Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Anticipatory Principle...Driving it Home

The anticipatory principle is the notion that what we anticipate about our future influences what actually happens to us. It comes from research about appreciative inquiry. Appreciative inquiry, let me be clear on this, is not to be confused with the law of attraction , which I am in no way, shape or form endorsing.

Jackie Kelm has a great example in her book The Joy of Appreciative Living. She asks the reader to imagine their upcoming weekend. Then she asks that you consider how much the following affect your answer:

What your friends, family and neighbors like to do and would like you to do
Where you live
What your religious beliefs and your upbringing suggest you should do
What the media says you should do
What others like you do

Kelm’s point is that we unthinkingly allow other people and things to influence our choices. In doing so, we begin to live their life, not our life. So this weekend, if you feel like hanging out with the cats, reading, piddling around the house and watching old movies, why not?

Kelm urges us to “get in the driver’s seat and become conscious of where the bus is heading.”

I might ask: What’s your 90 day plan? Your five year plan?

Who’s going to decide where you’re heading? Do you have to have kids because all your friends do it? Do you have to marry for the same reason? Perhaps your idea of joining the International Red Cross isn't popular with your family or friends. Who’s going to decide?

In other words, take control of your destiny and shape your future. Don’t let others convince you to drive your bus to their desired destination. Choose your own.

We can drive it home, with one headlightOne Headlight, The Wallflowers

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Scheduled, Overscheduled or Just Right?

Many of us are already overscheduled, so I know you don’t want to hear about more items for your calendar, but…

If you want to be ready to face all the competing demands of work, family, friends, the world, your public (okay, just wanted to make sure you were paying attention), you have to be disciplined in ways you may not be accustomed to considering.

Take food and exercise, for instance. How many hours do you go without eating? What happens after you’ve gone for 5 hours without food? Do you start getting tired? A touch irritable? Maybe you notice your thinking becoming a bit foggy. Do you snack? Little Debbies or Cliff Bars? How about exercise? How many times a week do you put in the magic 30 minutes?

In The Power of Full Engagement, Loehr & Schwartz argue that planning eating and exercise, along with sleep, breaks from work and lots of other useful routines, help us perform at higher levels. I’ve just written about some of these ideas relating to athletic performance in my newsletter about Maintaining Focus Under Pressure, but it’s not just for athletes.

No matter what your job, doctor, lawyer, Indian chief (oops, politically incorrect I’m sure), routines matter. I love the way Loehr & Schwartz talk about starting the day, when you’re fresh, with big projects, think pieces and the like, instead of checking your email. They also discuss taking time out for pleasurable activities and positive emotions, both of which are renewing.

And don’t forget to laugh…it might help you live longer, or at least stronger.