Themes that range from
- "DO MORE with less"
- "WORKING SMARTER, NOT HARDER"
- "Working Together"
Well - There's a few themes I'm going to do my best to employ:
The first one is something I was taught back in 5th Grade at Hugh Cole Elementary School in Warren, RI:
"JUST SAY NO"
I've always been a "Yes" person, but I'm going to make the the conscious effort to say no more than I did in 2015, and every year prior for that matter. I've been learning so much since getting married in March - one of those lessons being that every time I say YES to someone, I'm simultaneously saying "NO" to my wife, our marriage, and usually my sanity. As I kicked off 2015, I had to send out a few emails to certain people and inform them that I could no longer offer my services or time for free, that in order for me to be able to commit - I'd need to show some sort of benefit to my new family - and that in the form of monetary compensation. I've said "No" more in 2015 then I ever have before, this trend is going to continue in 2016 and quite frankly, I'm not going to apologize for saying it either!
The second theme is something I often think about writing while in yoga class:
So many times we get wrapped up in the craziness of a specific task, the drama of a situation, where the frustration of dealing with other people. When stuff like this happens we mentally stop breathing which causes our patience and thoughts to starve of very necessary oxygen in order to process and proceed through whatever it is we are trying to accomplish.
Very similar to yoga class when I am trying to get into a specific pose or stretch, I sometimes become so focused on the minutia and details of where my hands or feet should be that I forget the key element is in fact inhaling and exhaling, and not holding my breath. When you do hold your breath - you begin to shake, you loose your balance, you fall, and then you need to take a moment to regain your composure, get your heart & breathing rate back to normal, and begin again.
Now I know Yoga is not a competition, and trust me, nobody in the room is watching me for cues or help to do what the instructor is saying - but the principle of it applies to so many situations I find myself in on a regular basis. My job regularly requires me to bend over backwards, push my limits, and deal with people who can not read my thoughts. (Crazy, right?) Often times I'll get to a point where I am not taking the hypothetical breaths I need - rather just keep pushing forward, having to re-do things because I fallen out of sync with myself or the project that I'm working on.
Breathing is important. (Wow - that's brilliant, Ben!) The thing is we don't think about how important it is until where in a situation where we can't breath. Hypothetically or literally. When it comes to work or other situations where it's a hypothetical inability to breath - we somehow push through it and most times fail to learn anything from it.
and finally -
Get Back To The Basics - more often
All to often I'll start to develop a great "new" habit which is actually more of a "Basic" task or mindset for optimum performance, however, I tend to take the training wheels off way too early and I'm fine for a short time, but I find myself facing the same problem or sequence of frustrations, all because I get overly confident and stop utilizing whatever system I was having success with.
This can be anything from drinking more water, mental and physical exercise, calendar & task management, practicing, and the list goes on.
I've definitely gotten better with the whole drinking water thing... the solution: I have a glass (an actual glass) on my desk and I take it with me every time I go to the side of the office that has the water filter tap thingy built into the sink. I've also tried my best to always have 2 bottles of water in my car at all times.
Now anyone who knows me knows that I'm a serious Dunkin Donuts coffee drinker - in fact, they know my name at most of the locations in my area. But I've also upped the amount of water I drink and WOW what a difference it makes. I'm more alert, sit up straight, my body feels good... WHY DID I NEGLECT ACTIVELY THINKING ABOUT THIS FOR SO LONG!!! If I was thirsty, I'd buzz through a drive-thru and grab me a Large Hot Regular! Now if they could only hook the Dunkin App to my EZ Pass, just set up a transponder in the drive-thru... I still drink coffee, but I've balanced it out with water!
Even with the Fire Dept - making sure the simple things are in place: extra socks with my gear, reviewing charts of the bay, watching a tutorial on-line from time to time, or even just opening compartments on Engine 3 to refresh my memory.
To have the goal of getting back to the basics is one thing, but to recognize I need to do so, more frequently is - in-and-of-itself - very basic!
Thats all for now! I must prepare for my annual swim in the Atlantic Ocean on this beautiful January 1, 2016 day!
Check out my Facebook page for pictures after the plunge!
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!