Tag Archives: work-life balance

The #1 Factor that Contributes to Living a Long Life

I knew I was getting ‘old’ when I realized NPR was my favorite radio station!

Anyway, I was particularly engaged by one interview discussion on a study conducted with octogenarians around the world. One of the significant findings was the revelation of the most important thing that helps people live very long lives.

The guest cited several contributing factors which I will summarize in a bit. But I want to encourage you to imagine what the top factor was.

Here are 5 of the factors:

1) Octogenarians eat largely a plant-based diet
I’ve been moving in this direction recently, striving for ever more veggies, fruits and beans. I must admit though, I’m a carnivore by blood type and the satisfaction that chewing on muscle provides is hard for me to replicate. But I have seen enough other studies confirming this to actually start shifting my intake mix. In this study, fava beans were seen repeatedly as a dietary staple.

2) When they eat meat (once a month or so), pork was the meat of choice
This finding shocked me. Pork has had somewhat of a ‘branding issue’ with a somewhat negative reputation although it’s a staple in our house as my husband has food allergies to many other meat protein sources. However, this is what people who live long around the world  eat.

3) Physical activity promotes longevity
We know this, right? But our lifestyle makes it challenging to get in the physical activity our bodies truly need. Many of us go to the office, sit in front of our computers all day, network at lunches and dinners and then go home. If we’re good, we walk, run, bike, do yoga, workout at the gym, do Pilates or Zuumba.

Around the world though, people have different lifestyles that incorporate movement. They garden and walk frequently. Their lives are done in motion.

4)  Daily napping contributes to a long life
This is another practice that seems challenging, even wasteful to me (the overachieving, always-working-on-something person that I am.) I know the value of getting enough sleep and have begun going to bed earlier at least. But napping in the middle of the day?!?!?

Hmmm. However, evidence shows that getting plenty of rest keeps the body going longer. So take heed.

5) Octogenarians have a supportive ecosystem
People who live long don’t do so alone. They are connected to a social network (no, not Facebook), a live network of real people who know and support them. They get encouragement and love from their families and communities and just as important, give love to their communities.

They have a strong sense of faith and likely belong to a faith-based community. They are connected to others, here and ‘above’.

The top contributing aspect of this supportive ecosystem is having a clear sense of purpose. In many of the communities in which octogenarians prosper, the concept of retirement is non existence. People do their life’s work their entire lives. Even if they have jobs in their earlier years, they have a sense of personal purpose that incorporates, envelops or transcends their wage-earning means. It gives meaning to their lives. It gives them a reason to be here.

So my question to you is, ‘What is your purpose?’ What will keep you going after you’ve ‘retired’? What are you here for? What is so important to you that you would continue pursuing it until your last dying breath?

Take some time right now and write down in large print, your purpose…what your life is about…why you’re on this planet at this time.

Why your life will have mattered.

Then make sure you take action on it every day. And, oh yeah, incorporate the other ideas in this article to live long and prosper.

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How to Know If Your Business Loves YOU

There are several prerequisites for having a business that loves you as much as you love being a business owner.

It’s tempting to delude yourself into accepting less than you deserve because you’re so enamored with the concept of being a business owner.

The reality of it can be a much different story.

When we live in a state of delusion, we’ll accept less than we deserve. We put up with and tolerate behavior that is not conducive to our well-being.

So how do you know if your business is being true to you? How do you know if it’s putting you above all else? How do you know if it would take a bullet for you?

“What’s a body to do?”, you ask.

Establish criteria and expectations that will allow you to lead a lifestyle that inspires you.

1. Schedule vacations

Without proper planning, you could end up working throughout the entire year. When you do your business planning (you DO do that don’t you?), decide how much time you want to take off and then block it out on your calendar. You don’t have to know where you’re going to go (although that helps), you just need to commit to when.

2. Work in your sweet spot

Most people go into business because of a passion or area of expertise thinking that’s how they’ll spend most of there time. Then they realize there is so much more that’s required in running a business. When you’re new you may not be able to afford all of the help you need, but before you think you CAN afford it, start outsourcing tasks you hate or aren’t good at. Doing so will actually free you up to be more creative and thus afford you the time to work on things that will generate more sales.

3. Value your time an expertise

You deserve to be paid what you’re worth. Focus on sharing your gifts with others for recompense in addition to the pure joy of it. Don’t undervalue your knowledge and passion. People need your unique perspective and want help from someone who knows more than they do.

4. Work with people you adore

This is definitely one of the big perks of being in business. You get to choose your ideal clients. This is particularly true if you’re in a service business. You target the kind of folk you want to work with. You don’t have to make an ‘offer’ to everyone if you’re not interested. Or, you could add a premium to the price so it feels more palatable to you. I don’t strongly recommend that option. It’s one thing to charge more for work you enjoy less. It seems almost mean to do it for such personal reasons as not liking someone. Just say ‘no’ and move on.

