WASHINGTON. Several times in the past week I have heard people comment that they can’t believe it’s April. Time seems to pass more quickly with each year. We are already into the year’s second quarter. How can you make the most of 2019? Are you heading in the direction you want or do you need to shift anything? Do you know of anything that could get in the way of attaining your goals? If so, what can you do to head it off? It’s time to make a Game Plan to integrate the elements of your life.
Are you running out of steam?
Recently, I was coaching a client we’ll call Gary. He told me he felt like he was running out of steam. After exploring several probing questions we were able to dig deeper. We discovered that Gary started out the year “full steam ahead.” But now, he felt like he was just chugging along. He then mentioned that the same thing happened to him during the past two years.
Gary clearly didn’t want this to become his regular life pattern. He wanted to feel productive and happy at work and enjoy his family. I believe that’s a reasonable request and something we could accomplish together and told him so.
I asked Gary if he were fully committed to changing his current pattern. If so, I would be his committed partner to guide him along the way.
Do you really want to change your pattern?
Sometimes people say they want something to change but their actions don’t match their words. In this case, Gary was ready for a new game plan. He said he didn’t want to look back on another year and discover he still did not have what he wanted. It was great that Gary recognized this at the outset and was ready to move forward.
Too often people simply burn out when they find themselves in a rut. Either they lack the awareness that they must make a change, or they feel nothing they can do can shift things in the right direction.
Putting together a Game Plan
After meeting with Gary, we got together again and made a game plan to better integrate his professional and personal life.
First we noted that several key factors had a serious impact on Gary’s energy level, both physically and emotionally.
- He had a high level position within a large company with many demands.
- At home he and his wife, who also works, are raising two children, one in middle school and one in high school.
- In addition, his wife’s mother’s dementia was getting worse, and she was living with them.
Like many people in similar positions, Gary and his wife had difficult decisions to make. And making big decisions can cause sleepless nights and constant worry. That’s particularly true when a potential game plan involves rebalancing patterns in both your work and family life patterns and expectations.
Family vs. Work
With regard to Gary’s long working hours, as part of his new game plan, he first made the decision to be home for dinner each night. Long hours had been keeping Gary at the office. The negative impact? He was missing family dinners and the chance each evening to connect with his family. Moreover, because he was so exhausted from each long at work, Gary realized he wasn’t as clear and focused as he should be. Thus, he wasn’t productive.
Here’s what Gary committed to do.
By changing his routine and leaving work earlier, Gary found he could enjoy time with his family. Likewise, the family conversations he would have otherwise missed. He got into bed earlier each night and felt more refreshed in the morning before heading off to work.
In addition to this key change, we also put together a workout schedule and a “relationship” schedule so that Gary and his wife could have some quality time for themselves. Couple time and family time. A new life game plan.
Elder care issues
Now, Gary and his wife are figuring out next steps to take with her increasingly disabled mom. The two choices they came up with were having an aide in the house full time, or putting her mother in a facility that could help with her special needs. The good thing is they have the energy and clarity to make those difficult decisions together, and they are genuinely tough decisions to make. But in making them, they will add more clarity to their evolving work and family game plan.
We need courage to make changes in our lives
It takes courage to take the kind of concrete steps that Gary has taken. For example, when he informed his supervisor of his decision to leave work earlier, his boss was not thrilled. But Gary made a life decision that placed limits on exactly what he was willing to tolerate regarding his work / home balance. Even his boss eventually saw that Gary’s longer hours didn’t necessarily equate to his being more productive.
Even though you’ve still got a long way to go in 2019, why not take a look at how your life plan is going right now. What’s your daily schedule like? What are you willing to sacrifice to change it for the better? And while you ponder this, exactly what are your values? And are you living them? Are you ready to make a new game plan?
Resolve today to make this the best year of your life!
— Headline image: Image via Pixabay.com. CC 0.0, in the public domain.
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Susan Commander Samakow, PCC, CPCC
Professional Certified Coach, Facilitator, Trainer & Author
Business, Life, Leadership & Career Coaching
Positive Self-Talk/Confidence Strategies,
Resilience Techniques & Transition Work
Former ICF Metro DC President
Enhanced C-IQ Coach
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