those of us “do it all” people can do is to stop. Stop and organize the tasks in front of us and pass some along to people around us who can get the job done. Even if there is no one to pass things off to, having tasks organized will make you more efficient. Checking off tasks as you complete them will increase your feeling of accomplishment and help you maintain a right perspective. It seems counterintuitive at the time to stop, but it is truly a better method of time management. Figure out which things you must do and organize them in order of importance.
Stop trying to postpone your life, “until you have _______.”
Ever heard someone say, “I’ll do that as soon as I have enough money,” “as soon as I have built up enough vacation time,” or “as soon as my kids are older?” This list could go on and on about things we will do “as soon as.” I’m not saying that if you’re planning a month long trip to Spain that you should quit your job and sell your house. What I am saying is that life is happening as your saving. It’s going on as you work day in and day out.
“I’ll do that as soon as I have enough money,” “as soon as I have built up enough vacation time,” or “as soon as my kids are older?”
Are you living life while doing the everyday mundane tasks? Look for events happening around your city. Find weekend getaways nearby. Take a tour bus with a group of friends for a discounted rate and see some things. Life is short. Don’t look back on 20 years and remember nothing. Make memories. Turn on the sprinklers in the backyard and run through them with your kids (or your neighbors who may think you’re crazy, but will end up laughing the whole time and enjoying it). Light the grill and invite some friends over, or make some friends by inviting them over. Stay up late and look at the stars from your backyard. Rent some bicycles and take a Saturday morning ride with a few people. Live your life today!
About the author
Dr. Bobbie Sparks is the Vice President of Product Development and Global Affairs at www.timeandeternity.net. Time & Eternity is a personal, professional, and organizational development company designed to bring out the best in you and your organization. Find us on Twitter @TimeEternity.