5. It pays you well

I remember talking with a graphic designer 20 years ago when I first started my jewelry design business. I sold hand-crafted earrings and necklaces at Art & Wine festivals in northern California. As we were chatting about my new business (I was very excited), I revealed how much I paid in entrance (booth) fees for the more popular shows. Her reaction was “Oh. I guess you’re happy to just break even.”

I looked at her in dismay. “No”, I said. “I almost always make a substantial profit. And on those occasions when I don’t, I know it’s an aberration and I don’t do that particular show again (unless it was just rained out which was a rare occurrence).

Pristine Beach East Zanzibar
Image via Wikipedia

That jewelry business paid for a 3 1/2 week trip to Tanzania for a safari, a week in Zanzibar and a week in the ‘bush’ with the Masai. It was a great way to start off in the business world. And even today, my pricing reflects the value I provide to my clients not just the minimum to ‘break even’ and cover the bills.

So, if your business loves you, you’ll enjoy your work and your clients. You’ll have time to relax and enjoy live.

You’ll be valued by your clients and you’ll be paid what you’re worth.

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5 Ways to Stay on Track toward Your Purpose, Vision and Goals

In order to live a truly fulfilling life, it’s important to know and fulfill your life purpose. If you are happy, you are likely are living your purpose, even if you’re not consciously aware of what it is.

If you’re feeling even a teensy bit thwarted, aimless or frustrated, either your vision and purpose aren’t leading you or you’ve encountered some temporary obstacle that’s blocking you.

Here are 5 practices that can help keep you on track

1. Start writing down your dreams and set an intention for them before you go to sleep each night.

For most of my life, I’ve been a vivid dream ‘rememberer’. Earlier this year, they started fading away too quickly for me to retain them.  A month or so ago, I started a dream journal.

Writing down even glimpses tells your conscious brain you want to recall your dreams. So it makes more of an effort to transfer the images, thoughts and feelings from your subconscious where the dreams reside, to your conscious, waking brain that thinks and ‘verbalizes’ your thoughts.

Now I’m more able to recall them more easily and tap into that subconscious part of me that knows and yearns for more.

2. Read books that inspire you and help you connect to your higher Self.

I’m currently reading The Four Spiritual Laws of Prosperity: A Simple Guide to Unlimited Abundance by Edwene Gaines.  I read a bit each day and share it with my husband. I’m also reaching the end of a year-long self-study program called, A Course in Miracles. I’ve gone through it several times since first discovering it in 1981 and my perspective always expands with each journey.

3. Start each morning out with some time for reflection.

Before starting work, I sit down with another journal inspired by Conversations with God. In it, I ask for guidance on both general and specific issues I’m facing.  I’ll even ask for direction on areas I should be thinking about but aren’t at the moment. I’m always amazed by the ideas that pop into my head and the words that flow out from my fingers as I write.

4. Review your life for your gifts, lessons and themes.

Many decades ago (am I really that old?!?!?), I was exposed to a program called “You Are What You Were When…”. It was based on the presumption that what was going on in the world when you became a teenager shaped your perspective and values.  It was the predecessor to the generations work that has being written about for the last several years.

One of the key ideas put forth is that from a very early age, each of us has been expressing our gifts and passions and that if we just look back at how we spent our time and energy, themes would arise that would clarify the path we’ve been on all the while.

5. Choose, commit and act

As you do the other four outlined here you bring ‘control’ into your life.  ‘Choose’ your focus even if one was handed to you from above.  Some people ignore those messages.  If you are to live a purposeful life, you must choose to do so.  Then take action – daily – consistent with your vision, purpose and personal gifts.

Keep in mind this quote from Wayne Dyer, “Be miserable. Or motivate yourself. Whatever has to be done, it’s always your choice.”

5 Ways to Re-energize Your Environment, Career and Life

Spring is in the air and this time of year is ideal for bringing new life into YOUR life. You’ve probably heard the expression, “Out with the old and in with the new”, right?

When you purge yourself of old things, you make energetic ‘space’ for new, more pertinent things to come into your life.  It’s difficult to attract the things you need when your environment is filled with clutter, ‘dead’ stuff, unnecessary stuff, not longer relevant stuff. If you’ve been reading these articles for a while, you know I’m a big fan of cleansing, purging and releasing.

Here are 5 activities you can easily carry out to put more “spring” in your step

1. Clean out your cupboards and closets
This past weekend, I released two shopping bags full of plastic containers that had been clogging up cabinet. It was fun and freeing. It didn’t take that long and knocked an item off my one-day-I’ll-get-around-to-it list. That in itself made me happy. Clean out your file cabinets. and throw away or shred papers that are no longer relevant.

2. Trim away dead plants (or have someone do it for you)
The winter frosts we had damaged many of the plants in our back yard. While the landscaper took care of the weeds that were about to get out of control from the rain and large trees that needed trimming, I enjoy connecting with nature through plants. So the touching and caring for them that light pruning involves, grounds me. So I snipped away at all the brown stuff leaving healthy, green, vibrant remains.

