My daughter and I took a little vacation up the coast. It was beautiful, weather perfect, simply lovely. But I made one huge mistake that almost cost us the trip. Due to last minute planning, I put us in a hotel that I’d booked against my better judgment and compromised our environment.
A couple of years ago I had a speaking engagement overseas. Due to scheduling and trying to save the client money, it ended up that I’d have only one day of acclimatization time, fly 12 hours sitting up with no sleep, and be on stage right when it all hit. Bottom line, I’d compromised my self-care.
Last fall I got “set up” to meet a new friend for coffee. A quarter coffee and 10 minutes in, he talked all about how tough it was to work at his company, how worthless his boss was, how much it sucks to be divorced, and more niceties (he talked fast). I felt twinges of my life force trying to leave my body, and 18 minutes later, I was out the door. Had I stayed, I’d be compromising my “posse”.
Environment, self-care, and posse – these are three areas I’ve found we simply can’t compromise in if we’re to have the greatest levels of energy and impact (and joy) possible. Here’s why and how. Apply these however you see fit.
Rule #1. Don’t compromise your environment. Just don’t. Regardless your budget, regardless the situation — do everything you can to surround yourself with beauty and life giving things. Keep yourself safe. Not only is it not worth the safety risk and all that goes with that — your environment impacts your mood, your health, your presence, your mental bandwidth, your regard for others, and even your mindset for who you’re becoming and what’s possible.
What to do: Surround yourself with the level of vibe you want to operate in; be it hotel rooms, conference rooms, or a clean house; people, situations, or your morning coffee — your environment has impact. And it is BIG. Apply this rule to travel, your office, your morning commute, or simply sitting at home. Nourish your environment in every way possible.
Rule #2. Don’t Compromise Self-Care. Nope. Never. Set yourself up for success from the moment you plan your trip (or your day). Travel or “busy-ness” doesn’t have to be an excuse for not taking care of yourself, in fact, I hold that it’s even more important when out on the road, or “busy”, especially if you’re dealing with time zones and jet lag. Your body and mind have enough to deal with in all that comes with these things, so fuel them right.
What to do: Plan. Whatever you need to do to take care of yourself when on the road, make it so. Pack your goods, be intentional about travel arrangements, plan for acclimatization, make sure there’s a place or way for you to get workouts in, eat well, bring your own “emergency” food if you can, make time for “me time”, journal, whatever nourishes you — but plan for it. An ounce of pro-activeness here is worth 100 pounds of brain health, productivity, presence, and simply feeling good.
Rule #3. Don’t compromise your “posse” (or who you surround yourself with). If they make you feel small, petty, catty — or just buzz a low vibe — do not hangout. If they want to gossip, talk smack, complain, make life hard hard, or just sing the “woe is me” song on repeat — do not hangout. If they want you to get smaller, act dumber, and complain so you can match their vibe — out you go. Of course if you enjoy these things, find them energizing, life giving, and inspiring — then maybe DO hangout — but I’d invite you to explore that one. Jim Rohn once said that we become the average sum of the 5 people we spend the most time with — who are you becoming?
What to do: First, know that you don’t have to hangout where you don’t want to. You are at choice. Hangout where the magic is; where your spirit soars, where there is presence, kindness, and a bigger world; hangout where you have moments and conversations that inspire you both, have you feel seen, and make you want to be bigger, better, more of a contributor, and simply awesome. Be intentional about your orbit and who gets into it. Family members, best friends or co-workers bringing you down? No problem; make requests, redirect the conversation, be helpful, don’t feed the fire, and don’t “match” their energy so you can “fit in”.
Life is short (and also long), leadership essential — we need you in one healthy vibrant piece – so… nourish your environment, take a stand for your self-care, and spend your time in a way that makes you the best person and instrument of change possible to have the most impact with. Go.
This article first appeared on Inc.com on April 4, 2016.