What’s life got to do with it? – Extraordinary Foundation

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Has this ever happened to you? You had an unfocused, unproductive week at work and you couldn’t understand why!

That’s what happened to me last week. I thought I had everything in place – a 3-year business vision, annual goals, monthly revenue projections, a marketing strategy, monthly goals, daily and weekly action steps, two accountability calls with my business partner Phil…Yet I still couldn’t get out of my own way. I couldn’t manage to sit down and accomplish much. My attention wandered, I was distracted by email, doing laundry and waiting for the next post to pop up on Facebook. I was having trouble sleeping and was exhausted most of the day.

What was up? What kind of coach and role model was I being? I followed all the rules, implemented all the systems for success and still nothing could break me out of my unproductive funk.

Disturbed, I pulled out my journal and began to write down any thought that came into my head. Surprisingly, not many of them were work related.Here’s what came out on the page – I’ve been struggling with the chronic illness of a family member, worried about my husband and concerned how much longer he can endure working at his unfulfilling job while managing a job search in this economy, feeling guilty because I’ve been busy and out of touch with friend and family, worried about money, and frustrated that I haven’t finished my home office renovations yet.

My guess is a few of these ring true for you as well. So many of us push through the daily tasks of our work telling ourselves that we’ll get to our personal lives later, when we’re done with work. Yet work never quite seems to end and later keeps getting pushed off. And if you’re like me, when I don’t take time to focus on my personal life, honor what’s important to me and process my emotions, I feel like I’m on shaky ground, carrying a bag of rocks around with me through dense fog. And boy does it wipe me out trying to work while I’m carrying those rocks through the fog! Whether we’re conscious of it or not, our personal life is with us during our workday. The unresolved issues and unprocessed emotions take space in your brain; they mentally (and physically) wear you out and keep you from doing your best work.

As I’ve moved through my career, I’ve noticed my tolerance for pushing off my personal life has decreased as the impact it has on my professional success increases. I now see self-care as a top priority not only in having a high quality of life but also in my career success. If I don’t have the solid foundation of my personal life, no matter how hard I try, I cannot be fully present and successful in running my business.

So when it hit me last week that life was getting in the way of business, I took swift action. I made time for some self-care, I got in touch with friends and family, I talked to my coach, did some financial planning and finally got my home office together.

The energy shift was amazing! Not only do I feel good about the attention I paid to my personal life but in less than a week’s time, I’ve gotten many tasks off the work to-do list and several doors have opened to exciting and unexpected opportunities.

I am taking away a powerful lesson from this experience; a critical key to career success is making your personal life a priority. Taking time to care for yourself, process your emotions and nourish your relationships not only frees you from carrying that bag of rocks through fog, it also is a vital source of energy to accomplish nothing less than the extraordinary in your business and career!

What’s standing the way of your career success? What needs handling in your personal life? What support do you need to move forward?

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  1. Phil
    July 31, 2009 at 6:57 am | Permalink

    Great article Carly. Our careers can’t be taken in isolation from the rest of our lives. I’ve fallen into the trap of trying to separate the two before and ended up struggling to do either successfully. There is something powerful and energetic about making important and overdue changes in our personal lives, that has a knock on effect as we look to make our work more meaningful and impactful. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Carolina Trujillo
    August 5, 2009 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

    Carly I feel very related to your comments in this article and I share with you the opinion that sometimes a little shift to taking care of personal things can make a huge difference in our value at work. Thank you for writing a refreshing lines that made us reconfigurate! Have a nice day.

  3. August 7, 2009 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the comment Carolina! I’m glad to hear that my experience resonated with you and hopefully helped you reflect and reframe on what’s going on in your life right now. And if you have any other tips or tools to share on how you deal with these experiences, I’d love to hear them! Thanks again.

  4. Jess Whitney
    August 20, 2009 at 1:55 am | Permalink

    Well said, Carly! Someone very close to me is a clear example of what happens in life if you stop listening to your intuition, and stop caring for yourself. It\’s been the most defining thing in my life because I am determined to not live the same way. There is a difference between being selfish and taking the time to take care of yourself, and I think many people (women in particular) have an issue walking this fine line. Keep tackling these important – and tough – topics! I look forward to reading more.

  5. Phil
    August 27, 2009 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    Jess -

    Thanks so much for your comment. It sounds like you take a really healthy approach to looking after yourself. It is so easy to neglect our self-care, or mistake it for being “selfish”. One way of seeing it in context is that when the oxygen masks drop on the plane, you need to put your own one on before you help anyone else. Keep on doing great things and please keep reading.



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