LIVING LIFE OR DOING LIFE

A couple of definitions, please . . .

Calibration – In information technology and other fields, calibration is the setting or correcting of a measuring device or base level, usually by adjusting it to match or conform to a dependably known and unvarying measure. To check, adjust, or determine by comparison with a standard.

Recalibration – A second, subsequent or corrected calibration.

Let’s say that someone was hired to review your life 24/7 for one week – 10,080 minutes – for the purpose of observing how you actually expend your energy and direct your focus.

Would the final summary on how you expend your energy and direct your focus align with what you truly value?

Would the summary reveal that you consistently engage in activities that add value to your life and move you closer to your goals?

Would the summary confirm that the effort you expend is prioritized in such a way that truly fulfills you?

Think about your personal growth, your physical health, your significant other, your work, your friends and family, your financial health, your physical environment, and the areas of fun and recreation.checklist-1766432.png

What’s most important to you?

How do you prioritize these areas on a day-to-day basis?

After you confirm what’s most important, you can then ask, is how I prioritize my time and effort aligned with what is most important to me?

Years ago, during a pivotal point in my life, I stopped and asked myself these questions. From a place of honesty, self-awareness, and a desire for enduring change I got “real” with Robin.

A personal assessment of my effort expended and where I directed my focus revealed that I was seriously out of alignment.

Initially, I deluded myself into thinking that the way everything was playing out was going to pay off in the future.

My workaholic profile was going to take me to bigger and better places. I was confident that my sacrifices were going to pay off at some future date. I simply did not realize that those sacrifices were jeopardizing all that I possessed at that time.

Sure, the future realized could possibly move me in the direction where I thought I wanted to go, but not without some collateral damage. This realization was eye opening!

Like many of you, I bought into the cultural idea of idolizing sacrifice, hard work, busting your butt, and getting ahead.

I devoted most of my waking hours working for someone else’s benefit and profit, and denying myself the joy and sheer pleasure of a truly fulfilling life that included some harmony.

At the time it was so difficult to believe that I could actually experience a life of flow with time to do what was truly of value to me, that aligned with my values, and that left me refreshed and not constantly exhausted, anxious, fearful, and striving.

Life was supposed to be hard, period! Right?

I’ve come to realize, though, that it was a matter of learning to recalibrate.

I considered balance/harmony important, but I often allowed circumstances beyond my control and in my control to trip me up and found myself constantly out of alignment.

My lifelong habit of holding on to distorted thought patterns and beliefs also had a firm grip and locked me in a cycle of doing more and enjoying less.

I wasn’t living life, I was doing life – a sentence of sacrifice, limits, and temporary blasts of artificial joy.

When I sat down, really thought about and recorded the principles and qualities that matter most to me, it became crystal clear that I was badly in need of an adjustment.

I evaluated and recalibrated!

Recall the definition for calibrate above?

My initial recalibration required that I re-prioritize my life’s activities to align with what I most valued, what added value, and what I considered truly fulfilling.  This was a new approach for me.

I came to discover that personal growth was what I valued most, however, my day to day activities were not reflecting this value. In fact, at this pivotal point in my life I had no idea how to begin to understand what this actually meant for me and how I would demonstrate it on a daily basis. After much reading, reflecting, and soul-searching it became evident that this involved lots of inner work. Once I understood what the process looked like and what it meant for me, my life changed.

My recalibration began with taking a good look at how I navigated my day.

  • What did I do first after waking up?
  • How was I utilizing my energy throughout the day?
  • What was my peak energy period during the day?
  • What was my low energy period during the day?
  • How much time was I spending with my partner?
  • How much time was I spending refreshing myself?
  • How much time was I spending in intellectually stimulating activities?
  • How much time was I spending working?

This exercise was challenging, but revealing.

Once I saw the reality on paper, I set out to correct my base level (how I was expending my energy and effort) by adjusting it to match or conform to a dependably known and unvarying measure (what I valued most).

It was a little scary but making the shift was immediately rewarding!

Because personal growth is what I determined I value most, I began to start my mornings with activities designed to nurture this area. I discovered that engaging in stream-of-consciousness writing first thing in the morning has amazing effects for me.

Next, I started to spend some time in silence, sitting or laying comfortably with my eyes closed. Because meditation has always eluded me, I devised my own approach to solitude – one that suits my personality and ways of knowing. Occasionally, I use guided meditation, but most of the time I enjoy my own approach to solitude – that wonderful time that I spend turning the volume down on the outside world and turning the volume up on my inner guidance and wisdom. Putting what I value most, first, has made all the difference.

Another example is my relationship with my life partner. I designated non-negotiable time with him every week.

At least two, if not more, evenings during the week and one weekend day is set aside to spend time exclusively with him. On those days I push my cell phone aside and I don’t schedule any other activities or events with others unless we’re both invited and we both agree to attend. We spend the time engaged in quality conversation over a meal or involved in activities that we both enjoy. This adjustment honors our relationship and demonstrates how much I value my connection and relationship with him. We really look forward to these precious moments that truly fulfill both of us.

These are just a couple of examples where a recalibration made a significant difference.

In the area of work, I also set aside specific time for work related activities, when the time is up, I stop and move on to other things.

At first, it seemed that these shifts and new commitments would translate to constant struggles with time; to the contrary, I found I had more time to get all that I wanted to get done and I stayed true to what I valued most.

There was a time when no one could have convinced me that considering what I value, what adds value, and what truly fulfills me would have led me to such a life of flow. It took some time to shift into some new habits and it wasn’t easy – I definitely had some starts and stops, but I was committed.

Circumstances and situations outside of my control, obviously, still come up and I may temporarily feel a little wobbly. So, from time to time I find that I need to recalibrate (a subsequent or corrected calibration), but now this is simply a part of my process and the recovery period gets shorter and shorter.

I’ve found that I can handle these situations easily and effortlessly because that is my intention. When I’m focused on living a life truly aligned with my values, I feel refreshed, easy-going and resilient, and I thrive.

I highly recommend a good, regularly scheduled recalibration to realign with what you value most, and optimize who you want to be, how you want to show up in the world!


Are you living life or doing life?


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Robbi Crawford, The Student’s Mentor, Author and Speaker is the founder of BrijBrand.co.  Subscribe below and join the BrijBrand community. We’ll keep you in the loop about what we’re building for YOU, and create a safe place to land when you’re feeling stuck, need a plan, and want some targeted help and genuine support!

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