Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Wherever You Are

There is a song on my playlist that can instantly slow me down and center me, wherever I am.  Ironically, it is the acoustic version of "Wherever You Are" by Jack Ingram.  I like the acoustic version because it reminds me of a USO Visit I participated in where he and his band sang to a soldier with cancer and her husband who were in DC without their four children fighting against everything to get through their challenge.

This song means something completely different to me than it means to most.  It reminds me of how lucky I really am.  How generous some people are with their time and talent.  How strong some people are (the soldier).  What true love (the husband's) really looks like.  What a few minutes of your time can do for other people.  How challenges can be met head on.  And to never, ever, ever give up.

Today I needed that centering.  It was a great day.  I taught two new classes and I was really pleased with the way they went.  But I was starting to feel like the world is moving at warp speed and I needed to slow down and focus on where I am, where I am going, and how I want to get there.  (Talk about irony, today's first class was about developing an Individual Development Plan!)

In a serendipitous way, I noticed through e-mails and Facebook posts that several other friends are similarly balancing these fast-moving, life-changing, full-boar lives.  So tonight's post is dedicated to all of you out there who laugh when people say "I can't keep up with you," because you secretly know that some days you can't even keep up with yourself.  Wherever you are and whatever you are doing, here are just a few quick ways to slow down, center, and regroup.

Walk around the building or block.
Hold on to a small trinket that reminds you of someone close to you long enough to see their face in your mind.
Engage your mind in something completely off topic for about three minutes - no more than five.  (A song, a puzzle, a magazine article, a social media site.)
Reread an old e-mail thanking you for outstanding service.  Keep them in a special folder in Outlook or on your desk where you can find them when you need them.
Eat a snack or meal (depending on the time of the day).  Today, I literally went to lunch at 3 but it really helped.
Verify your schedule/project timeline and make adjustments that are needed (and notify people if more time is needed earlier rather than later).
Escape for a few minutes.  Listen to a song with headphones (focus on just the song), close your eyes and meditate, or literally go to a quiet spot and just download.
Reflect on what you're feeling/experiencing in a journal (electronic or paper), what you want to do with the feeling (sometimes it is capitalize on the energy!), and how others are reacting to your energy.  This type of energy can have a positive or negative effect on you and those around you.  Notice the differences between what a positive energy looks like and what a negative energy looks like.

Yell.  Okay, this one you have to do in a private place, but sometimes you just need to get out what a friend calls the primal scream.  And laugh about it and move on.
Open your mind to new possibilities.
Understand what you bring to the table and be proud of it.

Ask someone for help.  Not the "Calgon, take me away" type of ask but the "would you mind doing this for me?" type.  And then make sure you thank them for their help.
Run.  Not away, but get your heartbeat rate up through exercise.  It really does help clear the mind.
Exude confidence, calm, and capable through everything you do.  Even when it is the last thing you feel inside.  If you project it out others will mirror it back to you allowing you to receive it.

Productive people are often called upon or volunteer themselves to manage multiple projects.  That energy that comes with seeing success, productivity, and forward movement can have both a positive and a negative edge.  If you are one of those people, you need to learn to recognize when your energy is bringing positivity and when it is bringing negativity both to yourself and those around you.  Have tactics to move negative energy back into the positive realm and to constantly check in on your plan and progress towards it to readjust as necessary.

What do you do to center yourself when things are moving at warp speed?