Don’t have any dead plants?  Trim away counterproductive people in your life.  Minimize your engagement with them.  Think you can’t extricate yourself? Trim away the emotions you let arise within yourself when they’re around.  You have choices about what you think and how you respond. Exercise them.

3. Reconnect with the past
A former colleague sent me a LinkedIn message that someone else we had both worked with at Kraft Foods headquarters in Chicago almost 30 years ago (yikes!) had moved to Phoenix.  After we talked, other Chicago memories arose in my consciousness allowing me to integrate the growth I’ve experienced over the decades in new ways.

4. Set new intentions
I always have a to-do list but they tend to be somewhat short term. It’s critical to routinely set aside time be more strategic and look out over a longer time horizon.  Intentions can be things you want to accomplish (goals) or characteristics you want to become or exhibit. Always be working on yourself.

5. Be open to and look for new opportunities
The universe recognizes when you take action. (It knows when you’ve been sleeping, it knows when you’re awake.  It knows when you’ve been bad or good so be good for goodness sake!)

Part of being successful is being on the lookout for opportunities (they are there, I promise you) and taking action when you see them.

The more you act on your hunches the stronger your intuition will become. The stronger your intuition becomes, the more doors you’ll see and the more courage you’ll find to open them up and step through them.

3 Steps to Happiness and Prosperity

It’s funny how we hold onto discarded things not realizing what that does to trap our energy.  What I discovered when I stumbled upon a relic from my past could help you free up some mental and emotional energy to reinvest in your current day-to-day life.

I had just missed participating in a “Sell Your Gold” event at my professional association’s holiday extravaganza.

So when I returned home, I started combing my closets and jewelry cases for items that had lost their psychological value for me that I could turn into cash.

I came upon a beautiful ring case, not even remembering which ring was inside.  When I opened it up, I was surprised to find my ‘half’ of a wedding band set my previous husband and I had designed.

The set was laden with Adrinka symbols that had a lot of significance for us and where we each were in our spiritual life journey.

Years later as our marriage faltered and I realized I was more attached to that ring and the symbols of our marriage than our ACTUAL marriage, I knew it was time to go.  We separated and divorced. I tucked the ring away, moved on, moved to Phoenix, married my college sweetheart and forgot about the ring.

A few years ago, I stumbled upon the ring and looked at it fondly – not longing at all for the ex-husband, but touched by the symbols and design process that had created the ring years earlier.  I put it away again and apparently, forgot about it again.

Last week, in my hunt for buried jewels, I found it once more.  This time, my reaction was “Whoo hoo! Bonanza! This will be a great trade in!”  There were some remnant memories of the creation process but clearly any attachment I had for keeping the ring was gone.  I took a picture, called the gold dealer, got in the car happy and was on my way.

I got a better price than expected. Double Bonanza!

On the drive home,  I was surprised by the sense of light-heartedness and freedom I felt. Getting that forgotten and years-unseen ring out of my home and life somehow felt like an unexpected Declaration of Independence.

Reminds me of that hair dye commercial based on the South Pacific song, “Gonna Wash that Man/Grey Right Out of My Hair”.

While I hadn’t been feeling the need to wash the ex right out of my hair any longer, once the opportunity arose, it felt great!

So, how does this apply to you?

1.  Clean up. Clean out.
Cleaning  your environment and life of discarded and unnecessary things, frees up an amazing amount of energy that you can’t anticipate nor appreciate until you’ve done it.

So go through your drawers, closets, garage and car to throw out, give away or sell things that are taking up physical space.  They’re probably draining your emotional space on an undetectable, subconscious level too. You’ll be energized by their absence.

2. Forgive and move on.
I read a Facebook post on someone’s wall today about the power of forgiveness.  The main reason people seem reluctant to forgive is that they think they’re doing something for the object of their resentment.  The secret is that forgiveness is just for you.  It allows you to at least start the process to ‘wash that memory out of your life.”

Forgiveness takes time, but if you’re not willing, you can’t even get started.  If you’ve been holding on to any grudges, tell yourself you’re WILLING to forgive and eventually you will.  You won’t forget the lessons you learned, but you will regain part of your soul.

3. Give thanks for what you have
Every night I say thanks for the life I’m living.  Some people keep a gratitude journal that documents the wonderful things in their lives.  Writing makes them more real and less transitory (ergo forgotten). Tell the people around you precisely what you appreciate about them. You’ll lighten their day immeasurably and feel happier yourself.

I remember reading a book on loving relationships and one of the exercises involved
saying something nice to your partner every day.  Not only does that bring more love and joy into the relationship, but by some function of the ego which can’t distinguish between you and ‘other’, makes you feel happier too.

So clean out those closets, brains, hearts and relationships and make room for new, happy and prosperous experiences in your life.