I am writing today sitting by the fire at Pine Lodge, my not-so-secret summer lair. The sun is just up over the hills, blasting through my dining room windows and there is a little fog steaming off the lake. Everything is right in my world.
Not too long ago, it wasn’t. About 75 days ago, I had to step back and reclaim myself. I was burnt out, incapable of doing my best work and I could feel myself getting worse. I didn’t even feel like me. I was a mess.
You have probably felt similar. Perhaps you too are emerging from the fog refreshed and certain, or perhaps you are still in the soup, tumbling and mumbling and more or less going through the motions.
I’m happy to say that I’m back to feeling like my old self and I did some work thinking about happiness and sustainability. For the next few blogs, I’m going to share the 20 agreements I have made with myself, I hope they help you find a little more balance, harmony and contentment.
The first four …
1. You deserve Happiness. Happiness isn’t something you have to earn. Everyone deserves to be happy, and everyone should make happiness a priority in their life. Obviously there are prices to pay and there is work to be done, but if you don’t make being happy the most important order of your life, then something else will be and you will live with regret.
Happiness is a litmus test. Ask yourself, ‘Am I happy?’ If you’re not, make a change.
2. Schedule time for fun and recharging. I could write pages on this. I can ask a friend 8 months in advance if he wants to go skiing and he will say he can’t be sure. “We might be busy.” Just like anything else, if you don’t put it on the board, it’s not happening.
I have a ski trip planned this December and a canoe trip next July. Sometime this fall I’m going to head to a little retreat I know for some R&R, likely the start of November. I don’t need that retreat right now – I’m so relaxed I’m almost melting, but I have a lot of work to do this September and October and I know that when November is around the corner, I’ll be relieved to know it’s coming.
3. Work when you are supposed to be working. This one only sounds obvious and simple. In fact, it’s likely the one that will give you the most trouble because you will ignore the first two agreements on this list.
Never go into a workday unsure of what you’re doing. End every workday by prepping for the next day. Come in armed with a plan and jump on it. When you have plans and energy, life is good. You’ll get more done, you’ll waste less time (that becomes free time later) and you’ll feel a greater sense of control.
4. Focus 80% of your time on the 20% of activities that generate 80% of your revenue. For this one, the less I say the better. What are the top 3 things you do that help you achieve your mandate? Write them down. What would happen if you spent 80% of your time doing them as well as possible? What if you got rid of the bottom 80% of your business that only generates 20% of your revenue? What would happen if you stopped doing 80% of the things you do now, and instead delegated them to someone else?
This Thursday I’ll post 5 through 8.