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Take a Timeout.. For Yourself

Prioritize what is really important and feel the results

My desire to learn more about myself started from something I claim to be one of my best attributes; my motivation. I am one of the first in my family to have gone to college and graduate and like many other young adults, I was unable to find a job in the field I studied. My Broadcasting degree did not immediately land me in the seat next to professional hockey players announcing the New York Rangers; shocking!

Instead, I started working for Enterprise Rent-A-Car and learned what the term work-ethic means. I consistently kept my eyes on the next position within the company.  So much, that my family would mock me that every time I received a promotion because I would already have my sights set on the following position. This excelled me to high levels within the company, and without that experience, I would not have the great job I have today working in technology.

The constant hustle of long days, early mornings, and acting like I live to work, started to get exhausting. My wife and I are recently married, we bought our first home and with having children not too far away, I couldn’t help but wonder why I wasn’t always happy.

Before I knew it, I was knee-deep in Tim Ferriss blogs, TED Talk podcasts, and Tara Brach meditation. As I digested all this new information, I realized that my motivation to working long days without lunch breaks or mental time-outs, was because I thought the result was going to make me happy. My equation of happiness was an executive title and a hefty paycheck. The motivation to achieve those things was putting stress on my marriage, family activities, and my outlook on life in general.

It is only in the recent 6-8 weeks I have adopted thing like: a routine sleep schedule, morning stretching, exercise, meditation, journaling, leveraging the Pomodoro technique at work, and changing my overall mindset that I cannot worry about outcomes; only the processes which I am responsible. My self-reflection has made me realize that much of my stress revolved around my competitiveness and wanting to produce the best outcome. As I read Jerry Lynch, The Way of the Champion, I realize that I can only worry about what I can control; and that is not outcomes. I have learned that when something does not go as anticipated, to ignite an “instant positive response” and to focus on breathing to reset my mind.

It sometimes can sound quirky to friends and family that you are going through a lifestyle change as it may seem more like a mid-life crisis. But the reality is, these changes to my daily routine have given me a more positive outlook throughout my day, has improved my productivity and has allowed me to prioritize the things that matter in life. I am no longer working from sunrise to sunset with the intent of filling a large bank account. I value my time more than anything now, and it is being used for the things I identify as most important to happiness. Of course having money will lead to some fun trips down the road, but living our lives with a smile on our face and not burning out is much more critical.

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

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