By Tony Ford
Success Fort Worth
If you are old enough to recall 1965, when Mick Jagger first belted out the chart-crushing pop-hit “Satisfaction,” then you know he and his band, the Rolling Stones, sought their satisfaction in sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll.
Sadly, for many people (especially stressed-out leaders), not much has changed. Too much work combined with little life balance is a world-class recipe for dissatisfaction and regret. When confronted with these circumstances, people often turn to unhealthy and self-destructive practices and substances to cope.
If you are a leader who is experiencing the loneliness and isolation that comes with being the ultimate decision-maker, you may find it very difficult to get honest feedback and support. You may struggle even more when trying to identify outside influences and self-limiting beliefs that are negatively affecting your quality of life.
In a real sense, “you may be stuck,” but you don’t have to stay that way. Here are some steps you can take to regain control of your life and live out the values that produce good mental and physical health:
1. Rediscover your purpose – When was the last time you asked yourself “what am I doing with my life?” If you are like most folks, the answer may be “I never have.” Well, as it turns out, today actually is the first day of the rest of your life. So setting aside time to have a serious conversation with someone who can help you gain clarity around your real purpose can change everything. Depending on the type of practical, medical, emotional or spiritual issues you are dealing with, that person can be a coach, consultant, mentor, physician, counselor or minister.
2. Recommit to learning – Never before in human history has there been this kind of “information explosion,” which renders yesterday’s knowledge woefully inadequate. In the past, becoming a “lifelong learner” was considered a good idea for anyone seeking to get ahead. Today, it is a base-line requirement for anyone who simply wants to keep up. Again, by identifying how we like to learn (books, audio, coaching, seminars, podcasts, university courses, CPE training, etc.), we position ourselves to gain satisfaction in our personal and professional lives.
3. Reintroduce yourself to new people and experiences – It is often said, “to have a friend, you must be a friend.” In the same way, to find purpose and satisfaction in life, we must engage life. Life satisfaction is often found in how we engage in the lives and activities of others around us. Finding ways to serve with, and learn from, other interesting people builds trust, nurtures understanding and feeds our need to be a part of something bigger than ourselves. It also provides us with opportunities to stretch and exercise our physical, emotional and spiritual muscles.
4. Reinforce new, healthy habits – If new information was all it took to make dramatic, positive life changes, we would all be super fit, wildly successful and incredibly satisfied. Unfortunately, new information is just the start of how we form new, healthier habits. The magic ingredients that transform information into actions are consistent practice and positive reinforcement. Consequently, gaining mastery of new habits is best accomplished alongside others who have similar goals. By joining a gym and participating in a regularly scheduled workout routine, we can change our physical health. In the same way, by engaging a coach, we can improve our personal and professional life balance, performance and satisfaction.
On television, Dr. Phil often asks “so, how is that working for you?” The purpose: forcing his interviewees to explain why their present actions aren’t creating the satisfaction they’re seeking.
Today, I’m asking you to reflect on the state of your own life in light of these four positive steps to gain more awareness, clarity of purpose and satisfaction. I also invite you to contact me if you have any questions about how to use these tools. I will be happy to direct you to a professional coach or other supportive professional who can help you gain traction in these areas faster. Remember: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”