Tomorrow is “la Fête du Canada,” Canada Day, celebrating the enactment of the Constitution Act, 1867. This coming weekend many Americans will kick off their vacation with a long weekend for Independence Day. At the core of these gatherings, I invite you to let harmony and love pulse within your close circles and ripple to your extended communities. Celebrate what we have and the doors that have opened for us!
For centuries the people before us have lived with uncertainty, have had to embrace the unknown and have celebrated through torrents, sorrows and joy. There is not a time in history in any generation where there hasn’t been disappointments, losses and struggles.
I believe in resolve and optimism, and to not let fear of any kind deter us from reaching our ultimate potential. I envision progress and balance, and I commit to lead and live with balance–fully engaged in all that I do. This is true whether I am at work encouraging conscientious leadership, or at play, further inspiring and grounding myself in nature.
Last week I had breakfast with a colleague. He shared with me that he has a difficult time disconnecting, truly being present and allowing playfulness in his life. That is not uncommon.
I like to invite friends, colleagues, clients and people of all generations to play, fully engaged.
Do what fuels you.
Take the time to be clear about the activities you truly enjoy and select one that fuels you. Allow yourself to feel and to be excited. Life is too short to not maximize every single moment.
Don’t get caught “pretending” to like something.
While you might have to compromise about doing an activity with your partner, your children or a great friend who enjoys something that you’d rather not do, go in with a sincere heartfelt desire to share the activity for the joy of being with people you care about and seeing them happy. When you “pretend,” you are not truly being in the here and now.
Be present in everything you do.
It is easy to hike, walk, even golf and be somewhere else in spirit and mind and preoccupied. Catch yourself, and observe this. When I hike or walk with a client for a coaching session, I stop every so often and ask, “What did you see, what did you smell as we were treading the path?” Feel gratitude for every step that touches the dirt, the exhilaration of ascending on your mountain bike, the delicious quenching of your thirst as you drink from your camelback and the satiation of every bite of your favorite food. Let go of worries and negative thoughts for an instant of play. Yes, take the time to have a lot of favorites as you live each day of your vacation. Every insignificant action becomes significant when living each moment to its fullest.
Turn your smartphone to vibration mode, and consider leaving it behind.
Pay attention to the moments when taking photos is distracting you from taking in your surroundings in the present moment. Do you have to be on Facebook sharing everything that you do? How do these actions take you away from being fully present to the people who are with you physically?
Riding in the car with family members or your partner, consider not accessing your smartphone and enjoying talking, doing charades, listening to music, singing along together and laughing freely with no devices.
Don’t take things too seriously.
Preparing to lead a board meeting or your weekly operating committee meeting? Resisting being thrilled about a challenging team meeting? As a Chair, as a leader or team leader consider kicking off a summer meeting with a quick and effective ice-breaker to further bond and align everyone. It is ok to allow for some playfulness to clear tension or anxiety and lighten up the pressure for a brief moment regardless of your roles and titles.
Wake up with the right attitude.
It is easy to sabotage a day off, the beginning of a vacation or the sharing of a leisure activity by projecting the negative based on past experiences. Before you retire for the night, pay attention to any negative thoughts that might already project an outcome that is less than ideal. Allow yourself to wake up and envision positive possibilities. Be conscious of when you are the source of sabotage before something even has a chance to be great.
Be good to you.
Allow yourself to play and to be fully engaged in the moment. Try something that you have wanted to do and have procrastinated doing or judged yourself too harshly over. It is ok to not strike it right when we play. It is ok to not perform and to not be sensational. It is ok to humbly try to simply live and experience life’s pleasures.
Take ownership of the balance in your life fully deserving of it. I wish you a wonderful summer, fully engaged in all that you do!