As a recovering time- and directionally-challenged perfectionist, I’ve learned a few tips and bits to help get the work done without the added crazy-making of a misplaced “value-added ego.” Below is a sampling of small bits of wisdom I’ve learned…mostly the hard way.
- Always tell the truth. Curate how you speak it – hopefully in love with gentleness and respect – but speak it. Try to avoid saying it all at once; this can overwhelm your good hearted truth telling.
- Check your sources (& assumptions). As we open ourselves to wonder and learn about ideas, people, places, news, and language, we have a giant smorgasbord of information outlets. Not every channel of news or information is created equal. Be investigative. Find out who said what before repeating it or drowning in righteous indignation. There is great beauty in the world and great sorrow; let’s add to beauty and relieve sorrow.
- Ask for help. Your mathematical brilliance and my (surprising) talent of baking homemade cinnamon buns may complement one another. You may need a bazillion sticky bits and I may need income…and your ability to bazillionize the recipe so we all end where we want and need to be is a zero-sum opportunity. Asking for help is strength of ego, character, and mission; not weakness. (Please bazillionize this kiss.)
- Get the eff outside. Go. Now. Stop what you are doing and get outside. Let the wind whip your gentle soul a bit, smell the cedar, watch the fish, hike the trail, and ride the bike. Go. Now. We’ll wait for you here.
- Read. Not only read, but Read Outside of Your Comfort Zone because that is where miracles of empathy, wisdom, and understanding happen. Then send your book list to me so I can read uncomfortably and grow a bit.
- Wave at strangers and crossing guards
- Get rid of the junk clogging up your life: extra clothes, obligations, and potato peelers only add more work to your short life. Curate your stuff. Ask a minimalist or almost-minimalist for ideas. Google will help you here. Find your balance. You need at least 5 pair of underwear. Don’t go crazy.
- Slow down. Pay attention to the wee moments. Breathe them in.
- Volunteer. I am so appreciative and stoked to have 8-hours of paid volunteering allowed in my new employment. Read to kids, hold a wrinkled hand, offer to shop for your exhausted neighbor, shelve books, mow, sing, vote, count, serve.
- Laugh. Caveat: laugh with people and not at them. Laughing at another person signals more about you than what you perceive to be funny about them.
- Listen for Bob’s sake! I understand the excitement of having much to say and ideas which are just waiting to be heard. Take a deep breath and then another. Listen; pay attention to the person talking to you. Being heard is such a rare sweetness. Listening will set you apart from the babble.
- Save money & stop comparing yourself to others. To save money (or make any change), you’ll need a plan. Abandon your instant-gratification and perfectionism. Think specifically about what you want for you and yours and how you will get there. Money is only half the battle. Discipline, decision-making, and perseverance are the other half. Save money. Be you. Let the Joneses be the Joneses.
- Sleep. Not all day, but what about 7-8 hours a night?
- Forgive early and often – as often as needed. Your forgiving is a tiny price to pay for peace. History will not change regardless of the looming painful grudge you carry. Be wise – forgive and keep good boundaries.
- Do something that scares you; get unstuck. Want to learn to pole vault? Ask for help. Find a way. New things we learn and do may not add up to rousing success and great love, but they add to you and your IQ-Interesting-ish Quotient. Find a way. How uninteresting is it to only do what is guaranteed? Risk may be scary, but so is complacency. And complacency is both scary and boring. Ugh.
- Seek accountability: as you endeavor to live a full life, rabbit trails and bad ideas will present themselves to you as distractions. If you are already in relationship with good people who hold you accountable (and invite you to hold them accountable), you are closer to your new goals than you might realize.
- Invest in you. Take care of you. Put your oxygen mask on first. Avoid the lure of martyrdom; it is a luxury you cannot afford.
- Exercise. What does your body good most often does your brain, self-esteem, and relationships good, too. Exercise is a triple play; HURRAH!
- Practice kindness; say please, thank you, I’m sorry, and other sincere means of being a healthy human (see #1, too.) Other cool things to have roll off your tongue are: “quango,” “shenanigans,” “onomatopoeia,” and “peppermint mocha creamer.” Give it a try. You might find yourself smiling.
- Write a letter (or bunches of letters.) Add something to a friend’s mailbox that is not junk mail or a bill. Write the letter and wait for the thrill.
BONUS: Remember “Yes.” and “No.” are complete sentences. You do not need to qualify them 87.6% of the time.
What are your tips of the trade?