How to Play the Cards You’re Dealt: Making the Most of What Life Deals You on a Daily Basis
A few months back, I woke up one morning with a tightness in my chest. I thought it was some kind of a chest cold. The next day, I started experiencing flu-like symptoms. A few days later, I was feeling worse than ever and I went to see our family doctor. She recommended that I immediately be admitted to the hospital, due to a combined case of pneumonia and influenza. The doctor explained that if I had waited another day, it could have been fatal.
This was a huge surprise. Fortunately, three days later, I was released from the hospital and sent home to recover. With the help of my wife, it took about six weeks to fully recover. Did I expect this type of a scenario? Of course I didn’t. Other than having my tonsils removed when I was three years old, I had never even been hospitalized for an illness in my entire life. Fortunately, I was able to reschedule my meetings and consulting appointments with my clients. My insurance coverage took care of my time off from work, as well as doctor and hospital bills. I was fortunate, but for me it was one of life’s wakeup calls. I was reminded that when it comes to life, just about anything can happen.
Some of you reading this article can relate first-hand to this, as you may have experienced a life-threatening injury, hospitalization or surgery. With help, somehow you were able to navigate through it.
When you stop to reflect, life can be likened to a card game that you are actively engaged in. Each day when you get up, you really don’t know what cards you are going to be dealt; yet, in order to succeed, you will have to respond in the best way possible.
Do you have a plan for anticipating, preventing or minimizing, coping with and resolving the major issues life deals you, and which affect your business and personal life?
In another situation, while I was speaking at a conference, one of the attendees in his forties was taken to the hospital with chest pains. Was he anticipating this happening to him at this out-of-state event? Absolutely not!
Still a third example of how life can deal you a hand of cards that can send you into a tailspin: a client of mine experienced a triple whammy within a 12-month period. He and his family sold their home and bought another, larger and more beautiful one. They did this as they anticipated the arrival of their third child. Two positive changes; yet problems with their new home’s renovation, combined with the actual arrival of their third child, caused things to become extremely stressful. To make matters even worse, my client’s father who had become ill within that year, died unexpectedly. This created an almost insurmountable amount of stress in his family members’ lives. It made it extremely difficult to focus on his business and to navigate the normal day-to-day business demands.
When something like this happens in your life—what is your plan? Notice I didn’t say if something major happens, but rather when. That’s how life is… you’re just sailing along when wham, you’re dealt a card or a hand of cards that creates stress, anxiety and hardship.
When I do one-on-one coaching with my clients, one of the first things we get clear on and help them identify are their true priorities in life. Some of the most common priorities they identify are things like their business or work position, their family and their personal health.
One of the next steps in our process is for them to access their schedule or planner. As we look over this calendar, we begin to get a better picture of where their priorities really are. Although they may say that their family and health are at the top of the list, we usually don’t see a lot of activities that address time with their family or an exercise program or regular physical checkups included in that calendar.
The next step is to have clients look at their checkbooks or credit card statements. This reveals where they are spending money. Again, if family and physical health are not represented here, we need to re-evaluate how their life and work goals are not congruent with their behavior.
How about you? What do your calendar and your checkbook reveal? As simple as this sounds, are you eating a healthy diet, getting enough sleep and exercising on a regular basis? Are you scheduling those regular physical checkups with your family doctor? Are you creating a balance in your life by making time for some personal rest and relaxation? If not, when will you make the time to do the things you need to do to keep your health at an optimum level? Remember the quote that, “What you do in the first forty years of your life will determine how you look and feel in the next forty years of your life.” Let that serve as a guidepost for you.
The great self development philosopher, Jim Rohn, had a life philosophy he shared in his books and seminars. It went like this: “I will take care of me for you if you will take care of you for me.” My wife and I have the same mutual agreement: I take care of me, for her and she takes care of her, for me. In other words, mental and physical health is ultimately our own responsibility. She and I both know this. How about you? Are you doing everything you should to keep your mental and physical health in top condition, so your spouse or partner can be assured that you are doing your very best to stay healthy? If not, what can you do to correct this?
Take a look at your checkbook or credit card statement. Whether your family includes children, or it’s just you and your spouse, can you see evidence of where you’re spending money on family activities? Review your planner; are you making time for some fun family activities and some regularly scheduled dinners together at home? Are they part of your weekly schedule? Are you creating the right kind of routines, things that make for great memories? Just how much time are you really spending with the ones closest to you?
According to research conducted by Michigan State University Extension, “The more time you spend together with your family, the better chance you have of sharing quality experiences. Eating meals together, talking about the events of the day, sharing joys and defeats, doing household chores together and spending some evenings popping corn and watching movies are examples of shared activities.”
So don’t wait to start proactively anticipating how to deal with life’s bumps and jolts. Take the time now to create a plan. Both you and your family will be glad that you did.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Tom Borg is an employee performance and customer-experience expert who works with small businesses and organizations in the green industry to improve customer acquisition and retention. To ask him a question or to hire Tom, contact him at: 734- 404-5909 or firstname.lastname@example.org or www.tomborgconsulting.com.